Saturday, June 15, 2019

The Good Sister - Gillian McAllister

It is all relative, of course, but in many families there is a “good” sibling, and by comparison, there is a “bad” sibling.  And more often than not, that idea becomes so normalized within the family circle that even the “bad” sibling comes to believe it to be true.  This is the family dynamic explored by Gillian McAlister in her novel The Good Sister, the story of one family being destroyed by what appears to have happened behind closed doors during one tragic night.

Martha Blackwater knows what she wants out of life, and she is well on her way to making it all happen, including the baby she and her husband welcomed into the world right on schedule.  But as it turns out, Martha wants more – and if she is to get it, she is really going to need some help caring for her new baby.  When Becky, Martha’s sister (who seems to be chronically unhappy with her own work) becomes so frustrated by her current job that she desperately wants to quit, the solution to Martha’s problem seems an obvious one: Becky will stay home and care for the baby while Martha devotes herself to her new project.

But then it happens.  Baby Layla is dead, and Becky is charged with her murder.  

Gillian McAllister
Becky insists that she is innocent, and Martha wants desperately to believe her sister even though all the evidence seems to point directly to Becky’s direct involvement in Layla’s death.  If not Becky, who could be responsible for smothering the baby? That’s what Martha wants to find out, and despite her husband’s objections, she begins her own clandestine investigation – one that will have her second guessing everything she thought she knew about those closest to her.

Sometimes Martha is certain that Becky is innocent; at other times the weight of the evidence against Becky has Martha doubting her sister.  What will happen to them even if Becky is found innocent?  Will their lifelong bond allow them to remain close even if the actual truth of what happened that night is never definitively determined? And if the worst happens, and Becky is found guilty, what will that do to Martha’s relationship with her parents and her brother?  

The Good Sister is a courtroom drama told in alternating flashbacks to what happened nine months earlier, but it is really more about the strong bond between two sisters being tested in an unimaginable manner.  Some things are just impossible to forgive.  Or are they?

Copy provided by G. P. Putnam's Sons for review purposes

Book number 3,406

6 comments:

  1. Wow. Sounds like a compelling read. Do you ever find out the truth about what really happened?

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    1. You do find out - right at the end. Unusually for me, I actually figured the ending out quite a bit earlier than it was revealed. I'm not good at that, so I was surprised to be right.

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  2. This is definitely my kind of book. I'll for sure be reading it sometime soon!

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    1. I'll look forward to hearing what you think of it, Susan.

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  3. What a dilemma! I can't imagine how this situation will play out.

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  4. Right from the beginning, it was one of those situations destined not to end well. I only wondered if the author was going to cushion the blow as much as possible or go for the worst tragedy possible. Kept me reading to find out how brave the author was going to be.

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