The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth is a thriller worth remembering. With toxic familial relationships, the Good Sister shows what happens when you trust too easily.
Fern and Rose are twin sisters who have been through a lot. As we look through Rose’s diaries, we can see that their mother was a terribly abusive mother. As time goes on, Rose regularly had to take the blame and the abuse to protect Fern. This is especially amplified by the fact that Fern has severe sensory sensitivities, and isn’t the greatest with social interaction. Through glimpses of Rose’s diary and Fern’s inner dialogue, we get a glimpse at these twins’ lives.
“The problems between Owen and me are 100 percent, unequivocally, entirely, my fault. I committed the most cardinal of marital sins- I changed.”
Rose’s diary starts off in this way, stating that she had a therapist and was told to write things down. She expresses an inability to have children, her traumatizing history, and the night Fern killed a boy. In these diary entries, Rose seems like a well rounded and healthy adult who cares deeply for her sister. However, as we learn more from Fern’s point of view, we discover that this is not quite the case.
“If it were up to me, every child would have a year in the library before they went to school. Not just to read, but to roam.”
This book was really interesting in how it gaslights Fern. This was one of the few thrillers that I genuinely did not have figured out until about 75% into the book. I had my guesses, but when everything was revealed I was genuinely shocked. I found Rose to be unlikable from the start but felt that perhaps this was from years of abuse and lack of therapy. I didn’t care for the way she treated Fern and the relationships that were developing.
As the book progressed, I liked Fern more and more, and her love interest. Often when reading thrillers, love interests feel frustrating and unnecessary. This particular interest was sweet and really enjoyable to read.
Reviewing thrillers is complicated as I never want to spoil the story for my readers, but let me tell you that this fast-paced thriller was an amazing read. I enjoyed all the aspects of it and even the representation of someone with sensory issues. If you’re someone who likes to read a quick thriller, this is definitely the one for you.
Thank you to Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.