Book Review

My Sister’s Bones by Nuala Ellwood


Rating: ★★★★☆

When Kate Rafter returns home following her mother’s death, she knows that things will be difficult.  She and her sister are not on the best of terms, and Kate feels more comfortable in the warzones where she works as a journalist than she does in her hometown of Herne Bay.

On her first night in her mother’s house, Kate hears a scream.  Believing it to be a nightmare, she dismisses it.  But then she hears it again.  Is it real, or is it her imagination?

My Sister’s Bones opens in Herne Bay police station one week after Kate’s arrival.  Kate has been arrested and detained pending a review by a clinical psychologist to determine her state of mind.  What she has been arrested for is not immediately clear, and the story slowly unfolds as the novel alternates between the present where Kate is assessed by the relentless Dr Shaw, and what has happened during her week in Herne Bay.  I thought that this structure worked really well, and I enjoyed finding out more about Kate and her background as well as the events that led to the situation in which the reader finds her.

It’s clear from the outset that Kate’s experiences in Syria have, understandably, affected her, and as a result Kate suffers from both aural and visual hallucinations – something that Dr Shaw is keen to explore further with the increasingly reluctant Kate.  This casts doubt upon Kate’s narrative, and I was constantly trying to separate the fact and fiction in her tale – My Sister’s Bones is so cleverly written that I believed Kate one minute, and the next thought that she must be imagining everything.

I’ve kept my review deliberately light, as I think that to say too much would spoil this wonderful novel for other readers.  What I will say is that My Sister’s Bones is a compelling read that draws you in and keeps you guessing to the very end.

My Sister’s Bones will be published as an eBook on 1 November 2016, and in hardback on 9 February 2017.  Many thanks to Annie Hollands and Katy Loftus for the ARC.


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