Author: Hannah Mary McKinnon
Publisher: MIRA (Harper Collins imprint)
Publish date: 5/26/2020
Genre: Psychological/domestic thriller
In Hannah Mary McKinnon’s psychological thriller, SISTER DEAR (MIRA Trade; May 26, 2020; $17.99), the obsession of Single White Female meets the insidiousness of You, in a twisted fable about the ease of letting in those who wish us harm, and that mistake’s dire consequences.
The day he dies, Eleanor Hardwicke discovers her father – the only person who has ever loved her – is not her father. Instead, her biological father is a wealthy Portland businessman who wants nothing to do with her and to continue his life as if she doesn’t exist. That isn’t going to work for Eleanor.
Eleanor decides to settle the score. So, she befriends his daughter Victoria, her perfect, beautiful, carefree half-sister who has gotten all of life’s advantages while Eleanor has gotten none.
As she grows closer to Victoria, Eleanor’s obsession begins to deepen. Maybe she can have the life she wants, Victoria’s life, if only she can get close enough.
The police didn’t believe me.
A jury wouldn’t have, either, if I’d gone on trial, and most definitely not the judge. My attorney had more than a few reservations about my story. Ms. Allerton hadn’t said as much. She didn’t need to. I saw it in her eyes, could tell by the way she shuffled and reshuffled her papers, as if doing so might shake my lies clean off the pages, leaving only the truth behind in her inky, royal blue swirls.
After our first meeting I’d concluded she must’ve known early on—before she shook my hand with her icy fingers—that I was a liar. Before she’d walked into the room in shiny, four-inch heels, she’d no doubt decided she’d heard my excuses, or a variation thereof, from countless clients already. I was yet another person claiming to be innocent. Another criminal who’d remained adamant they’d done nothing wrong, it wasn’t their fault, honest, despite the overwhelming amount of evidence to the contrary, a wall of impending doom surrounding me.
And still, at the time I’d believed the only reason Ms. Allerton had taken on my case pro-bono was because of the amount of publicity it gave her firm. Reducing my sentence—for there would be one—would amplify her legacy as a hot-shot lawyer. I’d accepted her help. There was no other option. I needed her knowledge, her expertise, saw her as my final hope. I now know her motivations were something else I’d miscalculated. All hope extinguished. Game over.
If I’m being fair, the judgements Ms. Allerton and other people had made about me weren’t completely wrong. I had told lies, some, anyway. While that stripped away part of my claim to innocence, it didn’t mean I was entirely guilty. Not of the things everybody said I’d done. Things I’d had no choice but to confess to, despite that being my biggest lie of all.
But I’ll tell you the truth. The whole truth and nothing but. I’ll start at the beginning, and share everything that happened. Every last detail leading up to one fateful night. The night someone died because of me. The night I lost you, too.
I won’t expect your forgiveness. Our relationship—or lack thereof—will have gone way beyond that point. No. All I can hope for, is that my side of the story will one day help you understand why I did the things I did.
And why I have to do the things I’ve not yet done.
Excerpted from Sister Dear by Hannah Mary McKinnon, Copyright © 2020 by Hannah McKinnon.
Published by MIRA Books
The blurb had me at Single White Female meets Joe of You.
This book was a page-turner! It’s always tough to give full reviews of books with twists and turns without spoilers. But I will say that I typically enjoy family psychological thrillers and this was no exception. One secret was revealed early on which I’m a fan of – it moved the story forward instead of letting the reader guess about everything.
The writing was done well and very atmospheric with interesting characters. You could feel the desperation in Eleanor’s life and while she certainly had her faults, she was still a character to empathize with at times. Characters that I can connect with are important to me and this story gave plenty of opportunity for that.
My one issue was that this was narrated in the first person by Eleanor and that is not my favorite narration style – strictly personal preference though. I was thoroughly captivated and while this was my first book by Hannah Mary McKinnon, it will not be my last.
Thank you to MIRA Books and NetGalley for a gifted copy of this book in exchange for my honest review and promotion.
About the author
Hannah Mary McKinnon was born in the UK, grew up in Switzerland and moved to Canada in 2010. After a successful career in recruitment, she quit the corporate world in favor of writing, and is now the author of The Neighbors and Her Secret Son. She lives in Oakville, Ontario, with her husband and three sons, and is delighted by her twenty-second commute.