Tuesday, 24 May 2011

The Secret Lives Of Sisters

The Secret Lives of Sisters by Linda Kelsey
First published by Hodder and Stoughton in 2008 (this edition by Hodder Paperbacks in 2008)


Description: (from back cover)

She is your best friend. And your worst enemy.

Hannah has always felt in the shadow of her older sister, Cat. Cat is the flamboyant one, the one who can make everyone laugh. Hannah is so quiet that her parents often joke, 'Has Cat got your tongue?'

Now Hannah has a daughter of her own, who is about to get married. On the day of the wedding, Cat's caustic tongue is once again let loose with devastating consequences.

As Hannah is compelled to examine her past and try to make sense of her complicated relationship with her sister, she begins to unravel the secrets and lies on which her seemingly normal family was built.

While the truth has the potential to finally unite the sisters, it also has the power to tear them apart for good.

My thoughts:
I have had this book for over a year (if I am not mistaken), but I never really wanted to pick it up and read it. It was actually a present and not a book I chose, and I'm not sure if I would have chosen this book for myself had I seen it in a bookshop. I only decided to read it because I am participating in the British Books Challenge and I had it on the initial list I had compiled when I signed up for the challenge. Even though I have already read more than the 12 books needed to complete the challenge, I decided to give it a try.

First and foremost, I must say that it was definitely not what I expected. I thought it was going to be one of those typical chick-lit novels, with women fighting over men, or falling head over heels in love with them and trying to snag them for themselves. If there is one thing this book isn't, it's that. This one was a lot darker and sinister than I thought it would be.

This book takes place both in the past and in the present. It starts off with the wedding. There, because of various things happening, it triggers the telling of the story of the past, of how the two sisters came to be the way they were. The story has quite a few things going on that are so very sad, it makes you want to sympathise with some of the characters for all the things that have happened to them.

The characters were rather well developed. I did like Hannah a lot, Cat a little less, but by the end of the book, I actually understood why Cat acted the way she did. A character I really did not like, even though she is portrayed as being one of the good characters, was Mavis. We do learn something as to why she acts the way she does, but I still didn't feel as if that justified part of her behaviour in the book.

One thing I really didn't like about this book was the end. I can't say much about it without spoiling the end, but I found it a little too rushed and that parts of it were unnecessary. It was as if the reaction was a little over the top. I might not make sense now... Sorry. All in all, a good story, that is not what it initially seems to be.

Rating: 6/10

Linda Kelsey is a British journalist and author. She has worked for a number of magazines, including Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan and SHE. She now works as a freelance journalist, writing for a number of different magazines as well as newspapers and has also published three novels. She currently lives in London.
Her two other books (other than The Secret Lives of Sisters) are:

You can find out more about Linda Kelsey and her books by visiting her website, LindaKelsey.com

Read for the: 100 Books In A Year Challenge 2011, British Books Challenge 2011


  1. Great, detailed review! I love stories with siblings, especially those a bit darker ones. Although I'm not exactly psyched about this one, I actually AM intrigued, so I might give it a try in the future.

  2. This isn't a book I would usually pick up either. Chick-lit isn't really my taste :-p

    Irena is right though, your review is really well detailed :)

  3. @Kate: I don't mind chick-lit, as long as it doesn't get to stupid (or focus too much on shopping and fashion - which is why I am avoiding Confessions of a Shopaholic).

    Thanks for your kind words, both of you!


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