Book Reviews

The Half Sister by Catherine Chanter

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List Price: £14.99


Hardcover: 400 Pages.

Published: 05 April 2018 by Canongate Books

Edition: Main

ISBN: 9781786891242

EAN: 9781786891242

When she was sixteen, Diana left her unhappy family and set out to make a new life. Twenty-five years later, she has arrived. Recently married to Edmund, there are just the two of them living at Wynhope, his family's historic country home, both happy for the past to be locked away and for the future to be free from responsibility.

But when Diana hears that her mother has died, she impulsively asks estranged half-sister Valerie and her nine-year-old son to stay. The night of the funeral, fueled by wine and years of resentment, the sisters argue and a terrible accident occurs. The foundations of a well-ordered life start to crack and the lies begin to surface, one secret after another demanding a voice. And then there's the boy, watching, waiting.

The Half Sister is a profound and haunting portrayal of those who are imprisoned by the past and by their struggle to find the words which will release them.


4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars  by Debra Found

Complex Relationships

Diana and Valerie are estranged half sisters who are drawn together for their Mother's funeral. Diana in an uncharacteristic fit of familial compassion invites Valerie & her son, Mikey, to stay for the night after the funeral. This sets in motion a string of events which has its roots in the half-sister's childhood.

This is a complex book about emotions and how people see things so differently. Diana and Valerie see their childhood very differently. Diana felt driven from her home by her abusive step-father whereas Valerie felt loved. Diana cannot see past her anger that Valerie's Father & later Valerie herself interrupted her perfect relationship with her Mother. These events in the women's childhood has repercussions down the years. Valerie's son, Mikey, has had several Father figures and they have recently escaped an abusive relationship. Although Mikey is an intelligent little boy this all takes its toll.

Diana is not a nice woman. She is very self centred. She is married to a rather weak man, living at his large family home. She has her life very ordered and organised. She has moments where she makes kind gestures but regrets them as soon as they affect her life.

I very much enjoyed the complexities of the relationships within this book. Each character has their own past to deal with as well as struggling with their relationships with each other. This was exceptionally well written and I enjoyed it very much. The plot of the book had its shaky moments. I won't go into too much detail but suffice to say I felt the author dwelt too long on certain events causing the book to stall as opposed to run smoothly. I am glad, however, that I continued reading beyond these stalling points as the rest of the book was worth reading. I was happy with the ending which seemed to fit the story and tie up the loose ends.

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