Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Book Review: The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth

Pages: 309
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: April 13, 2021
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Source:  Publisher for review
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "From the outside, everyone might think Fern and Rose are as close as twin sisters can be: Rose is the responsible one and Fern is the quirky one. But the sisters are devoted to one another and Rose has always been Fern's protector from the time they were small.  Fern needed protecting because their mother was a true sociopath who hid her true nature from the world, and only Rose could see it. Fern always saw the good in everyone. Years ago, Fern did something very, very bad. And Rose has never told a soul. When Fern decides to help her sister achieve her heart's desire of having a baby, Rose realizes with growing horror that Fern might make choices that can only have a terrible outcome. What Rose doesn't realize is that Fern is growing more and more aware of the secrets Rose, herself, is keeping. And that their mother might have the last word after all."



Rose and Fern Castle are fraternal twins, but they aren't very alike.  While Rose is more put together, Fern marches to the beat of her own drum.  Fern has sensory processing issues that can sometimes be debilitating and dictate her life, so in turn, Fern has her life planned out to avoid any triggers. While working at the library, she has found her place where she is accepted and can excel.  Rose, while outwardly seems settled, she struggles inwardly with her anger towards her mother and their upsetting childhood.  Rose and Fern are extremely codependent on each other.  Rose mothers Fern and Fern depends on Rose to help her in most things.  Rose is unable to have a child, so Fern thinks she can be the one to carry a baby for her in order to show her thanks after all she has done for her.  Fern's idea becomes a reality when she meets a guy at the library and they hit it off.  However, things get really complicated as more secrets are uncovered and more truths are questions.  Sally Hepworth's domestic thriller, The Good Sister, is an addicting story about two sisters, their loyalty to each other, and family secrets that could tear them apart.  

I immediately thought Fern was a very compelling character in The Good Sister. Hepworth does a brilliant job portraying someone dealing with sensory issues or perhaps someone who is on the spectrum.  Fern is quirky, can be brutally honest,  but also doesn't pick up on social cues. These characteristics made for an interesting main character.  I loved Fern's dedication to the library and her ability to get others to enjoy reading.  However, I didn't always love her relationship with her sister. Rose is very controlling of Fern and I am not sure it is warranted.   Rose holds this secret over Fern about something that happened years ago and due to this, Fern feel like she can't trust herself.  This makes Fern reliant on Rose in an unhealthy way.  

Every other chapter or so in The Good Sister has an entry from Rose's journal that mainly fills in the blanks about childhood memories.  Rose dealt with major issues, as well as their mother's upsetting behavior, and experienced all this very differently than Fern. I felt badly for Rose, because their mother was manipulative and was an all-around horrible person, according to the diary entries, and treated Rose poorly.  However, as readers learn more about Rose, I kept wondering if her journal entries were entirely accurate.  Then I wondered if Fern was a reliable narrator as well? Are Rose's memories a twisted view of reality?

Fans of domestic thrillers and psychological thrillers will enjoy this tale of family secrets that left me questioning just about everything. But don't worry! Slowly Hepworth reveals the truth and it kept me turning the pages! If that's your kind of story, then The Good Sister would be a fantastic book to throw in your beach bag this summer!

Are you a fan of Sally Hepworth? Did you read The Good Sister? Is it on your TBR list? Let me know in the comments below. 



  1. This sounds like a great mystery to cozy up this weekend. We're about to have three steady days of rain. Perfect reading weather -- mystery reading weather!

    1. It would be the perfect book for a cozy weekend! Thanks for visiting, Joy!

  2. I like the idea that perhaps neither of the sisters is a reliable narrator!

    1. It really threw me for a loop till I was able to get more of an understanding of what was going on! Thanks for visiting, Angela!

  3. This has been getting such good reviews and way past time for me to add it to my TBR.!


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