There are two sides to every secret.
When her beloved father dies, Josie is devastated to uncover a secret life he has led with another family: another house, another woman and a half-sister, Valentina.
Born in the same week, in the same hospital, they look so physically alike they could be mistaken for twins. But the similarities end there…
Josie is sweet and reserved, a counsellor with the perfect boyfriend and the perfect life. Valentina is damaged and reckless, and she always gets what she wants.
But what she wants is Josie’s life, and she’ll stop at nothing until she has it.
I don’t read a lot of psychological thrillers these days. I think I read too many in the past and have become a bit immune to them. However, The Good Sister, which I was initially attracted to by the stunning cover, managed to keep me completely gripped throughout the whole story.
This is a fast paced, hard to put down kind of a book. At times this was a tense, heart racing, panic inducing thriller. I found myself getting so frustrated that one of the characters was so trusting of another. Then I felt unsure who to trust myself, and doubting my own judgement of the situation. There were so many twists and turns I began to feel like I was playing a game of dizzy daleks.
I don’t really want to say much more about the plot or characters themselves, as this is definitely a book that’s best read knowing very little about what is going to happen. However, I do want to discuss the incredibly interesting historical snippets about Viking life at the beginning of each chapter, mainly as I believe it has taught me something about my own ancestry.
The very beginning of the prologue begins with the following:
Today, about a million people in the UK are descended from the Vikings. A finger deformity known as Dupuytren’s disease is found in some people with Viking ancestry.
I gasped when I read this. I had never heard of Dupuytren’s disease until my dad developed it a few years ago. As soon as I started this book I had to message Dad about it, and he explained even more about the disease and its connection to the Vikings. Next time I see his bent fingers I won’t be able to help myself imagining him holding a Viking sword.
Until now, I’ve never really thought that deeply about my ancestry. I just knew I was half Irish and half Yorkshire. The ginger hair on my mum’s side of the family wasn’t really a surprise, with her being Irish, but I’ve often wondered about the ginger hair on my dad’s side, and I’m now wondering whether that came from the Vikings too.
I grew up in York and so was surrounded by things of Viking influence for the whole of my childhood. I loved Jorvik Viking Centre, although I always thought it smelt funny. Upon meeting my husband at eighteen, who loves eating BBQ sauce, I discovered the funny smell in Jorvik Viking Centre smells just like BBQ sauce. Now, every time my husband has the sauce, I can’t help but think of Jorvik. I also loved the Viking battle re-enactments that used to take place on the river with burning boats.
York has been calling me back over the last year. Cornwall is just too far away from my childhood home, so I intend to move back there in a few years. Hopefully the now suspected Viking in me will be content with my return to the north. Whether I’m Viking or not, I’m more than happy to spend the rest of my life believing I may very well be. Gosh, I read a fictional book, and now I’m looking at my existence in a whole new light. How great is that!
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About the Author:
Jess Ryder is the pseudonym of Jan Page, author, screenwriter, playwright and award-winning television producer. After many years working in children’s media, she has recently embarked on a life of crime. Writing, that is. Her other big love is making pots.
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