Book Review: The Perfect Sister by Sheryl Browne

“Having a sister is like having a best friend you can’t get rid of. You know whatever you do, they’ll still be there.”

 — Amy Li

According to the author, if you liked Lucinda Berry's The Perfect Child, My Lovely Wife, and The Girl on the Train, you'll like this heart-stopping psychological thriller from popular novelist Sheryl Browne.

Synopsis from Goodreads...

Claire is shocked when she receives a message out of the blue from Sophie, a beautiful young woman who tells Claire that she’s their father’s secret child. Having spent years nursing her sweet little daughter Ella through a life-threatening illness whilst dealing with the emotional fall-out of a devastating marriage breakdown, Claire feels tentatively excited to meet Sophie. Perhaps she might finally have someone in the family to lean on…

As Claire welcomes her sister into her life, she’s delighted to see just how much Ella loves her new Aunt Sophie. But as the pair spend more time together, Claire begins to wonder where exactly her perfect new sister came from and what kind of person she really is. With their elderly father’s mind rapidly deteriorating, is it possible that he’s hiding something from Claire about Sophie’s sudden appearance in their lives?

When Sophie suggests a family day at the seaside, little Ella is beyond excited. But as Claire takes an important phone call from her demanding ex-husband, leaving Sophie in charge of Ella, something unthinkable happens. And as Claire rushes into the ice-cold sea towards the small, limp figure of her daughter, she realises that Sophie was watching the whole time. But why would Sophie want to hurt Claire’s precious daughter? Was trusting her new sister with Ella the biggest mistake of Claire’s life?

My reaction to this novel...

After days of reading, I've finally finished this novel. I initially looked for this work online only to check for quotations, but I couldn't locate any. I couldn't highlight while reading since I couldn't find one that suited me, therefore I was disappointed. I looked for this and only got a few hits, and I believe the author changed the title because several pointed me to the book title, "The Family Secret." Therefore, it added to my dissatisfaction with this book.

Anyway, when it came to the story, I was tempted to put the book down. Though I enjoy family psychological thriller novels, this one bored me to tears. I had previously suspected who Anna and Sophie were, but it did lengthen the plot, much to my chagrin. I wasn't blown away by the plot because the author just revealed it around two chapters before the finish. It was so sluggish that I became annoyed to the extreme. The novel's whole array of characters irked me. I'm not sure whether that was the author's aim, but feeling that way about a book's story is not acceptable. It irritates me greatly.

I don't like how the narrative is told from many different perspectives, including that of the father, who is demented. Because it was so bizarre, it appeared as though the author didn't know what she was doing or how to organize her plot. I was very looking forward to it, especially if the book lived up to the author's claim that it was similar to "The Perfect Child" by Lucinda Berry. This narrative was significantly different from "The Perfect Child," in fact, it was miles away from it, so I really want to disagree with that.

It was a wonder that I chose to continue this narrative because I truly did not enjoy it. It was incredibly difficult to read, and it was terrible that I couldn't find any quotations to share or highlight with. I don't suggest this to anyone, especially if you're seeking for a nice narrative. To start with, this is a bad story. Even simply reading it will leave you exhausted and disinterested since it was so boring.

My Overall Rating: ⭐(1/5)


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