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I received an ARC of this book via Pan Macmillan and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Is blood really thicker than water?
Abby and Ellie were never close as children. Now in their thirties, they each harbour deep-rooted resentment for the other – Abby for her sister’s looks and her status as their mother’s favourite. Ellie meanwhile is envious of Abby’s perfect husband and picturesque home, a villa on the sun-soaked Italian island of Elba.
When Abby invites Ellie to stay, both sisters see the break as a chance to relax and put aside their differences. But with their mother Susanna there too, all the simmering tensions of the past quickly rise to the surface. And Ellie suspects that Abby and their mother are keeping a dangerous secret . . .
But after a shocking act, the sisters have only each other to rely on. Vulnerable and scared, trusting each other will be the biggest risk of all . . .
I’ve previously read The Girlfriend by Frances and I really liked how her narrative was fast paced and thrilling. Her latest book, Sisters, is an equally intriguing story set against the beautiful landscapes of Italy, France and Spain. I knew I wanted to read this one after enjoying The Girlfriend so much and this definitely didn’t disappoint.
The story follows sisters Abby and Ellie. Since they were children, Abby has been in her sister’s shadow. Fast forward to the present and Ellie is staying with her sister – who is successful, retired early and happily married to Matteo – on the gorgeous island of Elba. Whilst there is beauty on the island, there is also trouble in the form of the odd, overbearing mother Susanna, an awful accident and secrets and lies aplenty.
I was already aware that Frances has a talent for describing landscapes and people in a captivating way, and I was absolutely enthralled by the breathtaking landscapes and the interesting, mysterious characters I encountered along the way.
Admittedly, I did find myself confusing the sisters from time to time but that was more my fault than the author’s – for sure! Though they are sisters, and they do exhibit a similar humour, they couldn’t be more different. Ellie is a free spirit whilst Abby is career focused though, as the narrative picks up, they band together in ways (having read the moments in their pasts) you wouldn’t expect.
It wasn’t just the sisters that I was drawn to, however, as Frances drew me in with Susanna – the girl’s mother who has secrets and her own agenda and ensures that the idyllic holiday doesn’t go as planned. I was also intrigued by Matteo, the handsome husband who also happens to be a police man – so he proved to be more of a pretty face, for sure! Although every character had their annoying moments, each one had a part to play in this book and definitely added to the suspense and the edge-of-your-seat-anticipation that these kinds of books always possess.
The story had plenty of twists and turns and, as much as I thought I had the plot figured out, Frances threw a spanner in the works. It meant that the ending – if a little bit rushed – was a shock, for me at least!
My only problem is that I felt that Matteo and Kathleen, though they were involved in the narrative, definitely could’ve been incorporated more as I think they would’ve added something more to the story.
Regardless, Sisters is an exhilarating thriller of a book, with twists and turns but also humour. It made me want to venture out to my own island paradise, for sure, just without the dodgy bits!
What have you been reading recently? I’d love to chat in the comments 😊.
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