Friday, March 08, 2019

Review: The Winter Sister by Megan Collins

Title: The Winter Sister
Author: Megan Collins
Published: February 2019, Touchstone
Format: ARC E-copy, 336 pages
Source: Netgalley via Publisher

In this spellbinding and suspenseful debut, a young woman haunted by the past returns home to care for her ailing mother and begins to dig deeper into her sister’s unsolved murder.

Sixteen years ago, Sylvie’s sister Persephone never came home. Out too late with the boyfriend she was forbidden to see, Persephone was missing for three days before her body was found—and years later, her murder remains unsolved.

In the present day, Sylvie returns home to care for her estranged mother, Annie, as she undergoes treatment for cancer. Prone to unexplained “Dark Days” even before Persephone’s death, Annie’s once-close bond with Sylvie dissolved in the weeks after their loss, making for an uncomfortable reunion all these years later. Worse, Persephone’s former boyfriend, Ben, is now a nurse at the cancer center where Annie is being treated. Sylvie’s always believed Ben was responsible for the murder—but she carries her own guilt about that night, guilt that traps her in the past while the world goes on around her.

As she navigates the complicated relationship with her mother, Sylvie begins to uncover the secrets that fill their house—and what really happened the night Persephone died. As it turns out, the truth really will set you free, once you can bear to look at it.

The Winter Sister is a mesmerizing portrayal of the complex bond between sisters, between mothers and daughters alike, and forces us to ask ourselves—how well do we really know the people we love most?

My thoughts: I love when I discover debut matter how they come to my attention. I had been seeing this book and this author's name around Instagram and was quite that cover - it's just so eye-catching with the pop of red. I knew it was a book I wanted to read and was thrilled when the publisher reached out to was definitely a great read!

A book about family secrets, lies and betrayals is always something I am eager to get my hands on and this one completely lived up to those expectations. It's a character-driven story that I felt just pulled me in right from the start. Almost right away you find out this family is dysfunctional and then when tragedy strikes, you really see just how bad it is. And you also are already privy to the fact that this family does a really good job of keeping things from each other. We don't necessarily learn what is being kept secret, but we know there are secrets.

This book walks the line between just a family learning to overcome their guilt and grief and that of a story about obsession and revenge. There are some moments that become quite tense as the secrets start spilling out and there are also some tender family moments that get a bit emotional at times. The story becomes quite addicting as you become just as eager as Sylvie to find out what happened to her sister. You might not necessarily like or connect with any of the characters - and I certainly did not - but you can't help but become consumed with this book. The characters are complicated and become more so as the story moves forward.

This is one of those books where the content and the atmosphere really kept me glued to the pages. It's a dark story that does touch on abuse, though that is certainly not the focus of the story.  I found myself completely invested in the story and wanted to see how it all played out. I know I will definitely be keeping an eye out for this author's future books - as a debut novel, this one was pretty darn good!



  1. The cover is definitely eye-catching. Will have to check out this one!

  2. This sounds quite riveting. Excellent review, Kristin!


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