Publication: 5th February 2019 – Atria
In this spellbinding and suspenseful debut, a young woman haunted by the past returns home to care for her ailing mother and begins to dig deeper into her sister’s unsolved murder.
Sixteen years ago, Sylvie’s sister Persephone never came home. Out too late with the boyfriend she was forbidden to see, Persephone was missing for three days before her body was found—and years later, her murder remains unsolved.
In the present day, Sylvie returns home to care for her estranged mother, Annie, as she undergoes treatment for cancer. Prone to unexplained “Dark Days” even before Persephone’s death, Annie’s once-close bond with Sylvie dissolved in the weeks after their loss, making for an uncomfortable reunion all these years later. Worse, Persephone’s former boyfriend, Ben, is now a nurse at the cancer center where Annie is being treated. Sylvie’s always believed Ben was responsible for the murder—but she carries her own guilt about that night, guilt that traps her in the past while the world goes on around her.
As she navigates the complicated relationship with her mother, Sylvie begins to uncover the secrets that fill their house—and what really happened the night Persephone died. As it turns out, the truth will set you free, once you can bear to look at it.
The Winter Sister is a mesmerizing portrayal of the complex bond between sisters, between mothers and daughters alike, and forces us to ask ourselves—how well do we know the people we love most?
If you are looking for a good domestic thriller, a compelling character study full of twists with a cold case to be solved and a very very complicated mother-daughter relationship, then THE WINTER SISTER is right novel for you. I read it in less than two days and I loved every page of it.
The death of Persephone didn’t only mean that Sylvie lost her older sister, but she also lost her mother who, unable to deal with her grief, started loving alcohol much more than her own daughter. Sixteen years later, Sylvie is still dealing with grief and guilt over her sister’s death and an almost inexistent relationship with her mother. An artist working as a tattooist, Sylvie still doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life, but when her mother gets cancer she has no choice but to go back home and take care of her. Will the chance encounter with Ben, Persephone’s former boyfriend, and her mother finally getting sober finally help Sylvie figure out what really happened to her sister?
THE WINTER SISTER is not only the story of an unsolved murder, it’s especially the story of the bond between two sisters, the story of the complicated relationship between mother and daughter, the story of a family with secrets and jealousies. The characters are realistic and well-developed and the intricate family dynamics, the author’s beautiful writing, and the atmospheric setting kept me completely engrossed in the novel.
THE WINTER SISTER is a compulsive and engaging debut novel that completely took me by surprise and I am already looking forward to whatever the author writes next.