Years ago, three young girls are walking to school when a terrible accident ends up killing one and seriously injuring another. The third, Alison, grows up to be an artist and gets a job teaching art in prison. Her younger sister, Kitty, sustains a brain injury and ends up living in an institution, still cognizant of the world around her, but unable to talk and unable to remember anything about that fateful day. While working at the prison, Alison begins receiving death threats that refer to the day of the accident and make her realize that the past is catching up to her, and someone is out for revenge.
Blood Sisters is a good thriller that, like Corry’s earlier novel My Husband’s Wife, uses the psychological effects of trauma as the jump-off point for a twisty suspense story. In this book, the secrets mostly revolve around the events of the day of the accident, and similar to My Husband’s Wife, the twists got a bit much at the end, as lies upon lies upon half-truths are revealed. In particular, one of the major reveals about the accident hinged on the police making a major oversight that, forensically, didn’t quite make sense to me. I won’t post a spoiler in this review, but this Q&A on Goodreads is about this very snag. There is also a reveal about one of the prisoners that seemed a bit overdone; the way that storyline ended felt sudden and I didn’t really understand the motivations of the characters around it.
That being said, I loved the relationship between the sisters, and wish it had been developed further. I liked how Alison’s career as an artist is somewhat linked to her past with her sister, how she feels connected to her sister even when they weren’t getting along, and how her fear over the truth coming out leads to her having somewhat cruel thoughts about her sister’s chances at recovery. I also thought Kitty’s storyline was strong. I loved how Corry portrayed her frustration at the people around her constantly misunderstanding her, and I liked the research into communications technology for non-verbal individuals. But most of all, I loved her romantic subplot, and how it ends up showing how much of her personality from childhood is still part of her. Often, when minor characters in fiction have disabilities, they’re portrayed with an angelic light and are mostly geared towards eliciting sympathy. While Kitty started out somewhat like that, I like that she turns out to be just as complex a character as she was before the accident.
Blood Sisters is a solid thriller that felt somewhat tighter than My Husband’s Wife, but likely because the reveals mostly revolved around a single incident and because the characters didn’t change quite as much, it also felt slower and somewhat less compelling.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.