Monday, April 27, 2020

REVIEW: The Half Sister by Sandie Jones

Title: The Half Sister
Author: Sandie Jones
Genre: Adult Fiction - Drama/Thriller
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Release Date: June 16th, 2020
Acquired: Egalley approved via Netgalley
Goodreads: ADD

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Hello Sunshine Book Club pick The Other Woman, comes a compelling new domestic suspense novel about a family who is forever changed when a stranger arrives at their door.

THE TRUTH: Sisters Kate and Lauren meet for Sunday lunch every week without fail, especially after the loss of their father.

THE LIE: But a knock at the door is about to change everything. A young woman by the name of Jess holds a note with the results of a DNA test, claiming to be their half sister.

THE UNTHINKABLE: As the fallout starts, it's clear that they are all hiding secrets, and perhaps this family isn't as perfect as it appears.

This is my second book by this author, the initial being The First Mistake, and while I enjoyed the suspenseful moments and cliff-hanger chapter ends in that one, The Half Sister fell short in both in it's promoted genre (thriller), and in the execution of it's synopsis.

More aptly described as a family drama, this narrative begins with an interrupted dinner to beat all others, as sisters Kate and Lauren and their mother Rose are visited by Jess, a woman claiming to be their half-sister and deceased father's third child. Dual perspectives are given to the sisters, as we follow a paranoid and disbelieving Kate, and an elated and sympathetic Lauren. Family secrets are brought to light, while long-held assumptions are put to rest. And inbetween it all, we follow a pair of woman who are struggling with the things that are all too (unfortunately) common: infertility and domestic abuse. The mystery behind Jess's appearance is just that, mysterious, and never quite ventures into the thrilling.

I want to say that I might have appreciated The Half Sister more if it had a contemporary cover, and simply promised a saga of sorts; a hidden family past that those involved wanted to keep hidden, but alas, the genre wasn't the only issue. Jones can write a book, that is not a debatable fact. Many individual moments in this narrative were fraught with the right amount of tension; with dialogue fitting to it's cause. The entire book, as a whole, was compulsively readable, but broken down there were holes too big to ignore, and repetition that had me skimming instead of reading. 

The biggest qualms came in the way the triggers were handled, and the slippery way the final twist was revealed. Lauren spent the entirety of the book in a domestic abuse situation, one in which was handled too loosely and distractedly in my opinion. There was a scene in which she has chance to explain to her mother exactly what's been happening, but never fully does. I found this to be a reoccurring theme in the book as well: characters hiding things for no logical reason. By the time the big reveal arrived, there were more questions than answers, and I closed the book feeling like I missed something that I was supposed to understand 5-6 chapters prior.

With all of that said, I'll round out the trio of Jones' work by reading The Other Woman next, and will continue picking up whatever she puts out. This one just didn't work as well for me, sadly.

Read if you like:

A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler

Read if you like these authors:
Kate White, Chevy Stevens, Alafair Burke 

Key themes: 
family, infertility, domestic abuse, relationships, secrets, lies, betrayal



Sandie Jones has worked as a freelance journalist for over twenty years, and has written for publications including the Sunday Times, Woman’s Weekly and the Daily Mail. She lives in London with her husband and three children. The Other Woman is her debut novel and a Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club pick.

Website - Twitter - Instagram

A huge thank-you to Minotaur Books for approving a copy via Netgalley for review!

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