Review – My Sister’s Bones by Nuala Ellwood

My Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐


51jRkeLJ3ZLIf you can’t trust your sister, then who can you trust?

Kate Rafter has spent her life running from her past. But when her mother dies, she’s forced to return to Herne Bay – a place her sister Sally never left.

But something isn’t right in the old family home. On her first night Kate is woken by terrifying screams. And then she sees a shadowy figure in the garden…

Who is crying for help?
What does it have to do with Kate’s past?
And why does no one – not even her sister – believe her?


My Sister’s Bones is a mesmerising tale of two sister’s fighting their own personal battles.  One being alcohol and the other being Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  It is of no surprise that Kate is suffering from undiagnosed PTSD having been a correspondent in the war-torn town of Aleppo, Syria.  One could only hazard a guess as to what horrific scenes Kate has witnessed.

There are pockets of time where Kate is being held under the Mental Health Act, so you can only assume that the authorities are trying to get to the bottom of her unusual behaviour.  We are never quite sure as to the reason Kate is being held against her will until Nuala Ellwood reveals all to us.  PTSD is one of the themes used in the book of which Nuala treats sensitively and with precision.  This is such a tough topic to tackle and you can clearly see that guidance has been sought whilst writing.

Kate has returned to her old home in Herne Bay, Kent, in order to help her brother-in-law settle outstanding matters regarding her late mother’s estate.  Her sister, Sally, is in no fit condition to even leave the house, due to problems with alcohol, let alone sign legal documents, which is why Sally’s husband has been dealing with matters in Kate’s absence.

Whilst back in Herne Bay, Kate starts to notice strange things and hear unusual noises coming from next door.  Could all this be part of her state of mind suffering with PTSD, or has Kate stumbled across something?!  And will she be able to uncover whatever is going on?!

Sally and Kate are sisters.  Sisters who clearly don’t get along which is probably down to them thinking that they have zero in common with each other.  Although perhaps they have more in common than they think.  They are both addicts.  Kate is a functioning addict of sleeping pills and Sally is what I can only describe as a full-blown alcoholic.  Both sisters have a shared history of troubling matters involving abuse, although they both view their childhoods very differently.  My Sister’s Bones is a novel to make you envisage how perhaps various experiences and unprofound stress can have an impact on memories.

Another underlying theme is childhood death.  Before Sally was born, Kate had a younger brother who unfortunately drowned when he was only a toddler.  Upon their late mother’s death, Kate is a given a handwritten note by the solicitor detailing their mother’s confession of it being her fault that he died, which led to the reason why there were years of abuse from their angry father.  Kate is not entirely convinced by this revelation, however how can she not believe it?!

This is an immense psychological thriller, and the add on of madness between the two sisters makes for great plotting.  As the storyline develops, skeletons start to fall out of various closets, and the unpredictable twists certainly make for late night reading.  This is a daring novel that should be read by everyone.

I would like to thank Penguin and Netgalley for providing me with an e-copy in readiness for the paperback release date on 7th September.  E-versions of the book are already available to buy.  My Sister’s Bones is definitely a book to be added to your ‘to be read’ list.

My final word: Immense!

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