Rachel has spent fifteen years in a mental hospital suffering from complicated grief disorder because she thinks she killed her father and mother, even though the police ruled her parents’ deaths were a murder‑suicide perpetrated by her father. Trevor, a budding journalist, wants to interview her about her past. She decides that she has been serving a self‑imposed life sentence for a crime she did not commit, and desperately wants to know everything. The answers she needs are buried in her past, so she checks herself out of the hospital, and her adventure of discovery begins.
The story unfolds in Rachel’s first person “now” narrative, alternating with “then” chapters in a first person narrative by Jenny. Dionne structured the narratives so readers gradually discern the connection of the narrators, and a troubling picture emerges. Relationships are complicated, complex, and difficult to interpret. The children are exceptionally bright, very manipulative, and difficult to interpret. Neither past nor present events are as they seem. And then there is the rifle, the Remington, the most‑loved hunting rifle in America, bought for Rachel.
The title “The Wicked Sister” implies that the sister is, in fact, wicked, but there are several sisters in this drama, and wickedness can be skillfully hidden. I received a review copy of “The Wicked Sister” from Karen Dionne, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, and Penguin Publishing Group. Readers are kept guessing right up to the twisted, yet satisfying, ending.