“Twenty-five years ago I killed my mother.” So goes the startling opening of a novel rooted in mystery, terror, and uncertainty surrounding a host of crimes occurring in the past and the present.
“The Other Sister” is told in part by Geraldine a college professor who studies and lectures on traditional fairy tales. These tales are from original literature and are awash with horror, betrayal, death, and gore, a far cry from carefully cultivated fairy tales presented to today’s children. Geraldine recognizes that her life mirrors some of the fairy tale themes she studies except that fathers are usually nonentities in the stories; her father is certainly a controlling figure.
The other part of the story is told by Geraldine’s sister Marie. We get the family story from her point of view as well as from Geraldine’s. Each chapter begins with a sister’s memory. Time varies from when they were children, teens, to the present day.
When their parents meet, their mother is captivated by their father. He is ambitious, bold, handsome and a psychopath. He fools everyone. The mother becomes a drug/alcohol addict, unable to care for her children or stand up to her husband, not strong enough to cope with a sinister charm that belies his evil intents.
Geraldine leaves the family after an accident kills her mother. She believes it was her fault. Her father uses that suspicion to drive her away. Marie becomes the subservient sister who lives with her father after her divorce and spends her days trying to please him. She is frightened and worries about his treatment towards her if she offends him in any way. Even her failing to serve his daily Scotch exactly the way he likes it wrecks havoc on her nerves.
In many fairy tales, the other sister is the “bad” one. In this novel, the reader will discover which sister lives her life with an eye toward revenge for a childhood full of hate, disparagement and disdain, a childhood both sisters endured.
When the adult sisters develop a plan to reunite, secrets are revealed about the past. How will they remove their father without getting caught? Will it be through a financial scheme that puts the blame on him? A revelation of the murders he very probably committed? Will they kill him with poison or fire? Can they even trust one another?
The intricacies of this disturbed and very dysfunctional family provide the background for a provocative tale of hurt, revenge, terror and mystery. Fans of psychological thrillers will enjoy “The Other Sister.”