The Winter Sister

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 05 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley and Touchstone - Atria Books for a copy of The Winter Sister by Megan Collins.  When she was 14, Sylvie's sister Persephone was murdered and no one was arrested for it.  Her mother, Annie, retreated into a life of drinking and drugs and Sylvie didn't have much contact with her after that.  Fast forward 16 years and Sylvie's mother is dying of cancer.  Sylvie's Aunt Jill (Annie's sister) has been taking care of Annie, but cannot anymore because her own daughter is having a baby.  Sylvie reluctantly returns home to take care of her mother and decides to try to find out what happened to Persephone.  There are lots of family secrets uncovered and lots of twists through out.  It took me a while to get into this book because for some reason the name Persephone bugged me, but once I got past that, I read this in almost one sitting.  A great, twisty thriller read.
Was this review helpful?
THE WINTER SISTER
BY MEGAN COLLINS

I read this over a year ago when it was in my email and offered to me by the publisher who I owe a tremendous amount of gratitude.

This is a truly addictive read that I read in one sitting as it was so hard to put down.  I don't understand why I never wrote my review or maybe I did and it got lost.  Sylvie and Persephone were really close sisters.  One night Persephone sneaks out of their bedroom window and never returns.  After a few days of being missing Sylvie suspects Ben, Persephone's boyfriend because she saw Persephone start walking away towards Ben's car.  

Sylvie moves away and returns home to care for her ailing mother and when she brings her mom for cancer treatments she is repulsed at the idea that Ben works at the cancer center.  

Sylvie Carrie's around her own secrets and guilt just as her mother Annie does and after Persephone's death Sylvie can't understand why Persephone's murder has never been solved.
One thing was certain though, because Sylvie's mother Carrie's around her own guilt for preventing Persephone for dating Ben, Sylvie and her mother's relationship was never the same because Annie is depressed and becomes a alcoholic forcing Sylvie to escape and go and live with her cousin and her Aunt.

When Sylvie can't get the police to arrest Ben who she saw Ben's car drive off with Persephone' getting into the car she wonders if her sister's murder will ever be solved.  Sylvie feels she owes it to her sister to solve her murder even after so many years have gone by.
Sylvie holds her own secrets and sometimes secrets are better left buried in the past because heartache can not be avoided when unravelling this one.

Told in beautifully descriptive prose the landscape and frozen winter wonderland is expressed in imagery that is breathtaking.  I remember loving reading this at the time because it wasn't so cold as it is now when I read this.  This story was fascinating and the pacing was slow but it felt perfect to me as I wanted to savor this but nonetheless devoured it.  The ending of this fabulous debut shockingly blew my mind.  It is more of a mystery than a thriller.  I will be very interested to see what this gifted author writes next.

Thank you to Net Galley and Megan Collins and Touchstone for providing me with an email to read this very beautifully written story about sisterly love and the themes of guilt and how pervasive it can be.
Was this review helpful?
This book has been on my Netgalley shelf for quite some time and I've only just got round to reading it. Just pages in, I was so disappointed that I hadn't read it sooner because WOW. This book was incredibly hard to put down; a book that makes me glad if my train is delayed, makes the wait for lunchtime almost agonising, because all I want to do is get back to the book, stealing every moment possible until it's finished.

The Winter Sister is certainly one of those books. Mysterious, heartbreaking, and so, so beautifully written, Megan Collins' words kept me hooked until the bittersweet end.

Sylvie's world is shattered when her older sister Persephone goes missing. Her body is found days later in the snow, and her killer is never found. Now an adult, Sylvie has to return to her hometown to look after her mother, who is dying of cancer. Persephone's murder drove her mother to alcoholism, leaving Sylvie to be looked after by her aunt. But now she's about to face the past one more time.

As her return to her old house, her old neighbourhood, stirs guilt at the memories of her sister, others in the town haven't forgotten, either. When she meets the one person she never wanted to see again, clues begin to unfurl and Sylvie is on track to finally finding out what happened to Persephone.

This novel may appear to be a thriller, but it's more of a dark mystery/whodunnit. There are no shocking reveals, no jaw-dropping twists. In fact, the story itself is quite predictable and familiar if, like me, you read a lot of thrillers. But often, the promises of huge unexpected twists fall flat, and it's refreshing to read something that is more of a mystery, without being too focused on the reveal. This is another reason why I loved The Winter Sister; it's tense, it's gripping, but its not shocking, and that's perfectly fine.

What sets this apart from many other books is the absolutely beautiful writing. Megan Collins is such a talented writer. Every chapter is so well-crafted, the pacing is so good. I think this is going to be one of my all-time favourite novels.
Was this review helpful?
Not only a mystery/suspense novel but an exploration of all the uncomfortable ties in a dysfunctional family.  This one will lure in all readers and will sit with them long after they turn the final page.
Was this review helpful?
Did not manage to download this book on time. I am very sorry that I did not manage. Thanks for the opportunity.
Was this review helpful?
As a whole this story seemed like stories I have read before, however, the writing style was very good. I enjoyed the narrative and was eventually really drawn in to this because of the writing.

It was hard for me to get into, I almost put it down but it does pick up, so I do suggest staying with it if you feel like giving up. I enjoyed the way to author tackled some difficult topics including difficult relationships, obsession and abuse.

Overall a pretty good debut!
Was this review helpful?
A nicely written story, part psychological thriller, part family drama. The writing was atmospheric, dark, intensely emotional offering a raw, unflinching look at family dysfunction and physical abuse. Although emotionally broken, I found the characters to be likeable and relatable, even though occasionally their actions or words stirred in me negative emotions. At times a difficult read and not for everyone.

A strong, impressive debut by Megan Collins. I look forward to reading more from this author.

Thank you to NetGalley and Atria Books for providing a digital copy in return for an honest, unbiased review.
Was this review helpful?
I would give this book 3.75 out of 5 stars.

This was an enjoyable page-turning thriller.

I love a story with complex family relationships and Sylvie's relationship with her mother delivered this in spades. I did find the mystery very predictable but it was a quick page-turner of a read that I enjoyed working my way through.

If you're looking for a fun, return-to-home-town mystery, this is the book for you.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you @atriabooks for the free netgalley copy of The Winter Sister, available now. I loved it so much that I decided to get a finished copy from @bookofthemonth.

In my opinion, the usual makings of a great thriller include multiple narrators, unreliable narrators, and multiple times lines. This book didn’t have any of those things and I was still hooked from the beginning.

The biggest mystery that kept me turning pages was Persephone’s bruises. I came up with all kinds of theories about what they could have meant, none of them right. Collins includes two very taboo topics and one was enough to make my skin crawl.

I think The Winter Sister is perfect for fans of Emma in the Night. It’s a compulsive read with no shortage of secrets, twists and lies.
Was this review helpful?
I'm a sucker for a story about sisters (probably because I have one), especially if it's a thriller (think Emma in the Night. While this one was enjoyable, it didn't suck me in like I expect from a compulsive thriller. The plot was a bit predictable, but it was a quick read with great characters.
Was this review helpful?
This was a solidly 3 star book for me. Not bad, but a few weeks after finishing I'm struggling to recall enough details to write a substantial review.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed this but I did find it to be a bit predictable. (But hey- so many psychological thrillers are at this point...) The writing was great. It was so atmospheric and I'm very impressed that this was written by a debut author. The setting would make for a perfect spooky Fall read. There are complicated family relationships- with nearly everyone being unlikable, but I still cared enough to go through and find out what happened to them. The ending was satisfying and I will definitely be checking out this author again.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this book. It was a well told story and kept me guessing for quite some time. Great character development! Such a great story full of twists. Definitely a must read.
Was this review helpful?
This was a great old fashioned "who-dunnit". There is a murder that remains unsolved for 16 years until Sylvie returns home and stirs everything up. There are multiple suspects and the story flows naturally over each character and all the evidence. 
The reason I only gave it four stars is there were a few relationships that bothered me throughout the book. The Ben thing got a little incesty to me, just left me with a general feeling of ick. Also Sylvie's best friend is kind of a jerk. Their phone conversations really annoyed me; maybe I am the odd one, but I don't talk to my friends that way.
Was this review helpful?
One of my new favorite books! This author has such a way with words the pages flew by in no time! I can’t wait to see the next work by this author! This was such a joy to read!
Was this review helpful?
This book started out well but then I got lost in the middle of it. I set it down to come back to and just couldn't finish it because I just didn't care to. I didn't feel a connection to the book. It just wasn't my cup of tea.
Was this review helpful?
This book has been in my TBR pile for a few months now and so glad I chose to finally read it. The Winter Sister is the haunting debut novel by Megan Collins. It’s a story of two sisters, Persephone and Sylvie. Persephone was murdered when she was eighteen years old. After the murder, Sylvie’s mother shut down mentally and wasn’t able to care for her only remaining child. Persephone’s murder was never solved and her sister is now grown up. 

Sylvie’s mother now has cancer and Sylvie comes back to town to care for her even though their relationship had fallen apart all those years ago. This is a book of secrets…everyone has them. Sylvie tries to unravel all the threads to this twisting and turning mystery. This is a book of relationships…relationships between teenage sisters, relationships between mother and daughter. 

I really enjoyed this beautifully written debut novel. I was hooked from page one and my interest was held throughout. My favorite character was Sylvie. Her pain and guilt throughout the book was heart-wrenching. The author did a wonderful job portraying all that. The mother in the story was pitiful and I had mixed feelings about her. On one hand I felt sorry for her but at other times she made me angry for being so weak. The author did a fantastic job defining the complex family relationships. The characters were not only complex but also damaged by their traumatic experience. The tension and suspense builds up to the shocking conclusion. 

Overall I was impressed with this dark, haunting debut. I would definitely read more by this author. Thanks so much to Megan Collins, Isabel DaSilva and Atria Books for sending me a copy to review. I’m giving this one 4 stars and I highly recommend it to all lovers of suspense.
Was this review helpful?
New author for me but pleasantly surprised. Thank you for the approval and look forward to a book relationship with other reads in the future,
Was this review helpful?
I am sorry for not reviewing fully but I don’t have the time to read this at the moment. I believe that it wouldn't benefit you as a publisher or your book if I only skimmed it and wrote a rushed review. Again, I am sorry for not fully reviewing!
Was this review helpful?
This was a well written, enjoyably intriguing novel.  Sylvie's older sister was slipping out their bedroom window every night to meet her boyfriend Ben, but one night she didn't come back.  Her body is found in the snow a few days later and both Sylvie and her mother are plunged into the abyss of grief and guilt.  The murderer is never found.  Sixteen years later Sylvie returns to her mother's house to help care for her during her chemotherapy treatments.  Things between them are strained and uncomfortable as they continue struggling with their pain.  Sylvie encounters Ben at the hospital as she waits for her mother's therapy to be administered.  Ben was always Sylvie's first choice as the murderer but the police did not find any evidence to bring charges against him.  She confronts him and he does what he can to convince her that he is not the killer.  Not wanting to give away any more info and spoil this for anyone planning to read it, I can say without reservation that I strongly recommend this book.  A truly very good read.
Was this review helpful?