Three little girls set off to school one sunny May morning.
Within an hour, one of them is dead.
Fifteen years later, Alison and Kitty are living separate lives. Kitty lives in a care home. She can’t speak, and she has no memory of the accident that put her here, or her life before it.
Art teacher Alison looks fine on the surface. But the surface is a lie. When a job in a prison comes up she decides to take it – this is her chance to finally make things right.
But someone is watching Kitty and Alison.
Someone who wants revenge for what happened that day.
And only another life will do…
Published June 29th 2017 by Penguin Viking (UK)
Having only a brother, I always wished for a sister. I imagined close friendship, a constant companion …someone who will always be there for you no matter what. Yet I remember my best friend’s relationship with her sister was awful! They lived in the same house, were only a year apart in age and managed to not even speak to one another for years throughout their teens. That definitely put me off! If it hadn’t, then Blood Sisters by Jane Corry might well have done the trick.
Alison Baker is a withdrawn, introverted thirty something, working as an art teacher for adults. When she see’s a job advertised for an open prison art teacher, she takes on the challenge – determined to do some good. Meanwhile, Kitty lives in a care home – she can’t walk, talk or do anything for herself. Yet inside, she has a lot she still wants to say and she becomes increasingly frustrated at being unable to express herself.
Well, I absolutely tore through this book. Jane Corry is masterful at weaving a story where the words are less read, more gulped up by the reader, meaning that it felt I was covering tens of pages in less than a blink of the eye. From the very beginning, the atmosphere of ‘all not being quite as it seems’ is very clear, yet there’s character twists aplenty to keep the reader constantly surprised and intrigued.
The book is told in alternating chapters from Alison and Kitty, with flashbacks here and there detailing the lead up to terrible accident fifteen years ago, which has lead to the sister’s current situation. Alison is interesting, she’s a bit of enigma and seems, at first glance, pretty grounded. But then there’s hints to her fragility and a feeling that she isn’t quite as true as she may seem. At times, she’s almost a contradiction – is she the victim or the perpetrator? How reliable is she and what exactly are her reasons for doing what she does? For example, everything about her screamed that this wasn’t a woman who would chose to work in a prison. Yet there she is…
Kitty is a fascinating character and had me intrigued . Just how much did she understand about her past and her current situation? Was she genuinely frustrated and acting out as a result from her brain injury, or was there something more sinister at play? I couldn’t fathom her, and this kept me gripped, rushing through the pages and desperate to know what the truth really was. As an aside, I have to say that I thought Jane Corry depicted life in a care home and the good and bad practice by carers here very well (giving me the rage as Kitty screamed in her head about being called “she”, having people talk over her and for her constantly, and at the lack of dignity afforded her. As someone who works with people with severe communication difficulties this is a huge bugbear for me and I thought the author got that just right)
Blood Sisters tells a tangled web of lies, deceit and envy, and unraveling it was a compelling, thrilling ride. The horrifying thing is, Blood Sisters takes the complexities, resentments and secrets that could be brewing in any family and shows just how easily they can spiral out of control and one moment can change lives for ever. It explores the fine line between love and hate and the old phrase “blood is thicker than water” is particularly apt. Ultimately though, this is a story about facing up to your past, no matter how traumatic, to be able to move on. I really enjoyed this book, and can’t wait to see what Jane Corry comes up with next.
(I read an advanced proof courtesy of the publisher)