Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Bookworm’s Fantasy! I hope you’re all doing well. Today I’m posting my review of Jane Corry’s fantastic psychological thriller, ‘Blood Sisters’. I really didn’t expect to love this as much as I did – I actually ended up awarding this book 5 stars, so it’s going straight on my “favourites” bookshelf! Keep reading to discover my thoughts…
THREE LITTLE GIRLS SET OFF TO SCHOOL ONE SUNNY MAY MORNING.
WITHIN AN HOUR, ONE OF THEM IS DEAD.
Kitty lives in a care home. She can’t speak properly, and she has no memory of the accident that put her here. At least that’s the story she’s sticking to.
Art teacher Alison looks fine on the surface. But the surface is a lie. When a job in a prison comes up she decides to take it – this is her chance to finally make things right.
But someone is watching Kitty and Alison.
Someone who wants revenge for what happened that sunny morning in May.
And only another life will do…
** TRIGGER WARNING ** Explores the themes of physical illness/disability and mental illness. Also explores the themes of childhood death, grief and trauma. Contains references to childhood sexual abuse, including a scene of rape.
‘Blood Sisters’ (2017) is Jane Corry’s second novel, following on from ‘My Husband’s Wife’ (2016), both of which were Sunday Times bestsellers. Her latest novel, ‘The Dead Ex’, was released on 28th June 2018. Corry is a writer, journalist and creative writing teacher. After spending three years working in a high-security male prison, she began writing thrillers.
The novel has received many positive reviews, from the likes of Closer: “Fans of psychological thrillers will be hooked after the first page” and Sunday Sport: “Teased out through flashbacks and unreliable narrative, it’s a book that’ll keep you on edge”. Many fellow authors also praised the book, such as B.A. Paris: “A dark, complex and compelling thriller that kept me turning the pages until the end”, Kate Hamer: “Jane Corry weaves a morally complex, twisty tale” and Elizabeth Haynes: “A rollercoaster of dramatic twists…chilling and suspenseful”.
‘Blood Sisters’ is a twisty, chilling tale of three sisters, whose lives have all been turned upside-down after a childhood accident. Alison is attempting to move forwards with her life and forget the past. But when brain-damaged Kitty starts to remember snippets of the devastating accident that put her in a care home, it’s only a matter of time before the truth comes out…
The narrative is told in the style of diary entries, with the present day beginning in September 2016. The beginning of the novel is mostly told in the present day, but as the narrative progresses, entries from the past are also included. The novel is narrated from the first-person perspectives of Alison and Kitty. This provides the reader with a detailed, in-depth insight to the characters thoughts and feelings. This narrative structure is fairly simple and easy to follow, but still very effective.
Alison is my favourite character in the novel. As an artist, she’s hard-working and passionate, and her new job gives her the chance to share her love of art with others. But deep down, she’s deeply traumatised by her childhood and is struggling to cope on a daily basis. She’s suffering with some mental health issues, and is constantly very anxious and vulnerable. When the reader discovers the truth about her childhood, it’s clear to see that she’s actually a very brave, strong individual who has unfortunately suffered greatly. She’s a very realistic character and I felt that I could really relate to her.
Kitty is the other main character in the novel. She is brain-damaged and has no memory of the accident that put her in a care home. She is clearly very bright and also very funny, and I really appreciate Corry’s decision to include Kitty’s complex thoughts and feelings, although she cannot physically verbalise any of these. She’s sarcastic and witty, and made me laugh a lot whilst reading. But slowly, some memories of her past begin to come back to her, including all the anger and frustration about her accident. Kitty is a very unique character and she’s unlike any character I’ve ever read before.
Other characters in the novel include: Alison’s mother and stepfather, Kitty’s friends at the care home (particularly Johnny and Margaret), Alison’s students, the inmates at the prison Alison works at, Crispin (a fellow childhood classmate of the sisters), Robin (Alison’s childhood best friend) and Vanessa (Kitty’s childhood best friend). As you can see, there is a fairly large cast of characters in the novel, but all bring something fresh and exciting to the novel.
** TRIGGER WARNING ** (I apologise for any spoilers here.) The novel explores the theme of physical illness/disability in much detail. The protagonist, Kitty, is brain-damaged and unable to talk, and spends her time in a care home with other disabled people. The novel also explores the theme of mental illness, including some explicit descriptions of self-harm. The novel is centered around discovering the truth about a childhood accident, so it addresses the themes of childhood trauma, death and grief. Finally, the novel also contains references to childhood sexual abuse, including a scene of rape. All of these issues are dealt with in adequate detail and with appropriate sensitivity, but if any of these issues may be triggering for you, I suggest you skip this book.
As the present narrative progresses, the truth about the childhood accident begins to slowly come out. Kitty begins to remember more and more about her accident, and it’s only a matter of time before it all comes to light. It soon becomes clear that somebody is after Alison, and wants to make her pay for what she did. The past narrative also increases in tension and suspense, motoring forwards until the day of the fateful accident.
So, let’s talk about the ending. There’s a dramatic end scene in which the truth about the childhood accident is finally revealed. Kitty is finally able to tell her side of the story, and the truth is totally shocking. I definitely never saw that coming! The pieces of the puzzle fit together at last, and everything makes sense. I was really happy with the ending and I’m glad that the truth came out. It was lovely to see Kitty finally get an opportunity to talk, and the fact that Alison can now be free of her demons, which have been haunting her for years, is also really heart-warming.
Overall, I highly recommend this novel to those of you who enjoy psychological thrillers, particularly those of you who enjoy novels about sisters. It’s more of a slow-burner and it builds the characters gradually, eventually creating fantastically complex and three-dimensional characters. I find it so difficult to fault this book and awarded it five stars, so it’s going straight to my “favourites” shelf. A brilliant psychological thriller that I urge you all to read!
Happy reading 🙂