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.
One of the joys of reviewing for various publishers is coming across unfamiliar authors. Sister Dear is Laura McNeill’s sophomore novel and the first of her books for me. I opted to read it because not only did the plot sound interesting, I also have a passing familiarity with the Georgia coast. On our trips to northern Florida my husband and I often choose to exit I-95 at Savannah and instead follow U.S. 17 south through Brunswick. We’ve also visited another of the book’s locations, St. Simons Island, on more than one occasion.
As the story progresses the reader is presented with a variety of perspectives. Allie’s release has had an impact on all the main characters. Some are willing to give her a chance while others want her gone from the community. Some go out of their way to make life difficult for her while others are merely duplicitous in their behavior towards her. Her daughter, never a fully accepted member of her school’s in-crowd, finds herself friendless and increasingly reliant on the woman who’s raised her for the past ten years. That woman would be Allie’s sister, Emma.
The plot is easy to follow despite these various viewpoints. Secrets are slowly exposed to the reader, with flashbacks leading up to the night of Allie’s arrest. But, just when I thought the truth was totally revealed, there was one last surprise that I hadn’t foreseen. Overall, Sister Dear is a tight suspense exploring family secrets, tension, and forgiveness, and one I enjoyed reading.
Thank you to Thomas Nelson and Litfuse Publicity for my complimentary Advance Reader’s Copy of Sister Dear, which I received in exchange for my honest review.
This review is part of a Litfuse Publicity blog tour
Have you read Sister Dear? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (a division of HarperCollins Christian)
Publication Date: 19 April 2016
Page Count: 400