The Second Sister by Claire Kendal

Release Date: Thursday 4th May 2017.

First you disappeared. Will I be next?

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Disclaimer: I received an early review copy via NetGalley, with the approval of the publisher, HarperCollins UK, in exchange of an honest review.

The Second Sister tells the story of Melanie “Ella” Brooke, and her struggle to uncover the mystery of her sister, Miranda’s disappearance. Although 10 years have passed, Ella will stop at nothing to uncover the truth, even if it means putting herself in danger.

Written by Claire Kendal, The Second Sister is a gripping read which had me hooked from start to finish. The characters and their psychological states are really interesting. I found each character compelling. The way they are presented to the reader makes it impossible to guess who is responsible for Miranda’s disappearance. As a reader, I shared Ella’s suspicions of each character. As it says on the book cover, “first you disappeared, will I be next?” it is clear that Ella herself is not safe. As strange things are happening 10 years later, it is clear that the culprit has his sights set on “The Second Sister.”

There were times where I felt that Ella WAS Miranda because so many of her loved ones were against her looking for her sister. There were so many times in the book where characters would confuse Melanie with Miranda because they look so alike. So what if she went through a deep trauma and lost her memory for which she now assumes the identity of Melanie Brooke? The deeper I got into the story, I began to realise that Ella could not possibly be Miranda, or vice versa.

Ella is a strong fearless character who is determined to find her sister. She knows it’s dangerous, but that does not stop her. I admire the charity work which Ella does; helping families of victims, providing safety for victims of abuse, and giving those victims self-defence classes. However, if you read between the lines, and look at the psychology of her charity work, you realise that Ella and Miranda fit into some of these categories. There seems to be a sense of self-assurance here, Ella is a family member of a victim. By surrounding herself with others, she realises she is not alone in her grief. There could possibly be another psychological reason behind the charity work, because she could not protect her sister she feels the need to protect vulnerable women.

Ella’s love for Miranda, and her inability to let her go are the driving vehicles of her determination and the narrative. The narrative is told in Ella’s point of view, where she constantly addresses the reader as if she is speaking to Miranda. Her grief, her determination, her thoughts, and her feelings are shared with ‘Miranda.’ Ella lets us into the inner chambers of her heart and mind. In that respect, Clair Kendal establishes an emotional connection between Ella and the reader.

To be completely honest, I wasn’t expecting a certain character to be responsible for Miranda’s disappearance, and I certainly didn’t expect things to turn out the way they did. Yes, I was expecting Ella to be the one to confront the culprit. I had found it annoying how likeable Jason Thorne was. Locked up in a high security hospital, Jason is a childlike man that you hate to like. Although he is quite disturbing, there is a sense of childlike innocence to him which make him a likeable antagonist. Whomever had been responsible for Miranda’s disappearence, had been hidden very well.

I loved how Claire Kendal used Ella’s best friend Sadie and her erratic behaviour as a distraction. Her sudden hatred and jealousy of Ella, and Miranda’s dislike for her, makes Sadie a possible culprit. She does little to retain her innocence in the readers eyes as she goes on a hunt for Ella.

Not only did I find the antagonist unpredictable, but I also found the narrative unpredictable. The deeper I got into The Second Sister, the more surprises I was hit with.

Overall, I quite enjoyed these surprises and the fact that I couldn’t discern who is the culprit of Miranda’s disappearance. I liked the fact that the story was unpredictable, and thoroughly enjoyed that I was not able to figure out how things will turn out after each event that took place. The characters were compelling; The Second Sister is a compelling read, I highly recommend it!

 

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