The Sister, by Louise Jensen
The way Louise Jensen brought The Sister to life is pretty impressive -Jensen’s debut novel was part of a challenge at a writers’ group where she was given ten minutes and three words. What came next is a complex psychological thriller.
“I did something terrible Grace. I hope you can forgive me…”
Grace hasn’t been the same since the death of her best friend Charlie. She is haunted by Charlie’s words, the last time she saw her, and in a bid for answers, opens an old memory box of Charlie’s. It soon becomes clear there was a lot she didn’t know about her best friend.
When Grace starts a campaign to find Charlie’s father, Anna, a girl claiming to be Charlie’s sister steps forward. For Grace, finding Anna is like finding a new family, and soon Anna has made herself very comfortable in Grace and boyfriend Dan’s home.
But something isn’t right. Things disappear, Dan’s acting strangely and Grace is sure that someone is following her. Is it all in Grace’s mind? Or as she gets closer to discovering the truth about both Charlie and Anna, is Grace in terrible danger?
The story is complex –every single page is a crescendo of tension, but at some point it doesn’t make sense anymore. The narration goes back and forth in time -and whilst this writing technique worked tremendously well for some stories, it make things uselessly complicated. Louise Jensen really tried my patience to the utmost by dragging the story a bit too far my level of tolerance -I was halfway through the book and still had no idea where it was going. You start reading thinking it’s about Charlie, and that indefinite little something she had done (what was that, btw?) and somehow you’re left questioning about a stalker, a suicide, a mistress and an affair.
Characters aren’t fully developed and, to be honest, I couldn’t stand another manipulative/psychotic female role. I hated Gone Girl (*) and I couldn’t like this one either. (*speaking of manipulative/psychotic bitches)
With that being said -and beside my personal opinion- will reading The Sister make your eyes fall down? -No, it won’t. It is decently written, after all. Will it push your limits? -Absolutely yes. I enjoy a good psycho-thriller with a well conceived story and even if I didn’t like it, I have to give the author credit, because – somehow- she found the right combination of mystery/darkness and psychosis and I couldn’t stop reading.