Book review: My Sister’s Secret by Tracy Buchanan

The book:

My Sister’s Secret by Tracy Buchanan
Published in 2015 by Avon
400 pages
Overdrive digital library


The blurb:

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Everything you’ve built your life on is a lie

Willow’s memories of her parents are sun-drenched and full of smiles, love and laughter. But a mysterious invitation to a photographic exhibition exposes a secret that’s been buried since a tragic accident years ago.

Willow is forced to question everything she knew about Charity, her late mother, and Hope, the aunt she’s lived with since she was a child.

How was the enigmatic photographer connected to Willow’s parents? Why will Hope not break her silence?

Willow cannot move forward in her life without answers. But who can she really trust? Because no one has been telling the truth for a very long time.

My thoughts…

It is 2016 and Willow, a trained diver, goes to explore a wreck that we find out her parents died on when it sank. Finding a piece of her mother’s jewellery on the wreck which has two intertwined initials, Willow sets out to investigate more about her mother’s life. We then flit back and forth in time as we find out more about Charity – Willow’s mother – and Willow’s story also develops.

I found the structure of this novel a bit difficult to follow as it went back and forth in time but with the same characters and locations. But I could have lived with this, had the book not been so utterly ridiculous! The amount of coincidences in the novel was completely absurd, as people just happened to turn up on the other side of the world when other key characters also happened to be there. This happened so many times that even with the greatest suspension of disbelief it became totally implausible. Firstly, Willow just happens to be a trained diver, and then she finds out that her parents were avid divers too (she had no idea about this). This is the first of a billion coincidences. A character stays in a hotel in Austria, where it turns out the receptionist might just be their brother. Then Willow’s diving instructor happens to be from a town in India where Willow’s mother had visited, and when they go there, they just happen to bump into someone who happens to remember Willow’s mother visiting over 20 years before.

Then two characters from England just bump into each other at random – IN KAZAKHSTAN. And then a random tramp on the street that Willow keeps bumping into turns out to be a significant character from her mother’s past. And this is just a few of the coincidences that are littered throughout this book. I found myself rolling my eyes on literally every single page as these ridiculous coincidences kept mounting up, while alongside this the story also got increasingly ridiculous. The diving descriptions got a bit tedious too, and the twists at the end just made the whole thing even more far-fetched – if this was possible!  

I’m going to give this novel three out of ten because at least I managed to finish it – although I think I kept going just to see how far the author could push it! But truly this was one of the most ludicrous books I have ever read.

My rating: 3 out of 10

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