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My Sister is Missing Paperback – 14 Mar 2019
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'My Sister is Missing begins at full tilt and then accelerates. Every character is harbouring secrets, and the twists pile up, chapter after chapter. This is a gripping suspense novel, and a powerful testament to the bond between sisters. Clear your diary and get the snacks in. Once you open this one, you won't be putting it down.' --Cass Hunter, author of The After Wife
'A complex and intriguing novel that paints a dark portrait of dysfunctional family relationships' --Fiona Cummins, author of Rattle
About the Author
Julia Barrett began her working life as a primary school teacher. She has worked in Public Relations for the NHS and as an in-house journalist for Queen Mary, University of London. She has a BA in English Literature from the University of Hull. She is a Faber Academy alumna and is currently working towards the completion of an MA in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, University of London. She grew up in Yorkshire and now lives in Essex with her husband and two children
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Her husband Adam is obviously worried and calls the police and sister-in-law Jess. The police are trying their best to locate Steph and with her taking Natalie the search becomes a priority.
Jess is normally the one being looked after by her sister so isn’t comfortable with the situation and she feels out of her depth. However, there is something niggling at Jess hat Adam isn’t telling the whole truth about her sister’s disappearance and she is determined to find out if he’s hiding something and bring her sister home.
My Sister is Missing is an intriguing and complex story. It is told in three parts and mainly from Jess’s POV but we do get to read some chapters from Adam and diary entries from Steph. The chapters are dated and include how many days Steph and Natalie have been missing.
From the beginning, we find out that Steph had been having an affair before she had her daughter and that she is sure that Natalie is her lover’s daughter, something that he agrees with as he’s threatening to tell Adam about their relationship and is pressing for a paternity test. He’s also started making threats towards Steph – Did this make her run, or has he done something to her?
I found the story a little slow in parts and at times repetitive but I still managed to read it in just three sittings. The characters were all enjoyable to spend my time with all had their own different personalities which came across clear.
This is one of those books where you start to suspect everyone – Did Steph runaway? Did Adam do something to her? Has her lover taken her? All possible scenarios and all interesting to fathom out as the plot unfolds. There are a few twists and turns and red herrings to throw you off the scent. There are also lots of secrets uncovered as the story progresses.
Family dynamics and mental health are all welcome and big players in books recently and this one handles them both with sensitivity, especially Postpartum Depression. It has been written by a debut novelist and had I not know that fact I would never have guessed as it is a great plot that has been written superbly. My only little one niggle was I wanted more from the ending.
Book Reviewed on Whispering Stories Book Blog
*I received a free copy of this book, which I voluntarily reviewed
Jess's sister, Steph, has just had a baby girl when, inexplicably and out of the blue, Steph and baby Natalie go missing. Jess races to be with Adam, Steph's husband, as they despair, consult the police and carry out their own investigations. Where is Steph? Why has she disappeared? Is Natalie ok? All questions that form a big part of the story.
There are demons in the sisters' past, ones which may or may not be affecting the present. However, the overarching theme of this novel is one of post-partum psychosis, an important and brave subject for the author to tackle. The consequences of this are far-reaching, for all involved and particularly for Adam, in ways that nobody could have imagined.
My Sister is Missing is full of suspense, full of drama. It's quite a slow burner of a story, one where I questioned what was real and what wasn't, whether what the characters were experiencing was truly what happened or not. I thought Julia Barrett did a good job at portraying the mind games that post-partum psychosis initiates and the doubts that form as part of that.
One nice surprise for me was that some of the action is set in Sheffield, my home city. I didn't know that was going to happen and so I was really pleased about it. The various settings are important throughout the book actually.
This is an interesting tale of family, sisterhood, post-partum psychosis and how the past can continue to affect you long after you think it's over and done with. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed with the ending which I thought might have gone with more of a bang but overall I thought it was an accomplished debut novel and I'd definitely read another book by Julia Barrett.