REVIEW: SISTER OF MINE, BY LAURIE PETROU

 

Penny and Hattie, orphaned sisters in a small town, are best friends, bound together to the point of knots. But Penny, at the mercy of her brutal husband, is desperate for a fresh start. Willing to do anything for her older sister, Hattie agrees to help. A match is struck and a fire burns Penny’s marriage to the ground. With her husband gone, Penny is free, and the sisters, it seems, get away with murder. But freedom comes at a cost.

More than a year after the fire, a charming young man comes to town. Hattie and Penny quickly bring him into the fold and into their hearts but their love for him threatens the delicate balance. Soon long-held resentments, sibling rivalry, and debts unpaid boil over, and the bonds of sisterhood begin to snap. As one little lie grows into the next, the sisters’ secrets will unravel, eroding their lives until only a single, horrible truth remains: You owe me.

My Thoughts: Sisterhood bonds can be sweet and loving, but they can also be tight and destructive. Sister of Mine is a mix of all these ingredients, but with the passage of time, the tight and destructive bonds would be their undoing.

Orphaned and living in a small town, Penny and Hattie Grayson often feel the eyes of the judgers upon them. Sometimes the scrutiny makes Hattie, the younger sister, act out more. She loves the center of attention, and she also enjoys stirring up rivalry with her sister. Their mother nurtured that spark of competition between them, and remembering her reignites it.

What deep, dark secret strengthens the ties between the sisters, and not in a good way? As we immerse ourselves in their story, a slow burn brings the dark secret into the light, and it is only near the end of the book that we fully realize what had happened one dark and dangerous night.

Hattie moved in and out of the home over the years, and each time she left, Penny savored the freedom from her sister’s constant reminders and taunts. The legacy of their secret.

How does adding a man and a child into the mix up the ante for the two of them? Why do some of the more troubled townsfolk continually tug away at the past until everything comes tumbling down?

As I turned the pages of this dark and sinister tale that shined a light on a truly dysfunctional connection, I couldn’t stop reading. Parts of the story were repetitive, but in the end I awarded 4.5 stars.


***My e-ARC came from the publisher via NetGalley.

SISTERHOOD BONDS REVISITED — A REVIEW

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Mothers, daughters, and friends are the themes in The Wednesday Daughters: A Novel, the sequel to The Wednesday Sisters: A Novel.

Three of the daughters—Hope, Julie, and Anna Page—are on a journey to learn more about Hope’s deceased mother, Allison Tantry, by visiting the writing cottage where she worked on her unpublished biography of Beatrix Potter.

Set in England’s Lake District, the reader is offered a view of what that place looked like, from the cottages and the surrounding waters to the various pubs and restaurants.

What the women discover first are some journals, some of which are written in code. And while they try to decipher these, we are also shown some backstory: for the mothers and the daughters since we saw them last as little girls and young women in the first book. The daughters, like sisters, have their rivalries. And, like siblings, some of those old issues remain.

Unlike the friendships of their mothers in the first book, the daughters were thrown together by their mother’s choices. They all varied in ages, much more like siblings than chosen friends. And while they maintained lifelong relationships with one another, I didn’t sense the same kind of bond between them that I saw with their mothers.

Can they put the old animosities behind them? Will they finally make peace with their own mothers’ choices? What will they take away with them after the journey? Their mothers’ expectations were a guiding theme as the women reconnected with one another.

The alternating chapters with Allison Tantry’s journals were like a conversation between Allison and Beatrix Potter, almost as if she were channeling her. The daughters decided that she was trying to inhabit Bea in order to accurately write about her.

An engaging story that earned 4.5 stars. Recommended for those who enjoy stories of family bonds and friendships.