"Winter Sister"

This psychological thriller had me riveted from the beginning. I quite literally couldn’t put “The Winter Sister” down. Sylvie was 14-years-old when her older teenage sister Persephone was murdered. Her death tears apart her already unstable family and Sylvie is wracked with guilt over what she perceives as her role in the death.

Sylvie lives with this unsolved crime for 16 long years before circumstances force her to return to her hometown and all the family secrets the community holds. Her mother Annie is undergoing cancer treatment and their complicated relationship takes readers for a roller coaster ride with twists that I honestly did not see coming.

We meet Persephone’s former boyfriend Ben, son of the prestigious mayor, someone who has access to money and means. Ben is a nurse where Annie goes for treatment, which seems an odd profession for someone who is pushed as the murderer from the beginning.

Ben complicates Sylvie’s relationship with her mother; the mere mention of his name sends Annie into a meltdown. Family ties are explored in this novel that addresses what it means to love each other, and how the secrets we keep for that love can ultimately break us apart.

The introduction of new characters was superbly done and their plausibility as suspects felt authentic and completely possible. The boundaries of grief were explored from many angles and the bond between mother and daughter was tested and strained as Sylvie circled closer and closer to the truth. Once the layers are striped away and we see the motive for what it is, then all the pieces fall into place; only the truth has the power to set these characters free from the past.

Mysterious and heavy, the crime committed will drag readers in and break their hearts because of the loss of time and innocent life that ensues. However, at the end of “The Winter Sister” you will feel hope and an ability to move on, which is what our heroine Sylvie desperately needs.