The Other Sister by Sarah Zettel
Grand Central Publishing: 8/28/18
eBook review copy; 384 pages
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
My review copy was courtesy of Grand Central Publishing.