Hi guys, and happy Thursday! Today I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of Nuala Ellwood’s blog tour and to present you my thoughts on her incredible, compelling debut “My Sister’s Bones”. It is a book that makes you think and it’s an unforgettable story, which for me is always a sign of a really good book! Make sure you read it when it’s out!
My Sister’s Bones by Nuala Ellwood
Publishing Date: 9th February 2017 (Hardcover) / 1st November 2016 (ebook)
Source: Received, in return for an honest review, thank you!
Number of pages: 400
Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adult), Mystery, Thriller
Kate Rafter is a high-flying war reporter. She’s the strong one. The one who escaped their father. Her younger sister Sally didn’t. Instead, she drinks.
But when their mother dies, Kate is forced to return home. And on her first night she is woken by a terrifying scream.
At first Kate tells herself it’s just a nightmare. But then she hears it again. And this time she knows she’s not imagining it.
What secret is lurking in the old family home?
And is she strong enough to uncover it…and make it out alive?
“My Sister’s Bones” is Nuala Ellwood’s debut novel – although I really can’t believe that it’s a debut, as it is one of the most complex, compelling and thought – provoking books that I have ever read. It was a story touching about some very present issues and the fact that the author herself comes from a family of war reporters only made the read so much more realistic. You could so easily spot that she knows what she’s writing about. But Nuala Elwood didn’t stop at showing a real picture of Aleppo, she also added an element of a very incredibly and very well plotted mystery, which made the book even more hooking, even more complex.
It is a story about dysfunctional families – Kate’s father was an alcoholic who abused her and her mother. Her younger brother drowned when he was a baby and Kate’s father blamed Kate and her mother for this. Kate’s younger sister, then their father’s pet, now is following in his footsteps, drinking hard, and she has already driven away her own daughter that she had when she was a teenager. The sisters were never close to each other, and now, after their mother’s death, there is really nothing more that could make them feel closer and like a family.
The group of characters was incredible. I can’t say that I fell for them, that I loved them because there was something in them that made them not so easy to like. I, however, felt sympathy to them, although those feelings were jumping from person to person – I found myself trusting one of them, only to start to develop feelings of mistrust some time later and to wonder if it is really as they say. In this story full of twists and turns, secrets and lies of the worst category, incredible curveballs we got to know Kate and her background slowly, bit by bit, when she’s being questioned by a therapist at the police station, and there were surprises at almost every turn. The author has in a very realistic way brought all Kate’s anxieties and fears to life, in a great way she has shown how a mind of a PTSD person works – and it was terrifying to see it, to be honest. Kate was a very strong person but the author’s ability to pull the wool over our eyes and to play with our minds made me feel uncertain about Kate’s sanity, to be honest – I really didn’t know what I should believe in. But she felt so incredibly strong and real in her fight to keep sane.
Also Sally, Kate’s sister, was brilliantly developed and her character was not at all straight – forward. I think Nuala Ellwood didn’t create her characters to be liked by the reader, but they for sure don’t leave us indifferent – I wanted to shake Sally, there were moments that I despised her even, but I also wholly and totally fell for her later on.
It was a clever, complex and addictive read. I found myself totally engrossed in this story and I couldn’t see all the twists and turns coming, even though I was desperately trying to piece all the things together – I actually knew WHO, I guessed it relatively quickly (for my detective skills, of course) but I didn’t know why and to whom – it totally, absolutely took me by surprise, I just haven’t seen it coming, even with all those hints – because I think we can say that the author was from time to time hinting at this person. However, I just didn’t see it.
It was a disturbing, depressing story but reading it didn’t make me feel like this. Sure, I was not laughing out loud or something, oh my word, of course not, but you know how sometimes, when a book is so depressing it makes you feel exactly the same. This time though I felt anger, desperation, compassion, I truly felt like a part of the characters’ world, as if I was witnessing it with my own eyes – the author has incredible way with the words and she can perfectly get into her characters’ heads, taking us with her. You mostly really don’t know who to believe, what is real and what is a lie, and I absolutely loved this tangled web of uncertainties. The end though, in comparison to the whole book, was much faster, things happened there almost with the speed of light, and in comparison to it the whole book feels much slower.
The author has written a truly though – provoking and controversial story and if you have a chance to read it, do not hesitate – it is clever and compelling, a thriller with a difference. Yes, it is not the easiest read, there are some really dark and depressing issues touched upon in it, such as the war in Syria and the situation of the refugees, or, closer home, mental terror, blackmail, alcoholism, domestic abuse, and I probably read it in the right moment in my life, because I think you really need to be in a right mood to appreciate it. However, I think you won’t want to miss it, as it’s a great page – turner, an emotional rollercoaster of a journey, full of shocking revelations. “My Sister’s Bones” is about love and hate, loss, forgiveness and families, with a very – VERY – good plot full of things that I haven’t seen coming, not in a million years. Hats off to the author for not only writing about Syria but also for the great research on how PTSD can impact an individual person who experienced an indescribable trauma. It kept me on my toes all the time and I really didn’t know where it was going. The writing was very realistic and easy to follow and the brilliantly developed characters just got under my skin. Highly, highly recommended!
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