The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I’ve read several books by Sally Hepworth and enjoyed them all, so when I saw this one on the ‘coming soon’ list, I added it to my holds list on Overdrive. This one did not disappoint!
The story is about a set of twin sisters, Rose and Fern. Fern is probably autistic and depends on Rose to help her out of difficult situations. The story is told from alternate points of view; Rose through her diary and Fern in 1st person. From the diary we learn that the girls grew up with a mother who could be cruel, especially to Rose. Fern did not necessarily see her mother that way, but with Rose there to interpret the situation and tell her how to think and react, she accepted that her mother was cruel, even though she didn’t ‘feel’ it. And we know that Fern has done ‘a very bad thing’.
Rose is having fertility problems and marriage issues, and Fern gets the idea that she can help by becoming pregnant and having a baby for Rosy and Owen. Enter Wally, the ‘sperm donor’. Some of the story is predictable, and some is surprising, but I enjoyed the journey, even when I was pretty sure I knew what would happen next. I really bonded to Fern and to her ‘boyfriend’ Wally, who is also a little ‘neurodiverse’. I was pulling for them the whole time. I was not a fan of Rose’s mother as I read Rose’s diary entries about her mother’s treatment of her. And while at first I was not a fan of Carmel, the library ‘boss’, I came to like her very much!
The only thing I didn’t like about the story is the very end—no spoilers here! So I will only say that it was too open-ended and left me wondering what happens next. It wasn’t the neat ending that I would prefer.
I think bookclubs would enjoy this one. It is a really quick read (I finished in 2 days!), but has plenty to discuss—sister relationship, neurodiversity, infertility, how point of view influences what we see, and so much more!
I read a digital copy of the book borrowed through my library.
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