Thursday, April 28, 2016
Sister Dear by Laura McNeill
This is one of those books that leaves me wondering how I truly feel about it.
I didn't love it.
I didn't hate it.
It wasn't particularly good.
But it wasn't particularly bad either.
McNeil tells the story of Allie, who has just been released on parole from prison after a decade. She was convicted of a murder she swears she didn't do. Her hometown believes her to have murdered their beloved football coach, who led the team to victory, but may also have been giving his players dangerous steroids. Allie wrote an expose on him, but no one believed her accusations about that either.
There are subplots surrounding the main mystery. Allie has a daughter, Caroline, who has been raised by Allie's sister, Emma. Caroline barely knows Allie, and doesn't think she wants to know her. Searching for purpose, a teenage Caroline volunteers at a nursing home, where she meets fellow volunteer Russell. The sheriff, who hates Allie, has a wife in the nursing home due to her being in a devastating car accident that left her with severe brain damage.
The book is Allie trying to prove her innocence, persevere, and reconnect with her daughter (and possibly her former love). The mystery is certainly intriguing. Who doesn't love a small town full of secrets? But the solution, at least in my opinion, gets telegraphed too early and too blatantly. The ending is supposed to be a complete shock, but I'd seen it coming for a long time. Too much insight is given into a secondary character's mind and motivations, and this gives the game away, and frankly makes the character very unlikeable from almost the start of the story.
This is a book with potential that devolves too frequently into cliches and obvious answers. If you read it, don't go in expecting the next Dark Places.