“The Half Sister”

People go to great lengths to hide secrets.

“The Half Sister” is about a family in crises. On the surface, everything seems to be at least satisfactory if not wonderful. Rose has adjusted to life without her late husband Harry; daughter Lauren, husband Simon, and children seem content while daughter Kate and husband Matt are progressing with infertility treatments to create their own family. All are enjoying a family get together when a woman appears at the door, and nothing will be the same again. The woman, Jess, claims to be Harry’s daughter.

The story unfolds in first person narratives by Kate and Lauren, and each chapter identifies the speaker. It soon becomes clear that that Jess is not the only secret this family has hidden. There are many actions from the past that creep into the present and must be settled or controlled. People have gone to great lengths to keep these secrets, but they are hidden no longer. The family is unraveling emotionally, and day by day, life becomes more complicated and confrontational. They soon learn that when the dig around they discover things that they did not want to find.

Jones created a complex and dynamic family; their relationships, experiences, and reflections make a compelling and emotionally charged story. I received a review copy of “The Half Sister“ from Sandie Jones, Minotaur Books, and Macmillan. This is a story rich in entanglements and moral challenges that together make an engrossing book.