When Beatrice gets a phone call to say that her younger sister, Tess is missing, she drops everything and flies from her home in New York to find her. ‘But as she learns about the circumstances surrounding Tess’s disappearance, she is stunned to discover how little she actually knows of her sister’s life.’
Sister, the debut novel from Rosamund Lupton switches in style between a letter written from Beatrice to Tess and Beatrice making a statement to the lead investigator in her sister’s disappearance. Beatrice had always been over protective of younger, flighty Tess and expects to resolve her disappearance easily.
When things don’t work out as planned and with a determination that perhaps only a sibling would process, Beatrice’s endeavours to find out what happened to her sister and why.
As Beatrice steps into Tess’s life – living in her apartment, taking her job, even down to wearing her sister’s clothes, her family and the police only see Beatrice increasingly become a grieving sister in denial. But Beatrice discovers that not only was Tess having an affair with a married man resulting in a pregnancy, but that she was having difficulty with a stalker and also participating in an experimental medical trial.
There is no double that Sister is an achievement for a debut novelist. But it is a book that will divide the reader. On the one hand it can be seen as a touching account of loss; a sentimental story of the bond between siblings that will keep you up late at night to finish it. But on the other hand [and this is the side of the fence I sit on] although it is a book that can be devoured quickly, parts of it are more predicable than dramatic. I didn’t empathise with the main character even though she had many admirable traits especially her devotion to her sibling.
In the process of understanding her sister’s life, Beatrice rediscovers her true self along the way. Unfortunately that still isn’t enough to make her the engaging character she needed to be. I found the sub plot of trying to find the genetic cure for cystic fibrosis more captivating than Beatrice’s attempts to resolve the mystery of her sister’s disappearance. Overall the book, although entertaining, was not altogether satisfying and even the 'plot twist' at the end wasn’t enough to cause the shock it was suppose to.
Review by Teresa Hamilton