The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
This book follows the life of Riley MacPherson as she goes through her father’s things when he passes away. Her mother had already passed away years earlier and so she travels back to her hometown to go through his things and to settle his affairs. Her brother Danny lives there, but wants nothing to do with any of it leaving Riley to clean up the mess all herself. As Riley begins to go through his things, she begins to uncover things about her past she hadn’t known yet, such as the secrets and lies revolving around her sister, Lisa’s, suicide. Before Riley came to town she thought she knew who she was, but she realizes soon after arriving that her life was not what she thought it was and she struggles to find out who she can really trust. As she uncovers the truth a little at a time, she comes to further realizations about herself and the people she believed.
Who’s Who: The Lovable and the Unlovable
The main character. She goes through the process of dealing with her dad’s state of affairs and uncovers more truths (and lies) about him, as well as herself, as she goes along. She does come to a certain “coming of age” and realization throughout the story and grows as a character.
Riley’s brother. He is disturbed, injured, and has huge trust issues, especially when it comes to his parents. This leads to his non-caring attitude in reference to what happens to everything that their dad left behind.
Riley’s sister that committed suicide.
Family friend. Helps Riley to go through her father’s things as well as deal with new information as it comes up.
They Did What? (Some Spoilers)
Riley travels back home upon the death of her father to help settle his affairs and get his estate sold as well as his will taken care of. Throughout it all, Riley comes to learn of new information about her sister, who she believed to be dead. While going through papers, she finds out that her sister murdered a man and then following that and before an upcoming trial, she committed suicide. After this introduction to Riley, we switch to Lisa’s viewpoint, where we learn that their father gave Lisa an out. A way to make it look like suicide and then instead run away with a new identity, under the name of Ann Johnson. The name so common that she could blend in, with the condition that she only contact him under extreme emergencies, but she would be on her own. She would leave and never be able to return or have contact with her family again. She was a music prodigy and part of the deal was to never play another instrument again. She had to leave her precious violin behind. Lisa decided to go with the nickname of Jade and began to make a new life for her. The following chapters in the book jump between how Jade began her new life years ago starting from when Riley was only 2 years old to the present day where Riley is in her mid-20s and settling affairs. Riley hears from tenants in her father’s trailer park that she was adopted, but she doesn’t believe it and everyone else tells her that is a lie. As the reader is brought back and forth between the two lives it shows how Jade got her start and found a new home, a new way to love music, as well as a new love of her life. The day that the inspector comes to Jade’s job at the music store, she goes to hide and her boss and frequent customer cover for her. She leaves that night, but not without going to say goodbye first. After that we are back to only Riley and her story. We watch her as she learns about her adoption and getting hassled for information about Lisa’s (as Riley knows her) whereabouts. Riley goes through bouts of emotional turmoil, exasperated by Danny who wants to see Lisa pay for the murder she committed. When Riley finally finds out who Lisa now really is, she goes on a search and eventually finds her, but that meeting ends in disaster for more reasons than one. Ultimately Riley lands in the hospital, upset about new information she learned from Jade’s wife and driving in the dark, she gets into a wreck, which brings together Danny, Jade, and Riley together all under the same roof. Danny, by the end, promises not to turn Jade in for her crimes, but can’t promise that she won’t be caught eventually. The true relationships come out as well and Riley’s world changes from a family she thinks is all gone, to a new family and new relationships to grow and build.
They Said What?
There are some topics, such as adoption, murder, and rape that are addressed and discussed in here that are not suited for some readers. This book deals with death in multiple instances and in different ways to show how various people are dealing with it.
Great story and once you start reading, it is a fast read and was really hard to put down. I would be reading this while talking to friends or working, sneaking in pages where ever I could.
Writer’s Heads Up!
Great book to show how to switch between viewpoints without getting confused about who is talking and what is going on.
Great read and really quick too. Highly recommend!