Kate Rafter is a high-flying war reporter. She's the strong one. The one who escaped their father. Her younger sister Sally didn't. Instead, she drinks.But when their mother dies, Kate is forced to return home. And on her first night she is woken by a terrifying scream.At first Kate tells herself it's just a nightmare. But then she hears it again. And this time she knows she's not imagining it.What secret is lurking in the old family home?
And is she strong enough to uncover it...and make it out alive?
My Sister's Bones by Nuala Ellwood is published by Penguin in hardback and audio on 9 February 2017, an early ebook will be available on 1 November 2016. My Sister's Bones is the author's debut thriller.
Those of you who follow me on Twitter and here on Random Things will have probably noticed that I've been posting teasers about My Sister's Bones for some time now. I've been delighted to work with the publicists at Penguin, and now finally, I can share my thoughts as part of the Blog Tour.
My Sister's Bones is a story that hooks the reader from the very first page. The short prologue is intriguing and mysterious, informing the reader of an unexpected death.
Lead character, Kate Rafter is introduced in the first chapter. It's 19 April 2015 at Herne Bay Police Station and Kate is being interviewed by a police doctor. It's difficult to establish why she's there, but it is clear that Kate has been involved in a serious incident and she's suffering. She hears voices, sees flashbacks, has bad dreams.
Alternate chapters take the reader back just one week earlier to the day that Kate returned to Herne Bay; her childhood home, and a place that she didn't want to return to, a place that brings back
memories of growing up in a dysfunctional family. Her alcoholic, violent father; her batttered, worn-down mother and her sister who is battling the demon drink, following in their father's footsteps. It isn't only the memories of childhood that haunt Kate though, she is also suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. She's a journalist, covering the horrors of conflict in war-torn countries such as Syria, and the things that she has witnessed impact on her daily life.
Nuala Ellwood has not shied away from some serious and very intense issues in this story. With themes of domestic violence, mental health, addiction, grief and loss it is very cleverly written, with an empathy and understanding from the author that enables the reader to really connect with the characters. Each character is carefully drawn, their faults and flaws are not air-brushed, creating a quite uncomfortable realism about each one.
There is a question of reliability that hovers in the mind throughout the reading, we wonder if Kate's version of events are true, or are a by-product of her suffering. The eventual conclusion is unexpected and shocking and left me reeling with shock and with admiration for the author's skill.
My Sister's Bones is exceptionally well written. It is brimming with suspense and unease, there are dark dark uneasy themes but the elegant and clever writing lift the story. Compelling and haunting, I'm certain that My Sister's Bones is going to be one of 2017's big sellers.
My thanks to the publishers who sent my copy for review and who invited me to take part in the pre-publication teasers, and this Blog Tour.
Nuala Ellwood moved to London in her twenties to pursue a career as a singer-songwriter, but ended up writing novels instead.
She went on to do an MA in Creative Writing at York and was awarded funding from the Arts Council for the research and development of My Sister's Bones, her debut thriller.
Her father and sister are both journalists, and their experiences inspired the events of this novel.
Follow her on Twitter @NualaWrites