Book Review: The Sister by Louise Jensen

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"I did something terrible, Grace. I hope you can forgive me..."

Grace hasn't been the same since the death of her best friend Charlie. She is haunted by Charlie's words, the last time she saw her, and in a bid for answers, opens an old memory box of Charlie's. It soon becomes clear there was a lot she didn't know about her best friend.

When Grace starts a campaign to find Charlie's father, Anna, a girl claiming to be Charlie's sister steps forward. For Grace, finding Anna is like finding a new family, and soon Anna has made herself very comfortable in Grace and boyfriend Dan's home.

But something isn't right. Things disappear, Dan's acting strangely and Grace is sure that someone is following her. Is it all in Grace's mind? Or as she gets closer to discovering the truth about both Charlie and Anna, is Grace in terrible danger?

There was nothing she could have done to save Charlie... or was there?

First of all, I'd like to say a huge thank you to the author Louise Jensen and her fabulous publisher Bookouture for providing me with a review copy of The Sister. The very moment the cover and title of Jensen's debut with Bookouture was revealed over on Twitter, I knew that I had to read it. It sounded right up my street and I couldn't wait to begin what I hoped would be a chilling, thrilling novel. The blurb certainly pointed towards it being so, and as soon as I was able, I jumped right in.

The Sister begins with an intriguing introduction to Grace, as she heads deep into the woods to find a memory box that she and best friend Charlie buried there years ago. As Grace delves deeper, flashbacks begin to occur that take her right the way back to when she and Charlie had been young, full of ideas for a promising future. As Louise Jensen takes us back to the past and presents us with the night young Grace and Charlie buried the box, a pinky-promise is made, a promise to come back together to open the box. It quickly becomes clear that this promise was made to be broken, and as Grace unearths the box and returns home, Louise Jensen begins this tale.

One thing I loved about reading The Sister was the switching between 'now' and 'then'. Slowly, piece by piece, the author began to build up Grace and Charlie's background and I found it riveting. The girls' bond had been planted when they'd been little and had continued to grow ever since. They were not only best friends, but at times, from the descriptions provided by the author, they behaved towards one another as sisters. The mystery behind the last thing Charlie ever said to Grace pulled me right the way through this novel, ever-eager to figure out what had happened prior to Charlie's death. In the 'now', the death of Charlie still had major effects on Grace. There was a certain sense of paranoia surrounding her in the present day, but I couldn't decide whether it was actually this, or something more sinister that put Grace in danger. Footsteps being heard, unknown cars parked outside her home, and the appearance of Anna, had my mind trying to leap ahead of itself to figure everything out. It was compelling and, thanks to the author's addictive way of story-telling, I found myself completely enveloped within this story, bracing myself for any tricks and twists that the author would throw my way.

There were so many questions I had in regards to Charlie. While alive, she'd been desperate to find her real father, and so in the 'now', Grace is determined to finish her quest for her, in order to finally put the past to rest. This led to meeting a number of characters who had me, once again, questioning everything that cropped up as the plot progressed. Charlie's mother was a character who I particularly found an interest in, as she seemed to be hiding some pretty big secrets. Another was Grace's partner, Dan. I couldn't quite make up my mind about whether I liked Dan or not, and still felt that way when the story reached its end. But the character who completely stole away my focus was Anna, who seemed to appear out of nowhere. Coinciding with 'then', things start to take a dramatic turn, and I couldn't believe where the author took me in the end. It was completely unseen and I gasped when the truth was revealed. The ending, a particular favourite part of mine, was everything that I hoped it would be and more. There were moments of sheer tension, suspense and, all in all, the question of who can you really trust, and how can you ever know?

The Sister by Louise Jensen was a fast-paced, chilling and shocking novel, full of deceit, secrets and pushing trust to its boundaries. There were brilliantly-crafted characters within this story, a dark maze of a plot and plenty of surprises along the way. I really can't wait to see what the author writes next!

Becca's Books is awarding The Sister by Louise Jensen with four of my bookish stars. This was obsessive and pulse-raising, and a novel I'd recommend to any readers who enjoy an addictive read you can't bear to put down.

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