It’s a real pleasure to again be joining Bookouture‘s Books-on-tour today, this time to share my review of We Were Sisters by Wendy Clarke: published on 8th August, available via Amazon for kindle and in paperback, and also on Apple Books, Kobo and Googleplay. My thanks to the publishers for my advance reading e-copy, provided through netgalley.
I really enjoyed Wendy’s first thriller, What She Saw (you’ll find my review here) – and if you take a quick look at Amazon, you’ll see many other people who enjoyed it every bit as much. So this time, Bookouture didn’t need to twist my arm at all – I was one of the first in the queue…
I turn to where I left my baby in his pushchair and pull up short. With a racing heart, I look around wildly, fear gripping my stomach. I only looked away for a moment. The pushchair and my baby are gone.
Kelly is taking her twin daughters to their first day of school, ushering them into the classroom, her heart breaking to think they might not need her any more, when she turns around and sees that her newborn baby is gone.
As a desperate search ensues, baby Noah is quickly found – parked in front of a different classroom. But when Kelly reaches forward to comfort him, she finds something tucked beside his blanket. A locket that belonged to her sister Freya. A locket Kelly hasn’t seen since the day Freya died.
And then Kelly’s perfectly-ordered life begins to unravel…
We Were Sisters is a heart-pounding suspense thriller that will grip you until the very last page. Fans of Behind Closed Doors, Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train won’t be able to stop reading this incredible book.
When I read Wendy Clarke’s first thriller, I was intrigued to see how her short story skills would translate to a new genre – the answer, of course, was quite superbly. And if that book proved to be compelling, original and so well-written… well, I think she might have done it again.
I am going to admit though that I perhaps didn’t love this book quite as much as her first, but that had more to do with me than the book itself. I often have difficulty with engagement when parts of a story are told from a child’s perspective – although I really must say that the way it’s done here was entirely convincing and heartbreakingly real. The story is told by alternating between the past and present, rather showing how damage inflicted in childhood results in damaged adults: Kelly’s anxiety and paranoia, the OCD counting to secure outcomes, all stemming from her personal history and far more than the pressures of motherhood or the result of disturbed nights, was exceptionally well done.
The story’s very different, with unexpected twists and turns that wrong foot you repeatedly – the source of the threat in the present day is intriguing and keeps you on the edge of your seat, although the pacing isn’t fast, and the dramatic climax and its outcome comes as a real surprise. I liked the setting too – the author’s excellent at creating atmospheric scenes, and the tree and abandoned firing range are pivotal in a few of them, and easy to visualise. The author’s emotional touch is good too – in particular my sympathies were often with the young Kelly and the absence of love from her parents, feeling the hurt and injustice from their actions, as the foster child – her long awaited and longed for sister – received everything and threw it back at them.
This book perhaps wasn’t quite what I’d expected it to be – but I did very much enjoy it, and will look forward to seeing what Wendy Clarke does next.
About the author
Wendy Clarke started her career writing short fiction and serials for national women’s magazines. After having over three hundred short stories published, she progressed to writing novels. With a degree in psychology, and intrigued with how the human mind can affect behaviour, it was inevitable that she would eventually want to explore her darker side.
What She Saw is her debut psychological thriller, published by Bookouture, with a second coming out in August 2019.
In her previous life, Wendy has published three collections of short stories and has been a short story judge for the Chiltern Writers Group, Nottingham Writers Group and The Society of Women Writers and journalists.
Wendy lives with her husband, cat and step-dog in Sussex and when not writing is usually dancing, singing or watching any programme that involves food.