Book of the Month Club Selection
“A haunting debut: suspenseful, atmospheric, and completely riveting.” —Megan Miranda, New York Times bestselling author of All the Missing Girls
“I love a good family-driven suspense novel, and this one doesn't disappoint.” —Marie Claire
In this spellbinding and suspenseful debut, a young woman haunted by the past returns home to care for her ailing mother and begins to dig deeper into her sister’s unsolved murder.
Sixteen years ago, Sylvie’s sister Persephone never came home. Out too late with the boyfriend she was forbidden to see, Persephone was missing for three days before her body was found—and years later, her murder remains unsolved.
In the present day, Sylvie returns home to care for her estranged mother, Annie, as she undergoes treatment for cancer. Prone to unexplained “Dark Days” even before Persephone’s death, Annie’s once-close bond with Sylvie dissolved in the weeks after their loss, making for an uncomfortable reunion all these years later. Worse, Persephone’s former boyfriend, Ben, is now a nurse at the cancer center where Annie is being treated. Sylvie’s always believed Ben was responsible for the murder—but she carries her own guilt about that night, guilt that traps her in the past while the world goes on around her.
As she navigates the complicated relationship with her mother, Sylvie begins to uncover the secrets that fill their house—and what really happened the night Persephone died. As it turns out, the truth will set you free, once you can bear to look at it.
The Winter Sister is a mesmerizing portrayal of the complex bond between sisters, between mothers and daughters alike, and forces us to ask ourselves—how well do we know the people we love most?
Recently laid off from her job as a tattoo artist in Providence, R.I., 30-year-old Sylvie O'Leary, the narrator of Collins's tepid debut, has no excuses to not return home to Spring Hill, Conn., when her aunt calls with the news that her alcoholic mother, Annie, has cancer. Mother and daughter have been estranged since the murder of Sylvie's 18-year-old sister, Persephone, 16 years earlier. The case remains unsolved. The most likely suspect, Persephone's boyfriend, Ben Emory, the son of the town's mayor, was quickly cleared by police after a brief investigation. Coincidentally, Annie is being treated at the cancer center where Ben works as an oncology nurse. The three people who loved Persephone the most Sylvie, Annie, and Ben confront themselves and each other as the truth slowly unravels, revealing the part each played in the events that led to Persephone's murder one cold winter night. This psychological thriller starts strong, but the story veers off along tired plot lines, leaving readers as adrift as the characters.