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3.9 out of 5 stars767
3.9 out of 5 stars
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This being the 457th review, not a lot of point in a lengthy review!

Synopsis: 26-year-old Beatrice, a British woman working in New York, jets back to the UK when she hears that her 21-year-old sister Tess has gone missing in London. The story is told from a first-person perspective and mainly in the form of a very long letter from one sister to another. Beatrice refuses to accept the conclusions that everyone around her - not least the police and CPS - seem to have drawn, and is determined to find out the truth.

Louise Candlish, an author with whom I am not familiar, sums it up well on the front cover (something that doesn't happen very often) when she describes SISTER as "a compulsive thriller with genuine originality - very clever, very surprising". Rosamund Lupton has put together a first-time novel of real quality, one that touchingly portrays the bond between two close and loving sisters. My only criticism is that it's not as dark or sinister as it ultimately could be; when the reader finds out the truth there is the discovery of a scheming, evil and pathological killer but the prose and general style of the story-telling does not reflect this.

Nevertheless I thought SISTER was a very satisfying reading experience and as a regular follower of crime fiction I enjoyed what is becoming the increasingly rare pleasure of a good ending to a story, one that was a mixture of the surreal, the unexpected and the ambiguous. In a sense the reader can decide what actually happened after the final page, and I like that.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 15 May 2012
I was wondering whether to give the novel 4 or 5 stars, having just given 5 stars to "The English ;Monster", which is also an excellent thriller but has a historical depth that this novel doesn't. But I decided on the 5 stars because I think it's simply excellent at what it purports to do & is by far the best "simple thriller" (no disparagement intended), I've read since I can't remember when & indeed, it does have an emotional depth. It has questions at the end which are designed to trigger debate in a book club & this is exactly where it sits. It's not quite as black as Barbara Vine (I'd put her in a different category), but, if you're looking for a psychological thriller that sucks you in & spins you round till the last minute (& afterwards), I doubt you'll find better. A very skilled authoress at work.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 21 August 2011
I found Rosamund Lupton's book compelling, from beginning to end, and I had the misfortune to read the "Americanised" [i.e.: Americanized] version first for Vine [Not only was vocabulary changed [e.g. 'torch' to 'flashlight', the meaning of the former being perfectly clear from the context, but also grammar and spelling.] When I read a British novel, I want to feel that I am actually in Britain, not California!

Confident that every word of the author's prose--in the original version--was crucial to appreciating the ending of the novel fully, I had the UK edition sent to me, and my suspicions were confirmed. Ms. Lupton has crafted her novel very carefully, introducing vocabulary and imagery so adroitly that their significance will be noticed only subliminally by the reader who is engrossed in the narrative. Only a second reading will reveal the richness of her lexical techniques, which verge on the poetic.

Some readers have lamented the fragmentary division of her story; while this device might derive from her experience as a screenwriter, fragmentation is essential to the novel's outcome; and if the ending has been left ambiguous in the minds of some readers, why must a book have an ending that dots all the i's and crosses all the t's? (Let's leave pat endings to Hollywood!)

The wide range and division of ratings on this website may stem from readers' expectations, and these have been displaced not by the author but by the publishers and the media. I do wish that publishers and newspapers would stop using the marketing ploy of comparing a contemporary author to a previous famous author. Such a stratagem serves only to disappoint readers who are passionate about the novels of, say, Daphne du Maurier (In no way does "Sister" resemble any of the novels of Daphne du Maurier--and I have read them all.).

Another problem lies in the categorisation of the novel as 'crime fiction' or 'thrillers.' Passionate readers of these genres (and I confess to being one) are bound to be disappointed if the scenario does not follow familiar patterns. I enjoyed "Sister" because it broke conventional patterns, but I realise that the breaking--or even flouting--of convention might not be everyone's cup of tea. In my opinion, Rosamund Lupton's "Sister" transcends the boundaries of categorisation. It deserves to be read and appreciated according to its own considerable merits.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 8 November 2010
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I really quite enjoyed parts of this book however to me there are two stories here. A detective story about the murder of Beatrice's sister and her dialogue/relationship with her sister. I'm not sure this make for a very coherent story overall - the "joins" in the stories I found distracting. It is atmospheric quite often with some scenes that are well written and highly effective such as Tess's funeral.

I guess I can say that I quite enjoyed reading it (maybe it is 3.5 star) but the somewhat fragmented nature was less appealing. There is also the "twist" at the end - I'll not give it away but I cannot say I found it all that convincing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 3 April 2011
This book started off with great promise, I read lots of crime books, and this book had a completly different feel / format right from the start. I enjoyed the fact that the main charactor talked to her sister Tess throughout, and that it flipped between the present and past tense. It kept me going all the way through. Why three stars, I thought that the ending was very mediocre and was a let down, given how much promise had been shown throughout. As a first novel I applaud the author, but please don't let your audience down at the end.
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93 of 105 people found the following review helpful
Like many other reviewers, I really enjoyed the first two thirds of this novel. It was exciting (not thrilling, but exciting is enough for me), the character of Beatrice believable and sympathetic, the idea original. But oh dear! That "twist"! It was a terrible let-down. A twist is fine - in fact, often it's a good device - but it must never leave the reader feeling cheated, as this one did. It rendered much of the novel valueless and unauthentic, and, I think, spoilt the novel as a whole. This is such a shame, because the novel has the makings of a really excellent read. The sad thing is that I suspect it was the twist that (at least partly) gave the writer the idea in the first place. But it simply didn't work for me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 22 January 2011
Beatrice is the sensible one, Tess the emotional one. When Tess goes missing, Beatrice comes back home to find her. It's safe to say that she gets rather more than she bargained for. The plot is compelling although comparisons with du Maurier are not correct to my mind; the book never manages to achieve the creeping sense of unease that du Maurier handles so well. I enjoyed the relationship between the two sisters and the journey of discovery Beatrice embarks upon; not just trying to find her sister but trying to find who she really was. There have been a few reviewer comments about the ending; to my mind the author bottles this. I'm sounding a bit too vague I know but I don't want to introduce spoilers. Suffice to say that if the author had made one particular decision in relation to the ending and gone with it, the book as a whole would have been excellent; a real Gothic. As it is it's a bit of a missed opportunity; I enjoyed it though and would recommend it to others.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 July 2012
I was looking for something different in the crime/mystery/thriller genre. The title of this book appealed to me at first, having an older sister myself. I then started to read the preview chapters and was completely drawn in. I downloaded the book onto my kindle immediately as I wanted to continue to read this intriguing story. I didn't exactly finish it in one sitting but it was pretty close.

I'm not going to say what the story is about because other people have already done that. What I will say is that I found it deeply affecting and moving. It's one of those stories that will stay with me for a long time and will make me question what it is to be a sister, mother and daughter.

If you are looking for a fast paced, conventional, police procedural or thriller, then 'Sister' might not be what you are looking for. If you are looking for a beautifully written thought provoking and intriguing story, then I can thoroughly recommend this book.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 18 December 2010
Sensible, responsible elder sister Beatrice rushes back to London when she finds out her scatty, scruffy younger sister, Tess, is missing. When Tess is found dead, everyone except Beatrice believes she killed herself. Beatrice decides to prove that Tess was murdered and to find out who done it, and why.

So far so good. From here on in, there are two distinct strands to this book, one I loved, the other I thought was handled very clumsily. If you watch the little video on this page, the author mentions these strands when says she wanted to write a book about the love between sisters and also an 'unputdownable' detective story.

Firstly, and most importantly, the relationship between the two sisters is brilliantly and movingly described. I loved the way Beatrice came to know and understand Tess as she got to know her friends, live in her flat, wear her clothes and so on. The way Beatrice came to realise that Tess's friends were, in fact, wonderful people who she had initially misjudged, was handled with sensitivity and skill. I liked some of the passages in which Beatrice addressed Tess directly, and found the very end of the book intense and emotional.

I honestly think this would have been a better book if it had just been about Beatrice discovering her sister through the legacy of what she left behind. As it is, the detective story part of the book spoils and detracts from the other thread. The main plot is just silly and very thin, so it is padded out with a host of weak red herrings and two-dimensional caricatures. As other reviewers have said it is very, very easy to spot the murderer and their motivation has more holes in it than my colander.

Having said all that, I will definitely read the next book by this author as the good bits were very good!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 November 2011
Usually, with 'who-don-its', I can't wait to get to the end to find out what happens, but in this case, I was happy to enjoy each page as it came, rather like Beatrice, who learns from her sister Tess, the importance of the present moment. The book is beautifully written and considerably deeper than your usual murder mystery, and perhaps this is why some people have given it bad reviews, in that it is more intelligent, probing and perceptive than their usual reads, and so perhaps a little too challenging. Through the unfolding of events, we are forced to consider the placement of our own emotions in life, particularly around family relationships, love, grief and the choices we make. Some may find this uncomfortable, but there is much comfort to be had here, if one can be as brave as the heroine. A book to be savoured and recommended, definitely deserves five stars.
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