The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain. On the one hand, it's an absorbing story, filled with secrets and drama. On the other hand, it's had characters that frustrated me and made me roll my eyes. I needed to find out how it ended, but I'm not sure if I agree with the conclusions the author came to in the end. Sigh. What to say to not reveal too much.
Riley McPherson is a 25-year-old school counselor who has come home to New Bern, North Carolina to settle her father's affairs after his unexpected death. She is the executor of his estate and she finds herself faced with more than she had bargained for. She has an older brother, Danny, who is a damaged soul. He was injured in Iraq and has never quite fit in again with regular society. She once had an older sister, Lisa, but the family has been dealing with the aftermath of Lisa's suicide for over 20 years. Riley feels very alone and the amount of decisions to be made and possessions to be sorted and dealt with totally overwhelms her. And then she discovers that the life that she and her brother have had is filled with falsehoods. Their sister, Lisa, may still be alive. And all the pillars in Riley's life come tumbling down.
Told from the viewpoints of both Riley and Lisa and going backwards and forwards in time, this author makes that device work pretty well. My problem was with Riley. I found her incredibly tiresome. She's only 25 and has a load of responsibilities on her shoulders, which I kept trying to remember. Sorting out an estate is indeed a lot of work. Hearing that her father was not the man she thought he was and then discovering evidence of that would be tough. However, Riley makes one bad decision after another, listens to the wrong people at the wrong times and her mood swings had me whipping my head back and forth. Sometimes the 'poor little me' angle just got to be too much. Again, tried to remember that she is young and inexperienced about many things. And easily wounded and hurt. Sorry. As I said, so very tiresome.
As the story wound down to a conclusion, I decided that I did not like how it ended. I've tried to think how I would have done it differently and come up with an answer, but I won't share that here. This didn't put me off this author completely, but I suspect it will be a while before I read another of her books. Sometimes, it's just not the right book for a reader or maybe not the right time. For me, this was a 'wanted to throw it across the room but it's on my Kindle' kind of experience.
If you've read this book, did you have a different experience? I'd love to hear. I don't often finish a book that is bugging me this much, so there must have been some redeeming factors.