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The Silent Sister

Review

The Silent Sister

Diane Chamberlain is well known for her stories about the trials and tribulations of families and community. Her latest novel, THE SILENT SISTER, is yet another enthralling and gripping tale about tragedy and survival.

Riley MacPherson never expected to lose almost everyone she loved by the time she was 25. However, she has already survived the suicide of her child prodigy sister, Lisa, and her mother’s early death from cancer. And now there is the sudden passing of her father from a heart attack at the local grocery store. Because they all know her older brother won’t be able to bring himself to do it, Riley is left to clean up the family house and finalize her father’s bequests. He was a collector, and the home is filled with pipes and classical records --- all the things that remind Riley of him.

"...another enthralling and gripping tale about tragedy and survival.... I could hardly put this book down as I so wanted to get to the heart of the MacPherson family story."

As she goes about the business of contacting the people to whom her father bequeathed his possessions and money, Riley unexpectedly uncovers his secret life. The realtor who has been helping Riley with the family home, and was also her mother’s best friend, had been his lover. The RV park her father owned is managed by a man who worked for him when he was a U.S. Marshall --- a career Riley never knew he had. And while she is visiting, the park manager’s wife tells Riley that she was adopted. Riley is in a state of shock and disbelief. Could this be true?

Riley is suddenly forced to question everything she knew about her family. She feels compelled to get to the bottom of the story about her adoption. She also learns more about the death of her older sister, whom she always believed had committed suicide. But Riley discovers that at the time of her death, Lisa was about to go on trial for the murder of her girlhood music teacher. Riley barely remembers Lisa, who died when she was only two years old. What else doesn’t she know about her family?

After hearing that the wife of the murdered man believes that Lisa is still alive and even hired a private detective to track her down, Riley begins her own investigation. As the story progresses, she can’t help but dig up more secrets, and additional discoveries about her family’s contradictions come to light. 

I could hardly put this book down as I so wanted to get to the heart of the MacPherson family story. Is Lisa still alive, and if so, why has she been on the run all these years? Did she murder her music teacher? Was Riley really adopted? Where do the lies end and the truth begin? As always, there are lingering questions about family, truth and justice that are a trademark of a Diane Chamberlain novel. She has a gift for telling stories about families whose good intentions go awry in difficult circumstances. Her characters are always portrayed with an understanding that sometimes life’s most tragic mistakes require heroic strength to survive.

Reviewed by Jennifer McCord on October 10, 2014

The Silent Sister
by Diane Chamberlain

  • Publication Date: October 7, 2014
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • ISBN-10: 1250010713
  • ISBN-13: 9781250010711