Sunday, October 15, 2017

If You Knew My Sister

If You Knew My Sister by Michelle Adams
St. Martin's Press: 10/3/17
eBook review copy; 384 pages
ISBN-13: 9781250126702

If You Knew My Sister by Michelle Adams is a highly recommended debut psychological thriller about a dysfunctional family.

Dr. Irini Harringford is in denial, but she has been scarred for life by her abandonment at the age of three. At that time, her parents gave her to her aunt and uncle to raise, but kept her seven-year-old sister, Elle. Irini has spent her life wondering why her parents kept her sister and never visited her. Why did her parents give her to an aunt and uncle who didn't want her or lover her. And why did her parents and her aunt and uncle try to keep her sister Elle from finding her?

Could she have been given away because she is is not perfect, but walks with a distinct limp from a dysplastic hip and a leg that never developed properly. This caused Irini to experience plenty of name calling and bullying as a child. In fact, the first time Elle found and contacted Irini over the years, it was when she protected her from a bully. Elle viciously attacked him. Still, even though Elle has found her over the years, they are not close. In fact any contact with Elle is mark with odd, sometimes violent, behavior on Elle's part and Irini has tried to stay hidden from her.

Now Elle has found Irini after 6 years with no contact. She called in the middle of the night, telling Irini that their mother has died and that she must come to the funeral. Irini, frightened by what Elle might do and still wanting some answers, goes home to Scotland for the funeral. But once there things don't seem to quite add up and she is still not getting any answers as to why she was given away and it seems that there is another plot afoot that Irini hasn't a clue about and might not figure out until it is too late.

If You Knew My Sister is a nail-biting, well-written, dark, creepy, and twisty thriller with a Gothic vibe to it. Unsettling or disturbing scenes abound in the narrative, enough that you would think Irini would never have left for Scotland, or certainly should have run home much sooner than she does, not that that would provide any comfort. Obviously, Elle has issues and an agenda that no one might guess. Actually, Irini herself might have some hidden issues that she needs to confront.

Additionally, I had a a few minor thoughts about the plot. The reason Irini was given away doesn't seem all that shocking or surprising, and I would have thought she would have instinctively known the reason why after she first met Elle. She does realize that she needs to avoid Elle. Irini's boyfriend, Antonio, is unlikable right from the start. Finally, the events at the end seemed a little forced and rushed to me, rather than flowing naturally from the story. Setting all that aside, If You Knew My Sister is a satisfying thriller and I do highly recommend it for those who enjoy psychological thrillers with a Gothic feeling.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of St. Martin's Press.