By Kelly Bridgewater
All Allie Marshall wants is a fresh start. But when dark secrets refuse to stay buried, will her chance at a new life be shattered forever?
Convicted of a crime she didn’t commit, Allie watched a decade of her life vanish – time that can never be recovered. Now, out on parole, Allie is determined to clear her name, rebuild her life, and reconnect with the daughter she barely knows.
But Allie’s return home shatters the quaint, coastal community of Brunswick, Georgia. Even her own daughter Caroline, now a teenager, bristles at Allie’s claims of innocence. Refusing defeat, a stronger, smarter Allie launches a battle for the truth, digging deeply into the past even if it threatens her parole status, personal safety, and the already-fragile bond with family.
As her commitment to finding the truth intensifies, what Allie ultimately uncovers is far worse than she imagined. Her own sister has been hiding a dark secret—one that holds the key to Allie’s freedom.
When I read and reviewed Center of Gravity by Laura McNeil, I really didn't know what to expect. The synopsis seemed interesting and unique, so I took a gamble and read the book by the debut author. Boy, am I glad that I did. The plot was interesting and filled with some many twists and turns that I didn't see coming. It made me mad. It made me happy. So when I found out McNeil was writing another book, I knew I wanted this copy.
Like Center of Gravity, Sister Dear has a unique idea that I haven't seen before in contemporary fiction with a hint of mystery. The plotline features two sisters Emma and Allie. Allie is the perfect sister who was headed to medical school, but then got arrested for murder and wasted ten years of her life in jail. While on the other hand, Emma, her sister, worked really hard at school and still never got the praise or recognition like her sister. This is something that I believe every pair of siblings can relate to. I have a little sister, but I was the one that sailed through school in all the honor classes without really struggling, while she took normal classes and struggled.
The story gripped me from the first chapter. Being inside Allie and Emma's head, I truly understand their struggles. Allie, wanting to come back to life and right the wrong that was done to her ten years ago. Emma, who wanted to keep Carolina, her niece and prove her self-worth. The chapters do jump around in time for the majority of the book from present day all the way back to 1999, but McNeil labeled the chapters when she time jumped, so I never got confused that I was reading something that happened in the past or when we jumped back into the present time period. I'm amazed that McNeil could write a story with that much back-story and still tie the plot up with a nice ending. I admire her for her writing skills. I would love to have her explain how she did this. Did she write the past chapters and figure out how to include the present chapters around the incidents in the past? Or something else?
In conclusion, Laura McNeil's second novel, Sister Dear is a thrilling tale of not harboring anger toward anyone. Even though I had a pretty good idea who did the actual murder, McNeil kept dangling me above the motivation until she finally explained it to me.
I highly recommend this book to everyone. I LOVED it!!!
I received a complimentary copy of Sister Dear from Thomas Nelson and the opinions stated are all my own.
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
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