Thursday, July 28, 2011
Crown Publishers, 2011
Source: Received a free ARC through Amazon's Vine program in exchange for an honest review.
I have a younger sister and am consequently obsessed with stories about sisters especially ones where the older sister protects and looks out for her younger sister(s) (examples: The Hunger Games, Entwined). I even have a goodreads shelf with books featuring sisters (any recommendations?) So requesting this from Amazon Vine was a no-brainer even if it's a bit darker than what I usually read.
And overall I thought the link between sisters was the strongest material presented within the book although that may be because I have a sister. To start, I was a little shocked to see that the sisters are five years apart (as are my sister and me) and I felt that eldest sister Beatrice sounded much older than her 26 years of age. But her feelings of protectiveness and the feelings that she had failed Tess in the days before her death weighed heavily on me and kept me turning the pages. Her grief was real and palpable to me even as she attempted to turn productive and solve the mystery behind her sister's murder, especially as almost everyone deemed it a suicide. However I think I may have put in some of my own feelings toward these characters because I didn't really like Beatrice; she's snobby and unkind but living in Tess' shoes enacts a change in her. From the presentation of Tess, I mostly liked her character.
I also was impressed with Lupton's narrative skills; Beatrice alternates between recounting the story to policeman Mr. Wright and her sister, thus switching between first and second person. She also changes between past and present tense. Although sometimes a bit confusing, this was mostly presented clearly and kept me in suspense as it seemed that the killer was caught and would soon be sentenced. However all is not as it appears in a mystery.
There were multiple candidates for the murder of Tess and lots of false avenues. By the end, I was so turned around that I had no idea. I'm not entirely satisfied with the conclusion, because of the reveal of the murderer and also because of Lupton's narration. To say there's a twist is probably patently obvious to you but I was definitely thrown off.
One last item I didn't like was Lupton's repetition of certain phrases when describing someone or an event. The one that struck me most was when Beatrice would pause and a character would assume it was because she didn't understand; this popped up repeatedly and irked me. Other reviews have pointed out other repeated phrases.
Overall: A mostly beautifully written thriller; recommended (with reservations if this isn't your kind of book) to women with sisters.
Read for British Book Challenge.