THE SECOND SISTER by Claire Kendal


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A woman searches for the truth about her sister’s long-ago disappearance when new evidence comes to light.

Ten years ago, when Melanie “Ella” Brooke was 20, her 30-year-old sister, Miranda, disappeared, leaving Ella and their parents to care for her 10-week-old son, Luke, in Bath. There was speculation that murderer Jason Thorne could have had something to do with it, and he’s now languishing in a high security psychiatric hospital. New evidence certainly points to Thorne: Miranda supposedly called him a month before she disappeared. Ella wants to speak to Thorne, hoping to gain some insight, but her parents don’t approve, and neither does Ted, a policeman she’s known since they were 4 and who was her first love. When the police return a box of her sister’s things, Ella starts going through the contents, uncovering more questions about Miranda. How did Miranda, a nurse, afford a BMW and the purchase of an elegant flat, and why did she never reveal the identity of Luke’s father? Meanwhile, the attentions of handsome psychiatrist Adam Holderness, who accompanies her when she visits Thorne, aren’t unwelcome, but they’re a distraction in Ella’s single-minded pursuit of the truth. Ella, who narrates as if she’s speaking to her sister, appears prickly at times, but her standoffish nature seems to have emerged from being a woman constantly in her more outgoing sister’s shadow until she was forced to make her way in the world on her own. If there’s any question about her empathy, it’s put to rest in the way she interacts with the women, and men, who seek her help in escaping abusive relationships through her job as a self-defense trainer and especially in her fierce love for her nephew. Readers may have to suspend disbelief as the threads start to weave together with the help of more than a few coincidences, but Kendal’s (The Book of You, 2014) considerable storytelling prowess saves the day.

A tense, absorbing thriller that explores the complex bonds of sisterhood as seen through the eyes of a strong, capable woman who will stop at nothing in her very personal quest for answers.

Pub Date: Sept. 26th, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-06-229764-8
Page count: 496pp
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2017


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