30 Sep Book Review: ‘My Sister’s Secret’ by Tracy Buchanan
Everything you’ve built your life on is a lie.
Willow’s memories of her parents are sun-drenched and full of smiles, love and laughter. But a mysterious invitation to a photographic exhibition exposes a secret that’s been buried since a tragic accident years ago.
Willow is forced to question everything she knew about Charity, her late mother, and Hope, the aunt she’s lived with since she was a child.
How was the enigmatic photographer connected to Willow’s parents? Why will Hope not break her silence?
Willow cannot move forward in her life without answers. But who can she really trust? Because no one has been telling the truth for a very long time.
‘My Sister’s Secret’ is Tracy Buchanan’s second novel and one of my most anticipated reads this year. Ever since I read her debut ‘The Atlas of Us’ a year and a half ago I’ve lived in hope she’ll publish her second one soon and was pretty convinced the story will be masterfully crafted just like her debut.
As you see, I was rather impressed with Ms Buchanan’s writing and the way she creates her characters, who seemed to pop out of the pages making you feel, live and breathe with them. Honestly, I don’t think I will ever be disappointed in any next novel Ms Buchanan writes as she’s truly mastered the writing skill and has the most vivid imagination absolutely necessary to create original plots.
The story might not be new, it’s a story of two generations of women, story of three sisters with their own secrets and one young woman on a quest to find out more about her mother’s past. Despite looking like a rather simple plot, and something we’ve already seen so many times in fiction, Ms Buchanan adds a very interesting and rather unusual story of submerged forests around which everything revolves. This is why I say that no matter how simple story Ms Buchanan chooses as a plot, she adds her original stamp and creates one very unique piece that definitely stands out.
Going back and forth in time, we find out more about Willow, a young woman working as a diver, and about the three sisters (one of them Willow’s mother, who passed away) and about the mystery behind the death of one of their family members. Bearing in mind Ms Buchanan is a journalist, I had no doubts she’ll once again create a beautiful setting and take us around the world, travelling different countries and even continents, just like she did in ‘The Atlas of Us’. I was not wrong, in ‘My Sister’s Secret’ we see loads of amazing places and loads of submerged forests I even looked online. I really had no idea places like this even exist and reading about them really felt like one big adventure.
The characters were rather different and I can tell Ms Buchanan doesn’t feel the need to create lovable characters. On the contrary, they felt too real and even Charity’s (Willow’s mum) indecisiveness about the men in her life felt real and I guess it’s something some women experience at a certain age. All the characters have flaws, but they’re kind of perfect in their imperfections. They’re not trying to be liked and they’re not doing anything to impress you by having a strong character, they just are…they are the way they are and are here to tell a wonderful story of friendship/love/family/secrets.
The only reason why I’m not giving it the max stars, is because sometimes the love triangle felt overwhelming and too much for me to digest. However, it’s still a beautiful story which will hold your interest till the last page. If I compare it to Ms Buchanan’s debut, I can see she’s stepped out of her comfort zone, adding more romance elements to this story. However, she’s balancing nicely the romance and the mystery element creating a gripping family drama/romance with a nicely executed mystery.
Overall, this was a gripping, interesting story from the pen of an amazingly talented writer. I’m already Ms Buchanan’s big fan and look forward to each of her next novels. I just hope we won’t have to wait too long for her next. Absolutely recommend!
My rating: 8/10