Shereads.org book selection, I chose The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain. I have now been a member of She Reads for over a year and I have NEVER been disappointed in the books that have been chosen. The Silent Sister is no exception. From the moment I picked it up, I knew it was a winner.
Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager. Now, over twenty years later, her father has passed away and she's in New Bern, North Carolina cleaning out his house when she finds evidence to the contrary. Lisa is alive. Alive and living under a new identity. But why exactly was she on the run all those years ago, and what secrets are being kept now? As Riley works to uncover the truth, her discoveries will put into question everything she thought she knew about her family. Riley must decide what the past means for her present, and what she will do with her newfound reality.
I can always tell when I am going to love a book by how quickly I become engrossed in the story. I was hooked on this one from the very beginning. I'll try to avoid giving out too much information. Riley is the main character, and she is devastated at the loss of her father. As the reader, you can feel her sense of loss. As she begins talking to her father's acquaintances, she realizes that the fairy tale family she thought she had has some dark secrets. She delves into the investigation of what really happened to her sister and we see several sides of her personality. She is determined and shows inner strength when it's needed but is also vulnerable and naive, allowing the false information that others give her to sway her decisions and opinions. I was happy to see that she was eventually able to find enough willpower to stand up and do the right thing.
Danny, her brother, was a character I felt a strong pull towards. I think he was my favorite. His struggle with PTSS after being in Iraq was heartbreaking and I wanted to reach into the book and make him believe in the world again. Riley consistently tries to break through his walls and bring him closer to her and he keeps pulling away.
Then we have Jade, whose actions caused her to choose between standing trial for murder, or doing something unthinkable that would cause heartbreak for everyone and change lives forever. The story makes you think about the limits family members are willing to go to for one another in a desperate situation.
There are no real spoilers here but I will say that the plot was well written. I had so many theories about what really happened to Lisa and I didn't get it right until just before the big reveal. When I did figure it out, I was so excited at the new path the story was taking. I loved how part of the book was told by Riley and another part by Jade until they eventually came together. And with each chapter, more secrets were revealed. I was biting my nails with anticipation as the final events began coming together and the ending was a perfect blend of happy and bittersweet.