Sisters, like secrets, are best kept close.
Penny and Hattie, orphaned sisters in a small town, are best friends, bound together to the point of knots. But Penny, at the mercy of her brutal husband, is desperate for a fresh start. Willing to do anything for her older sister, Hattie agrees to help. A match is struck and a fire burns Penny’s marriage to the ground. With her husband gone, Penny is free, and the sisters, it seems, get away with murder. But freedom comes at a cost.
More than a year after the fire, a charming young man comes to town. Hattie and Penny quickly bring him into the fold and into their hearts but their love for him threatens the delicate balance. Soon long-held resentments, sibling rivalry, and debts unpaid boil over, and the bonds of sisterhood begin to snap. As one little lie grows into the next, the sisters’ secrets will unravel, eroding their lives until only a single, horrible truth remains: You owe me.
*Thank you to the publisher, Crooked Lane Books, and NetGalley for providing a copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.
Sister of Mine is a domestic suspense that tells the story of sisters Penny and Hattie. They’ve been thick as thieves since they were young, and when their mother suddenly died, Hattie, still a teenager then, becomes Penny’s responsibility since their father bailed on them a long time ago. Without any other family, they only have each other. Until Penny falls in love. She opted to stop college and go back to their small town and get married while Hattie stays at their family home. Now, there’s three of them and Penny couldn’t be any happier. But the happiness is shortlived. Her once perfect husband happens to be short-tempered and was quick to turn to her whenever he’s angry. But Penny’s has had enough. She wants out and there’s only one way to do it. She asked for Hattie’s help and before long, her husband is burned to the ground, never would be able to strike her again. And despite her freedom, there’s always fear looming inside of her. A year after the fire, a new guy came into town and steal the sister’s heart away. And at that moment, things change for Penny and Hattie forever.
So, this book took me by surprise. I was expecting a thriller with a shocking twist, multiple POVs, and a sibling rivalry to win a guy’s heart but it’s not it at all as it focuses more on the family dynamics between sisters bound by a secret and the will to protect each other. Told in Penny’s perspective, she gave an account of the life she leads with her younger sister Hattie. And while she constantly claims to love her sister, it is also obvious how she’s jealous of her since they were kids, because Hattie is always the center of attention not only by other people but also their parents. Despite what she’d been through, I can’t fully sympathize with Penny as she holds so much resentment against her sister. I was a bit disappointed not to get to know Hattie’s side of the story, though. She’s such an interesting, lively character and I would like to know how she makes out of everything that’s happened to them. And I think it would have been so much better with her point of view. The sibling has a complex relationship as they hide what they really feel towards each other, acting that they love each other instead. Harboring a secret and the constant fear of said secret going out put a huge strain between them. And the grueling relationship between Hattie and Penny continue to grow as the story slowly advances.
While it is a slow burn, it is also a quick read for me as I was engrossed in the sisters’ tale. It was predictable but still quite a page-turner. The writing style is unique and added a somber feel to the story. Sister of Mine gives an interesting look at a sibling relationship where despite the rivalry and jealousy, there’s still that need to protect each other. And though everything is not what I expected, I ended up enjoying this dark yet compelling novel.