Roberta Writes – Book review: Sisters by Judith Barrow #bookreview #readingcommunity

What Amazon says

A moving study of the deep feelings – jealousy, love, anger, and revenge – that can break a family apart. … Sisters is another absorbing, emotional and thought-provoking creation from the wonderful Judith Barrow.
Janet Laugharne

Two sisters torn apart by a terrible lie.In shock after an unbearable accident. Angie lets her sister Mandy take the blame, thinking she’s too young to get into trouble. But she’s wrong. Mandy is hounded, bullied and finally sent to live with their aunt, where she changes her name to Lisa and builds a new life, never wanting to see her sister again. Angie’s guilt sends her spiralling into danger. Thirteen years later, they meet again at their mother’s funeral. Lisa starts to suspect something is wrong. Angie seems terrified of her husband, and their father is hiding something too.
What does Lisa owe to the family that betrayed her?

I knew I was in for a treat. I wasn’t disappointed… I couldn’t wait to find out what happened to Lisa and Angie… A tale with characters that linger in your mind after you close the book.
Jacqueline Harrett

My review

I am from a family of four daughters and no sons so the title of this book interested me. Sisters can be best friends or they can be enemies depending on their natures and the dynamics of the family. Fortunately, I come from a home where we all got along with each other and there was never much jealousy or competition. 

Angie and Mandy come from a similar situation. Angie looks out for her little sister and Mandy looks up to Angie. The family is happy, until the day when Mandy takes her baby brother for a walk, meeting up with Angie on the way. Tragedy strikes through an irresponsible action and Angie leaves Mandy to take the blame. The axe comes down heavily on Mandy, despite her young age, and she is despised by her father, who was devoted to his only son, and ostracised and tormented by her community.

Mandy is sent away to live with her aunt and never comes home. She builds a new life and assumes a new identity. Meanwhile, Angie gets caught up in a cycle of deception to keep the secret of her brother’s death from discovery and her life takes a downward spiral. 

This story is very tragic for the whole family and I wasn’t sure if it would have played out better for the family even if Angie had not allowed her sister to take the blame for the accident. It was an accident, even if it was the result of Angie’s showing off to impress a young man. Angie was not a bad person and she paid a very high price for her cowardliness and deceit.

I thought that Mandy and Angie were equal victims and that their father was the real failure in the family. He rejected his younger daughter and had her sent away, did not provide strength and support to his wife, and trapped Angie in her lie due to his unforgiving attitude. 

There is a theme of sexism and emphasis on the still common view among men that a son is worth more than daughters. The small minded and unforgiving attitudes of society at this time are also very evident, as well as the cruelty and meanness of teenagers when one of their own falls from grace in any way. 

This certainly a well written and evocative story that will provoke thought and emotional reactions from all readers.

Pre-order/purchase Sisters by Judith Barrow

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Judith Barrow Amazon Author Page

134 thoughts on “Roberta Writes – Book review: Sisters by Judith Barrow #bookreview #readingcommunity

    1. I think Robbie’s reviews are always so balanced, Dave – so I was both relieved and happy to read this for Sisters. It is a hard subject, I know, but that’s life and there are comical moments as well in the sisters’ relationship.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. My only point was that sister/sibling controversy is played many ways. Not personally being one for extended psychological drama I often find comparisons in short stories and children’s books that paint the same story in a more digestible form for me. Example – to me, Barbara Park is quite possibly the best minimalist novelist ever. Her Junie B Jones books are clever outlines of many major tropes, in less than 15 pages, with illustrations. I spotted a sweeping series of my own creation reduced to one of hers. There is nothing in my comment other than a cross reference to similarity played in a different manner.

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        1. Oh, I guess I was being a little dim, Phil – it is the evening of a very long day!! lol But anyway I did enjoy the story, and I’ve found another author, thanks to you. Always glad to explore different genres. Cheers.

          Liked by 2 people

  1. Secrets always eat away at you. It’s sad, but true, that sons are often more valued than daughters. It was true in my family, but luckily, did not hurt my relationship with my brothers. This sounds like a very sad story for everyone. (K)

    Liked by 3 people

        1. Hi Kerfe, that is something, even if it came late. My mother’s father didn’t believe in educating girls and didn’t want to buy her the school uniform when she gained an entry to grammar school. She did go, her mother got her the uniform on the sly.

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    1. Hi Kerfe – secrets almost always surface, I think. And we should all be valued for who we are – but it sometimes doesn’t happen that way. That’s what I tried to explore in Sisters. Thank you for reading Robbie’s much appreciated review..

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It sounds as if many of you here had great relationships with sisters. I’ve know some who don’t get on but still love one another. This was what I wanted to explore in Sisters. How much each takes… and forgives.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent review, Robbie. I read Debbie’s review before yours and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for both the sisters (like you’ve mentioned in your review); I hoped the book would end on a happy note. Like you, we are a family of girls and this title caught my attention. Reading more about the book from your review, makes me want to pick the book. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I also come from a family with 4 girls, but also one boy. We all get along pretty well, with only minor issues that happen in every family. This sounds like a very emotional story. Great review, Robbie.

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