The Perfect Sister by Sheryl Browne

This was a gripping psychological thriller, with characters that were hard to predict and left the reader guessing until the end.

Claire always wished for a sister. But should you be careful what you wish for?
Claire has spent her whole marriage trying to be the perfect wife and mother – supporting her husband as he goes for promotions and always making sure she’s there to tuck her daughter into bed each night. But little does she know that almost everyone around her has been keeping secrets that could ruin the life she’s worked so hard to create.
Growing up with warring parents and an often absent father, Claire has always wanted to give her daughter Ella the dream childhood she wishes she’d had. So, when she discovers her husband Luke has been having an affair, Claire is left wondering how she can possibly keep her daughter’s world from crumbling.

Then Claire receives a text message from someone called Sophie that simply reads – ‘You don’t know me, but I’m your sister’. At first, she’s shocked. And Sophie’s appearance raises questions Claire would like to put to her elderly father before it’s too late. But as she gets to know Sophie – who is so like her in so many ways – she can’t help but be delighted to finally have the sibling she always dreamed of.
As the two women become inseparable, Claire leans on her new sister more and more, ultimately asking her to move into the family home and trusting her with Ella. But when the unthinkable happens and Claire fears for her daughter’s life, she starts to wonder whether her new sister is exactly who she says she is.
One thing Claire knows is that telling the perfect lie seems to run in the family.

I really enjoyed this – right from the start Claire was difficult to read. Despite most of the chapters being from her perspective, I constantly felt as if there was something about her being hidden. She was intriguing and it hooked me from the start. Although most of the chapters are from her perspective, we do get some from her husband Luke, her half-sister Sophie and a couple of others, which makes it absolutely fascinating as we get to see glimpses, but not too much, into the thought processes of the other characters.

There are mysteries in this book right from the beginning – everyone seems to be keeping some kind of secret, whether it’s big or small. It’s really clever as it stops the reader from guessing too much about the plot and kept me hooked throughout. Sophie is particularly fascinating and the chapters from her perspective don’t make it much clearer. She does seem suspicious throughout and I loved the way that Browne wrote her without giving too much away.

It’s a fairly fast-paced plot and the odd chapter that is from someone else’s view, such as Claire’s father or her best friend, helps to keep the pace moving even more. It breaks up in a way that builds the intrigue without disturbing the flow of the book.

Sheryl Browne’s books are always great, but if you want a really gripping psychological thriller, then this is the one for you without a doubt.

Family Secret
Sheryl Browne
Bookouture, 29th Jan 2020

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You can find reviews, recommendations and more on my blog. I started blogging in 2019 and this year I'll be introducing a few new features... so watch this space! I'm an Editorial Assistant at a magazine and I do a lot of publishing related things in my spare time, including being an Events Coordinator with SYP London. Connect with me on Twitter or browse a few reviews. Have fun!

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