Title: The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 353 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
In The Silent Sister, Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager. Now, over twenty years later, her father has passed away and she’s in New Bern, North Carolina cleaning out his house when she finds evidence to the contrary. Lisa is alive. Alive and living under a new identity. But why exactly was she on the run all those years ago, and what secrets are being kept now? As Riley works to uncover the truth, her discoveries will put into question everything she thought she knew about her family. Riley must decide what the past means for her present, and what she will do with her newfound reality, in this engrossing mystery from international bestselling author Diane Chamberlain.
The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain is a thought-provoking mystery that is very engrossing. Although some of the storyline is a bit predictable, the intriguing plot raises some very interesting moral questions but it is the family aspect of the novel that makes it such an interesting read.
What if everything you thought you knew about your family turns out to be a lie? That is pretty much what happens while Riley MacPherson is settling her father’s affairs after he unexpectedly passes away. The information she uncovers runs the gamut from mundane (her father had a girlfriend) to puzzling (a mysterious monthly payment and a surprising bequest) to life altering (the sister she thought was dead is actually alive). Riley’s quest for the truth reveals some dark and deeply hidden secrets that challenge just about everything she thought she knew about herself and her family.
The MacPherson family underwent dramatic changes after the loss of their oldest child. Riley’s mom suffered from varying degrees of depression and her dad immersed himself in his hobbies. Her brother Danny suffered the most as her parents went to great lengths to keep their secrets hidden. He has been unable to escape the dysfunction of his youth and his problems are compounded by PTSD from his military service. With the exception of her troubled relationship with Danny, Riley is the only one who emerged from the tragedy relatively unscathed.
Riley is a likable, but sometimes frustrating character. Her heart is in the right place when she tries to help Danny, but she is a little immature and inexperienced. She sometimes makes rash and impetuous decisions without giving much thought to the consequences of her actions. Riley occasionally lets people steamroll over her but she does eventually stand up for herself.
The Silent Sister is well-written but some of the plot is easy to figure out. This does not lessen enjoyment of the overall story and there are some unexpected twists and turns that keeps the novel interesting and moving along at a pretty fast pace. Some important clues are revealed fairly early but Riley remains oblivious to their significance for much of the novel. Diane Chamberlain brings the novel to an unanticipated, but satisfying conclusion.