Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sister Dear by Laura McNeill



Dark family secrets threaten to ruin Allie’s chance at freedom and claims of innocence. Don’t miss the new book from Laura McNeill, Sister Dear. 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
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.
My opinion:
This tale is of sibling rivalry and jealously gone awry.  Never have I read a story where trust and dependence is so misplaced.  Allie wants to start life again after her early parole and hopes to regain a place in her daughter's and her parent's hearts.  It seems that only her sister has stayed solidly by her side for the past ten years, and she is sure that no one will totally accept her again unless she can prove her innocence in the death of the town's beloved football coach.  McNeill keeps readers deep in the emotions of this story by alternating who the story is focusing on.  Although the whole story is told from a third person, omniscient narrator, each chapter centers on only one character's thoughts and actions.  We see Allie as she struggles to find a job, start anew, and then attempt to find out how the coach really died.  Next, we have Caroline, Allie's teenage daughter whose daily struggle to be accepted after the whole town finds out her mother, a convicted killer, has returned.  Caroline lives with Allie's younger sister Emma who has handled the burden of raising the young girl for the past ten years and seems to be the rock that Allie can depend on.  Last, there is the town's sheriff who seems to have a deep-seated hatred of Allie that goes beyond his law enforcement duties. At times the book flashes back to 2006 and the months leading up to the coach's death.  McNeill has coordinated all these crucial elements of plot and characterization very well.  As other reviewers have shared, finding the truth in this mystery does not mean having a happy ending.  As in real life, deceit and jealousy are destructive emotions, as is the desire to win at any cost.  McNeill has made that clear in this captivating tale.  I received a copy of this book from Litfuse for my honest review.  I definitely give it a thumbs up for those readers who like suspense and family drama.  I have never read McNeill before, but plan to get a copy of her first novel CENTER OF GRAVITY, as she is a talented writer. 
  


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