Sunday, April 21

Book Review: The Other Sister

Title: The Other Sister

Author: Lola Lemire Tostevin

Pages: 230

Summary: Julia Brannon, an elderly woman who has moved into a retirement home is the protagonist of the novel, The Other Sister. Physically but mentally alert and acutely observant and intelligent, she is a feisty and at times cantankerous protagonist. Her daughter, Rachel, and her grand-daughter, Thea, have given her, as a move-in present into the retirement home, a laptop computer on which they ask Julia to record events from her past. Julia's recorded anecdotes cover many major historical events that affected Julia over the last century.

Born into a well-to-do family, Julia, unlike her identical twin sister, Jane, aspired to a life other than marriage and children. She rejected a suitor, whom her sister subsequently married, and chose to study philosophy in a era when there were few female philosophy students and graduates. After her graduate studies she remains at the university as an associate professor although she is never promoted to a full professor. She remains at her job until an event concerning her twin sister compels her to re-examine her choices and take another path. There is, at the heart of the novel, a startling mystery and revelation on which the plot depends, which is crucial to how Julia learns to apprehend the other.

My Rating: 4/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: While I enjoyed the first part of the book, but about halfway through I began to lose interest, as I found everything seemed to come to a standstill. The plot wasn't developing, the characters weren't developing, nothing was happening. It even started to become a bit repetitive, and I had lost interest. While there were two stories going on from past and present, I just couldn't get into the book. I didn't connect to the characters, and the lack of their development probably helped with that, mostly, I just couldn't get into the story.

There was an interesting twist in the book that briefly, regained my interest in the book and I wish the author had gone deeper into that twist. It was rather unexpected and I liked it at first, but I found that how it was explored or lack thereof, didn't end, and it didn't connect well with the rest of the story. Mostly, with the twist, I felt that it was revealed and then it was almost forgotten.

The ending worked well, I did like how the author ended the book, but Overall I found that the book didn't work for me.

Would I recommend it to read: I'm not sure I would. While it had its moments, I found the book didn't exactly work out in the end, so it wouldn't be high on my list of books to recommend.

What to read next: Quartet in Autumn

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2013 Category Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, Canadian Book Challenge, New Author Challenge

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