Collis’ gripping novel (Priscilla, 2011) is a biting tale of betrayal and revenge between two rival sisters.
At 6 years old, Celia Kendall is the prototypical spoiled only child of two indulgent parents, Claudia and Dorian, who won’t refuse any whim of hers. They rise to Celia’s defense when any other authority figure tries to temper her entitled, downright rude attitude. Nannies who set boundaries and rules for Celia are promptly let go, and Claudia and Dorian are blind to how difficult their daughter is. When Claudia shares that she is expecting another child, she is cluelessly taken aback by Celia’s anger and her refusal to accept another person with whom she’ll have to share. Claudia goes so far as to contemplate ending the pregnancy, but ultimately, she hopes that Celia will come around and warm to the role of a big sister. Yet the arrival of Titia triggers a desire in Celia to be rid of her younger sister. She plots Titia’s death in a number of ways but is thwarted each time; her resentment at Titia’s presence festers. Years later, Celia’s string of abuse culminates in the ultimate betrayal—a stolen night, resulting in a child with Titia’s husband, Robert, on the very night he marries Titia. As the tangled web of deceit and terror that Celia spins continues to ensnare everyone around her, she turns her attention to destroying Robert’s financial empire. Celia’s daughter eventually learns the horrifying truth about her mother and is determined to take revenge for the pain and suffering Celia has caused. But at what price? Fast-paced and compelling, this timeless tale of sibling rivalry is absorbing and addictive, as the goal posts continuously shift and Titia struggles to keep up. Celia’s villainous ways prove entertaining in their far-blown details, and Titia is sympathetic yet culpable for being the enabling, dull sister. Dramatic, sexy and suspenseful, this account of a family’s vengeful saga is a worthwhile read.
An intense, well-crafted story of how the people closest to us can become our worst enemies.