Thursday, October 14, 2021

The Guilty Sister

The Guilty Sister by Arianne Richmonde
10/19/21; 321 pages

The Guilty Sister by Arianne Richmonde is a highly recommended psychological thriller. (Previously titled One Happy Family.)

Sara is a graphic artist living in NYC who enjoys taking long walks with her rescue dog Poppy - with Poppy in her dog wheelchair. Bradley sees Sara and Poppy walking through Central Park, is immediately intrigued, and sets out to meet her. Sara, who is reserved, is slow to warm to Bradley's attentions but eventually she accepts an invitation to dinner at his resident, a luxurious penthouse. Sara finds it hard to accept that this successful, wealthy, handsome man finds her interesting and attractive.

Part of this is due in part to Sara's insecurity. Her identical twin Cecelia is the outgoing free spirit who lives in Thailand, and is an Instagram influencer who has pictures of her life plastered across social media. She can get any man she wants. Sara has kept her at a distance for years, but Cecelia claims she wants to come visit. Sara simply can't allow this to happen or Cecelia will steal her boyfriend Bradley, just has she has done before. Sara hasn't told Bradley about Cecelis, but he finds out when they are having dinner at her Aunt Jenny's house and Sara has to admit to him that she has a twin. And now it seems that Bradley is looking at Cecelia's pictures online.

There are plenty of secrets in this novel and everyone is keeping information from everyone else. We know from the opening that the police are interviewing Sara about the disappearance of Cecelia, and the novel follows the story along to where Sara gets to this point. The plot moves at a steady pace as the story unfolds and secrets are exposed. For awhile there will be a wide variety of speculations about what the secrets are and who may have done what. Some of the secrets, as they are exposed, are surprising while others can be surmised from information presented.

Sara is a peculiar character in some ways. She is likable in many ways. She doesn't worry about appearances, loves her dog, enjoys her work, and seemingly keeps a positive attitude. On the other hand we are privy to her inner thought and something always seems just a little bit off. She loves her sister but doesn't want her anywhere near her. Part of this feeling is purposefully written into the novel to keep you guessing and wondering.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Bookouture via NetGalley.

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