Book Review: The Stolen Sisters

Having recently read and reviewed the Amelia Henley novel, The Life We Almost Had, I went into a bit of a lull with my reading. It wasn’t anything to do with the books, I just wasn’t getting an urge to pick up my Kindle during the day, or even when I went to bed – always my prime reading time.

I turned to The Stolen Sisters as I was casting around looking for something to kickstart my reading mojo. It didn’t. Not at first anyway. I think I tried to start it about three times, and each time either fell asleep before I was more than a few pages in, or set it aside and decided to do a crossword instead.

And then, on the fourth attempt, I pushed on a bit and, for the first time, crept past chapter two. Does that mean you need to get to chapter three before things start to happen? No. Things happen almost immediately. I realise now the problem wasn’t the book – or any of the other books I was trying to read. It was me.

I can say that with confidence because I’ve enjoyed all of Louise Jensen’s books to date and, for me, this is her best yet. So my faltering starts had nothing to do with her skills as an author. Far from it. This is an author who’s self-assurance is growing – you can just tell from the writing. I don’t mean she’s being cocky, but something’s definitely happening.

As ever, I won’t offer any insight to the storyline. There’s enough of that on the blurb. Frankly, you don’t want to know any more about it in advance. Like all the best books, you want to find out what it’s all about as you go along.

There are plenty of twists and turns, and some with a real emotional kick when you think about the implications. I didn’t shed any tears with this book, but there were moments when I felt a hollowness in the gut as if I’d gone through the same trauma myself. Which tells you a lot about how Louise engages the reader, getting them to connect with the characters so strongly.

Those characters felt real. No archetypes, but real people. The sisters of the title, in spite of having gone through the same experience together, each came away with different reactions, different hang-ups, different ways of dealing with it. And that’s true in life, so Louise’s take on this only served to make the novel more convincing.

The pace is quick, with pretty much every chapter leaving you wanting to know more. Especially when you’ve got out of your reading slump. And the questions start to pile up in your mind, leaving you puzzling over which garden path the narrative will take you down.

Sharp, compelling, and heart-breaking, this novel doesn’t tie everything neatly up in a bow at the end, but you are left feeling hopeful. Because, as long as we’re still around, there’s always hope. And, particularly in these troubling times, that’s something we need to keep reminding ourselves of.

To get your copy or to find out more about the book, you can click on the cover image below for a link to the Amazon eBook. If you prefer a paperback, please try to support your local independent book shop rather than the supermarkets. Alternatively, if you don’t have a book shop nearby and/or you prefer to buy online, try Hive. I’ve written about them here, if you want to understand how using them can support Indies.