The Good Sister

Sally Hepworth's ominous The Good Sister opens with an entry from the journal of Rose Castle, depicting a childhood camping trip during which her twin sister, Fern, did something horrific. After this unsettling introduction, the story jumps to the present, told from the point of view of Fern, now an adult working at a library. Fern is neurodiverse and content with her regimented life, which includes regular dinners with Rose. Fern's strict daily routines start unraveling when she meets an unusual man at the library and discovers Rose can't get pregnant. When Fern embarks on a plan to help Rose, she inadvertently sets in motion a series of events that unearth dark family secrets.

Hepworth proficiently spins a web that slyly keeps pulling in readers until they realize they're caught up in it and can't escape. The main draw is Fern, an endearing character who has no edit button and is very funny in the literal way she perceives social interactions. When a library patron says, "Excuse me," Fern replies, "You don't need to ask to be excused... you can come and go as you please." A potential lover asks, "Is it safe?" before they have sex and Fern thinks, "While it wasn't impossible a madman could burst into my flat at any given moment wielding a handgun, neither was my flat war-torn Syria." The relationship she forms with Wally, the man she meets at the library, will make most hearts grow three sizes, while this psychological thriller upends the notions of what makes someone "normal" and "good." --Elyse Dinh-McCrillis, blogger at Pop Culture Nerd

Powered by: Xtenit