Book Review: The Second Sister by Claire Kendal

Ten years ago Ella’s sister Miranda kissed her baby boy goodbye but never returned to collect him. New evidence has been reported in the papers suggesting that Miranda could be linked to Jason Thorne, currently in prison for murdering three women.

Ella is now thirty, and Miranda’s son, Luke is ten. With the news about Thorne playing on her mind and Luke starting to ask questions, Ella once again begins to search for answers.

I didn’t really know what to make of The Second Sister. I got nearly half way through but still felt that nothing had really happened. Despite this, something did compel me to keep reading.

Kendal has given the story a slow burn. Rather than shoving all sorts of shocks and action at the reader she’s used her words to draw you in, so even though there is a lack of action you want to carry on. Having said that I think Kendal drew it out too long. As I mentioned before by the middle of the book I still didn’t feel a lot had happened. Far more of the action takes place towards the end, and I did feel very much like I was swimming against the tide getting through this middle section. For me, Kendal needed to pick up the pace a little bit earlier than she did.

As a character, Ella somewhat annoyed me. We see the story from Ella’s point of view, and throughout her narrative she refers to her sister almost as if she’s talking to her. This technique is very telling about Ella’s state of mind and how she has dealt with the trauma of losing her sister, but I found the constant stream of ‘you would’ve said this’ and ‘you would’ve said that’ quite annoying. I was glad as I progressed through the book that this element was toned down substantially.

The Second Sister isn’t going to be a book you pick up and not want to put down. It’s a book that requires your attention, but it isn’t going to grip you. If you’re looking for a way to pass the time and fancy engaging your brain in a little detective work, it’s a good pick. However if you like your novels fast-paced it may not be the right choice for you.



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