The Secret Sister

secret sister book cover

This is the first book I read by Brenda Novak, but it will not be the last. Novak presents a complex story of familial relationships gone sour. Maisey is the youngest daughter of a very cold, domineering mother and a more easygoing father. Unfortunately, he passed away when Maisey was just a girl, and her mother did not seem to make any effort to show extra affection towards her or her older brother. As a result, when Maisey is an adult she leaves home, intent on never returning. However, life had other plans and Maisey finds herself returning to the family homestead, beaten down by upsetting circumstances, primarily the death of an infant daughter, a divorce from an unfaithful husband, the inability to do her work, and the unsuccessful suicide attempt by her brother, Keith.

Upon her return, Maisey faces her past and her future with a clarity previously unseen. She begins to mend the relationship with her mother, helps her brother figure out his demons, while rediscovering her motivations and purpose. Along the way, she gets reinvolved with a man, Rafe, she knew more than ten years earlier.

I liked many aspects of this story. There is the mystery of whether or not Maisey and Keith had an older sister, the dynamics of her immediate family’s influence and interaction, and the budding romance with Rafe. The pace is quick, though the plot is slower. The first portion of the book is largely devoted to setting up the different events of the relationships of the main character. As a result, the plot takes a while to move to the title point. However, once Novak introduces this point, it goes very fast, and ends with a great conclusion. I really felt for all the main characters, as each had to overcome different trauma in order to move forward. I have already recommended the book to friends, as I think they will enjoy the story. Another reviewer stated this book is the first in a new series, and I hope that is true. I would enjoy revisiting Maisey, while learning more about other characters on the island where she lives.

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Filed under fiction, romance

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