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  • Writer's pictureCaitlyn Lynch

Book Review: Sister Dear by Hannah Mary McKinnon

Eleanor Hardwicke is devastated. Her father is dying, her mother is unsympathetic, her sister can’t even be bothered to fly home and her world has just been completely rocked by the discovery he wasn’t even her biological father. When a mugging lands her in hospital and she loses her chance to say farewell, investigating her real father and his family seems to be a way to distract from her grief. Finding out her father is wealthy and she has a rich, beautiful sister with an apparently charmed life, Eleanor is like a kid with her nose pressed to the windowpane, staring in at the light and warmth of the life she never had.

Eleanor gets a bit obsessed and a bit too close, but honestly? If I’d been treated like that, I might well act in a similar way. Her intentions are good and even though she occasionally has thoughts about doing things that would clearly be over the line into wrong (selling her sister’s ring, messing up her business plans) she never actually acts on them. At the very beginning of the book, Eleanor (in whose first person perspective the whole story is told) TELLS the reader that she will be honest, and she absolutely is. She’s a completely reliable narrator.

The problem lies in that for almost all of the book, Eleanor had no idea what was actually going on, and that she was being played like a fiddle. I started to have my suspicions midway through that there were some deeper undercurrents, when a few things seemed a little out of place, but the sudden twist definitely caught me by surprise. I won’t spoil things, but suffice to say, there’s definitely a villain here, a true psychopath who turned Eleanor into nothing more than their unwitting tool. It’s clever and fascinating and the book ends in a dark place which is a bit of a gut punch and might be too much for some in these traumatic times - if you’re looking for a thriller where the Bad Folks get their comeuppance and the Good Folks get a happy ever after, this definitely isn’t it.

That said, I loved it, and I’m giving it five stars. I’ll definitely be looking for more books by this author in the future, too.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.

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