My Sister’s Bones has been on my shelf for ages. I received a courtesy copy at Noirwich in 2016, when it was still in pre-publication mode. In a somewhat unusual reading pattern for me, I started it in September, got a little way in, and stopped, finding it a bit disjointed. Then I picked it up again after finishing A Difficult Mirror, and thinking it was just as cracked as that book, I carried on. I reached Part Two after a couple of days… and finished the rest in one sitting.

Was the determination to read it because it was my E for the Alphabet Soup Challenge? Well, yes, it got me to pick it up again. It also got me to the top of the second mountain in my Mount TBR Challenge (one more peak to go – another 12 books)! See what I thought of it below.

My Sister’s Bones

My sister's bonesby Nuala Ellwood

Are You Brave Enough To Go Back?

Kate Rafter is a successful war reporter. She’s the strong one. The one who escaped Herne Bay and the memories it holds. Her sister Sally didn’t. Instead, she drinks. But when their mother dies, Kate is forced to return to the old family home. And on her first night she is woken by a terrifying scream.

What secret has Kate stumbled upon?

And is she strong enough to uncover the truth . . . and make it out alive? [goodreads]

My Review

Kate tells her story shifting between her life before she went to Syria, the events while she was there, and being interviewed in a prison cell about what she’s been up to since she got home. It’s immaculately told, the pain, the suffering, the fear, and the love of her life. Kate is strong, and everyone is out to prove she’s gone crazy. She’s determined not to fall into their traps; she’s used to asking tough questions, she can see where her interrogators are heading and can evade them.

So she says.

Eventually, Kate is allowed to go, with some stern warnings and advice from the psychologists. You think, yes, Kate, heed their warnings, you’re cracking up. But she goes back to Syria to get away from the pain of her homecoming.

And then this fast-paced, intricate story goes completely ballistic.
'And then this fast-paced, intricate story goes completely ballistic' MY SISTER'S BONES by Nuala Ellwood #thriller #suspense #syria #mysistersbones Share on X

For once, I didn’t get lost in who’s who, or what’s what, even though the unreliable narrators abounded. I started to realise why everyone was acting as dysfunctionally as they are. It all makes sense. But then there’s another twist, and maybe another. And just when you weren’t expecting any more…

My Sister’s Bones turned from being an ‘I’m not really sure I want to read this book’ into a ‘I totally do not want any interruptions’. I finished the second half of the book in one sitting. It’s superbly written; every inch of it drags you into the lives and feelings of the protagonists, and has you whirling inside their messed-up heads. The emotions are raw, the wine bitter.

add to goodreads buttonIt’s so good it’s gone straight into my list of Best of 2019. You may not like the start, but I guarantee you’ll stick with it to the finish. Thriller, suspense, mystery—it’s all three. Add to your list!

MY SISTER'S BONES 'You may not like the start, but I guarantee you'll stick with it to the finish.' NUALA ELLWOOD #thriller #syria #domesticabuse #PTSD Share on X

Book Review | My Sister’s Bones by Nuala Ellwood
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2 thoughts on “Book Review | My Sister’s Bones by Nuala Ellwood

  • 8 December, 2019 at 9:40 pm

    Wow – that’s an enthusiastic review, Jemima.

  • 9 December, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    You do reviews so well. I always know if it’s good AND if it’s something I want to read, though in this case, I might be a bit torn. I seem to be avoiding high-intensity stuff right now.

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