The Good Sister,
by Sally Hepworth
Publication: St, Martin’s Press; April 13, 2021
About: There’s only been one time that Rose couldn’t stop me from doing the wrong thing and that was a mistake that will haunt me for the rest of my life.
Fern Castle works in her local library. She has dinner with her twin sister Rose three nights a week. And she avoids crowds, bright lights, and loud noises as much as possible. Fern has a carefully structured life and disrupting her routine can be…dangerous.
When Rose discovers that she cannot get pregnant, Fern sees her chance to pay her sister back for everything Rose has done for her. Fern can have a baby for Rose. She just needs to find a father. Simple.
Fern’s mission will shake the foundations of the life she has carefully built for herself and stir up dark secrets from the past, in this quirky, rich, and shocking story of what families keep hidden.
The Good Sister is the latest by Sally Hepworth and has been on my TBR for a while. I finally decided to dig into it yesterday and finished it in just a few hours, so a quick read. This is about twin sisters Rose and Fern. Fern appears to be somewhere on the spectrum, possibly Asperger’s, because she is hypersensitive to lights, sounds, crowds, and some smells, as well as, she has a very straightforward personality completely void of sarcasm. She works in a library, avoids social situations, but truly enjoys helping others find a new book to read. Rose appears to be put together and the caretaker in the relationship. Her husband has seemingly left her and moved to another country and all Rose wants is to have a baby. Rose is seeing a therapist who suggests that she write in a journal to help work on her past/childhood traumas, so her POV is through the journal.
Very early on the author plants the seed that Fern has some serious issues and has committed a horrible crime when they were younger. Rose is painted as the “good sister” that always took the blame for any wrongdoings and has always protected Fern. But it didn’t take me too long to wonder if that was really the case. Things about Rose seemed sort of off from time to time, and I found it odd that her childhood memories were completely different than Fern’s. Granted, my brother and I discover discrepancies in our memories all the time, but not to this point.
When Fern realizes that Rose and her husband Owen want a baby (husband that has moved from Australia to London seemingly for his job). Fern begins researching various ways to provide Rose a baby and decides that she will get pregnant and give her the baby when it’s born. But then she meets Wally, whom she truly develops affection for, and sort of forgets all about her plan. As Fern and Wally get closer and Fern keeps traveling a bit outside of her comfort zone, Rose transitions from protective sister to crazy controlling, eventually changing everything between them and completely shattering what Fern thought was real.
Fern and Wally were both absolutely amazing characters and they completely made this book for me. I love characters that are quirky and unique, which perfectly describes both of them. I completely disliked Rose from the beginning, although I think I was supposed to like her. But something about her just rubbed me the wrong way. When I picked this book up, I was expecting a thriller of sorts, which it is not. I was a bit disappointed because I was in the mood for something suspenseful, but luckily there a few surprises scattered in the ending. I kind of wish all of the revelations at the end would have been explained more as far as why they happened, but overall, this was an entertaining read with a satisfying ending. I will certainly read more from this author in the future!
*Thanks to NetGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review!