One lied. One died.
When one sister dies, the other must go to desperate lengths to survive. Haunted by her twin sister’s death, Abi is making a fresh start in Bath. But when she meets twins Bea and Ben, she is quickly drawn into their privileged and unsettling circle.
When one sister lies, she must protect her secret at all costs. As Abi tries to keep up with the demands of her fickle friends, strange things start to happen – precious letters go missing and threatening messages are left in her room. Is this the work of the beautiful and capricious Bea? Or is Abi willing to go to any lengths to get attention? When the truth outs, will either sister survive?
The Sisters revolves around the character of Abi, who lost her twin sister Lucy in a tragic accident which she feels she could have prevented. Abi feels completely lost, until she meets Beatrice, a free spirited artist, with the added bonus of resembling Lucy. Grieving Abi is enchanted by Beatrice and her twin brother Ben, and once asked to move in; she sees the twins and the house as the perfect fresh start. Abi has craved company since the loss of her sister, and the regular parties, meals, and borrowing of Bea’s clothes provides the inclusivity she needs. However as Abi is drawn further into Beatrice and Ben’s world, cracks begin to emerge in the relationships, dark secrets are bubbling just under the surface, and sanity is slipping away.
The novel jumps between the narratives of protagonists Abi and Beatrice, both of which are unreliable narrators. I really liked this aspect of The Sisters as it left me questioning almost everything, particularly the sanity of the characters. I found myself trusting one character and then flitting to the other, but as always with one of Douglas’ novels, I was suspicious of everyone. This narrative works perfectly for the genre of this novel, Douglas builds up suspense and tension perfectly, and making you question everything you believe about these characters and what menacing events are to come.
I have to say I was fascinated by all of the characters, particularly the relationship between Beatrice and Ben. The twins are inseparable, possessive of each other and share a bond like no other, which makes for some uncomfortable reading. However, all of the characters in The Sisters are heavily flawed in their own way, but much like Abi with Beatrice, I was captivated by them all and their personalities, despite not all of them being particularly likeable.
My favourite character was Abi, who I felt was the only person I could trust and who I sympathised with throughout. The constant battle between her and Bea made for a gripping read, as both were out to make the other appear insane, yet at times appeared as though they needed each other. As with Local Girl Missing, Douglas’ evocative writing style left me yearning for the truth, not only about whom is behind all the strange happenings in the house, but about the characters themselves.
The plot works superbly for a psychological thriller as it is filled with clever twists, the eerie setting of the townhouse, and suspicious characters whose lives are dominated by lies and deceit. I could not predict what was going to happen from chapter to chapter, and was surprised by every twist thrown my way, which was a massive plus.
Overall, I would highly recommend The Sisters, if not for its fascinating characters alone, it certainly fits the bill. I finished the novel a couple of days ago and find still myself thinking about it now. The ending was rather abrupt; it left me wanting more and if I’m being completely honest, frantically googling for other theories on it. I hope it was written this way to set up a sequel in the future, if not it lets the reader conjure up their own idea of what happened next. I strongly suggest freeing up some days for this book as it won’t be leaving your hands. Douglas you have done it again, another fantastic read.