The Good Sister by Gillian McAllister
Penguin Random House: 6/11/19
eBook review copy; 400 pages
The Good Sister by Gillian McAllister is a highly recommended
novel detailing the relationship between two sisters and a riveting
Martha and Becky are sisters who have always had a close
relationship. The novel opens after with Becky is about to stand trial
for suffocating Martha's 8-week-old baby, Layla who died under her
aunt Becky's care. Martha refuses to believe that Becky is guilty, but
all the evidence seems to point to her. Becky was acting as a nanny for
Martha. Layla was a difficult baby, who cried incessantly from what may
have been acid reflux, and was unconsolable. When Martha had to leave
town for two days and her husband Scott is at a conference, Becky is
left in charge of Layla and Layla is found dead under her care.
The novel alternates chapters between the point-of-view of the two
sisters and also follows the trial as witnesses give testimony. The
result is that the reader is privy to hidden feelings of resentment on
Becky's part, and Martha's hidden quest to prove that Becky is innocent
and someone else was there and guilty. The perspective of many of the
witnesses is also presented before they take the stand, with their
testimony following, which clearly shows how everything can be twisted
to mean something else.
McAllister does a skillful job developing the characters into real
individuals, and the close relationship between the sisters is
believable. At the same time, she keeps the tension rising as new
personal revelations between the sisters is revealed and as each new
witness takes the
stand. It begs the question: Can you really know another person, even
someone you think you know? And how will the extended family handle a
situation that is almost guaranteed to tear any family apart?
The writing is excellent and the plot is well-presented and
well-executed. Even the most seemingly innocent event can be twisted to
mean something else. The courtroom scenes are believable and
heartbreaking. Even if you have an idea of what happened (and I did
right from the start) it won't diminish your enjoyment of this novel.
This is a wonderful courtroom drama and will hold your attention from
beginning to end.
My review copy was courtesy of Penguin Random House.