Thursday, August 30, 2018

The Other Sister

The Other Sister by Sarah Zettel
Grand Central Publishing: 8/28/18
eBook review copy; 384 pages
ISBN-13: 9781538760901

The Other Sister by Sarah Zettel is a highly recommended psychological thriller featuring the dynamics of twisted dysfunctional family.

Geraldine and Marie Monroe are sisters with a plan. The two grew up in Michigan in an emotionally abusive household with a manipulative, cruel father, Martin, and an alcoholic mother, Stacy. The younger sister, Geraldine left town twenty-five years ago after her mother died under mysterious circumstances. She was labeled as the bad sister, Now she is a lecturer at a college, specializing in the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, and very rarely returns home.

Marie stayed in their hometown and became her father's dutiful assistant. Martin is now wealthy, in control of his whole extended family, and a respected member of the community. Marie is the good daughter in the eyes of the community as she follows her father's every direction in his successful real estate business. Now Marie has asked Geraldine to come home for her son Robbie's graduation party - and to put their plan into motion.

The novel follows multiple timelines and points-of-view as the enigmas of the past and the present are both revealed. The relationship between the sisters is complicated. Neither of them may be completely reliable narrators. They need to trust and believe each other, but can they? The perception of who really is the good sister and the bad sister will fluctuate as the novel reveals an intricate web of embedded secrets of their earlier years and those from more recent events. The characters are well-developed, but none of them are reliable or likeable. Zettel does an excellent job with the dialogue and there is a distinctive voice for each character.

At the beginning of each chapter is an analysis of various fairy tales by Geraldine which serves to compliment the plot. Contained within the narrative are multiple mysteries and secrets, and the analysis of the fairy tales can be an interesting juxtaposition in comparison to the narrative. The plot does move a bit slowly at times, but Zettel has packed a lot of depth into the novel making this an interesting psychological thriller.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Grand Central Publishing.

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