TWO SISTERS. ONE FIRE.A
SECRET THAT WON’T BURN OUT.
The Grayson sisters are trouble. Everyone in their small town knows it. But no-one can know of the secret that binds them together. Hattie is the light. Penny is the darkness. Together, they have balance.
But one night the balance is toppled. A match is struck. A fire is started. A cruel husband is killed. The potential for a new life flickers in the fire’s embers, but resentment, guilt, and jealousy suffocate like smoke.
Their lives have been engulfed in flames – will they ever be able to put them out?
Sister of Mine is published on the 20th June 2019 by No Exit Press. Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of the book for this review.
Sister of Mine is an absolutely stunning read, beautifully written and highly addictive to burn through (see what I did there!) to find out more about the sisters and their lives. Combined with Petrou’s wonderfully writing style and, for me, it was a relatively short read at 250 pages I just flew through it!
Sister of Mine centres around Penny and Hattie, Penny is the older of the two and is our narrator, and what a wonderfully unreliable narrator she is! When the girls were younger their father walked out on their family which meant it was the girls with their mother for a long time, until their mother tragically dies. Right from the start, Laurie Petrou lets her reader into the secret that binds Penny and Hattie together, Sister of Mine then effortlessly moves forwards and backwards between various time periods to tell their story. Interestingly, the reader is never told the timeframe but it’s clear enough from the experiences of the girls as to roughly how old they are. I felt that this was a brilliant touch as it added to the suspense and intrigue as to the direction of the book.
When the sisters first lost their mum, they lived in the family home however Penny meets Buddy and moves into his house which is only a few minutes away from Hattie. It is clear from the outset that this was not a happy marriage, one in which Penny was regularly abused. Following Buddy’s death, the sisters are living together again in the family home, Penny meets a kind stranger and brings him home for dinner one evening. Penny can see that there is an attraction between Hattie and Jameson so Penny selflessly steps aside to give her sister a chance at romance and happiness.
The sisters have a complex relationship, at times as thick as thieves but at other times there is a distance between them. Petrou has created two wonderful characters in Penny and Hattie, they are two incredibly complex women whose individual personalities are intrinsically linked to the other through their childhood experiences and their secret. For me, that is what this book is, a fascinating exploration into the bonds of sisters.
I thoroughly enjoyed Sister of Mine and look forward to reading more from Laurie Petrou.
Laurie Petrou has a PhD in Communication and Culture, and is an Associate Professor at Ryerson’s RTA School of Media in Toronto, where she is also the Director of the Masters of Media Production program. She has given several TEDx talks on subjects including gender and rejection. Laurie was the inaugural winner of the Half the World Global Literati Award in 2016, a prize that honours unpublished work featuring female protagonists, for her novel Sister of Mine. She now lives in a small town in Ontario wine country with her husband, a wine maker, and their two sons.