The Winter Sister
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 really 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 really know the people we love most?

The Winter Sister Details

TitleThe Winter Sister
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 5th, 2019
PublisherTouchstone
ISBN-139781982100148
Rating
GenreMystery, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Fiction

The Winter Sister Review

  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    Is the engaging flow of an author’s words enough to overcome a tired storyline?Chances are, readers who frequent the suspense genre with any regularity will find this plot all too familiar. It's a storyline that’s been done, redone and overdone; making this anything but memorable.The story opens with one family’s devastation, 18-year-old Persephone never making it home after a clandestine night out with her boyfriend. Her mother and 14-year-old sister, Sylvie, in shambles when the missing person Is the engaging flow of an author’s words enough to overcome a tired storyline?Chances are, readers who frequent the suspense genre with any regularity will find this plot all too familiar. It's a storyline that’s been done, redone and overdone; making this anything but memorable.The story opens with one family’s devastation, 18-year-old Persephone never making it home after a clandestine night out with her boyfriend. Her mother and 14-year-old sister, Sylvie, in shambles when the missing persons case becomes an unsolved murder investigation. Flash forward sixteen years, there’s been no progress in the case, and Sylvie is simply existing in life. Recently laid off, she doesn’t have much choice when her aunt tells her she needs to get back home and tend to her cancer-ridden mother. Following Persephone’s death, Sylvie’s relationships with her mother, Annie, deteriorated, becoming virtually non-existent. Annie choosing alcohol and pills over her remaining daughter. The tone for much of the storyline is one-note—cloyingly bleak and depressive. Conjuring up those feelings that tend to accompany days-upon-days of rain, the only reprieve granted when the sun finally makes an appearance on the horizon or, in this case, a data dump. The plot is a maelstrom of guilt, obsessive love, secrets and abuse that continually haunts both Annie and Sylvie. Until the author decides it's time to utilize the so-called data dump—mostly comprised of telling, versus showing—to clue readers in on the why behind Persephone’s demise. Again, frequent flyers in the genre will likely pick up on the clues sprinkled throughout, making the truth less than surprising. And those things that aren’t quite obvious are either too gross to spend any time thinking about or, quite honestly, sort of ridiculous.I also feel compelled to mention, since the author chose to revisit it numerous times, the constellation painted on the family’s living room wall. It comes to symbolize Annie and Sylvie’s stagnant existence since Persephone’s murder—at that least that's what I assume Collins was striving for—but honestly, the number of mentions makes it exhausting, wiping away any clever attempt to tie the story together or insert deeper meaning. For this reader, the regurgitation of non-pivotal information is nothing more than a mood killer. But—and it’s a pretty BIG but here, so hear me out—despite my lengthy list of complaints, the flow of Megan Collins’s words and likability of Sylvie’s character make it easy to turn the pages. Hence the three star rating.While I’m not walking away from this experience feeling wowed in any capacity, I would certainly consider giving this author a second chance. I’m confident, with a more creative idea in tow, Collins might deliver something truly fantastic. *Thank you to Atria for providing a review copy.
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  • Meredith
    January 1, 1970
    Psychological thriller about a woman who returns to her hometown 16 years after her sister is murdered. The murder has gone unsolved and the main character is tortured over her actions the night her sister died. Estranged from her alcoholic mother, she finally faces her past and confronts her family’s demons. Sound familiar? I have read this plot multiple times. I am getting a little sick of the trope of a child or sibling returning home after several years distanced from family due to a murder. Psychological thriller about a woman who returns to her hometown 16 years after her sister is murdered. The murder has gone unsolved and the main character is tortured over her actions the night her sister died. Estranged from her alcoholic mother, she finally faces her past and confronts her family’s demons. Sound familiar? I have read this plot multiple times. I am getting a little sick of the trope of a child or sibling returning home after several years distanced from family due to a murder. The plot feels recycled. My review even feels recycled. I even thought about copying and pasting an old review for another book and updating where appropriate, but I held off! Despite the predictable and overused plot, the characterization is quite strong and keeps things interesting. The tone is quite dark and never seems to ease up. So, all in all, The Winter Sister is a decent, yet predictable, psychological thriller. If you are a fan of the genre, it might feel like you have read this before!I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Chelsea Humphrey
    January 1, 1970
    I'm between 3-3.5 stars on this one."Demeter had an only daughter, Persephone... the maiden of spring. She lost her and in her terrible grief she withheld her gifts from the earth, which turned into a frozen desert. The green and flowering land was icebound and lifeless because Persephone had disappeared." -Edith Hamilton, MythologyWhile this may, at first glance, appear to be a review of a book I found to be mediocre, I assure you it's not. When you read hundreds upon hundreds of psychological I'm between 3-3.5 stars on this one."Demeter had an only daughter, Persephone... the maiden of spring. She lost her and in her terrible grief she withheld her gifts from the earth, which turned into a frozen desert. The green and flowering land was icebound and lifeless because Persephone had disappeared." -Edith Hamilton, MythologyWhile this may, at first glance, appear to be a review of a book I found to be mediocre, I assure you it's not. When you read hundreds upon hundreds of psychological thrillers and domestic dramas annually, it becomes excruciatingly difficult to be blown away by novels in this genre. I've found it to be nearly impossible to find a wholly original story, one that I haven't experienced recently and can't call the entire list of plot twists before the first 10% of the book has passed, so please keep that in mind while reading my thoughts here. I did see every twist and turn before they appeared, but it seems I'm in the minority here and could be due to the fact that I've read a few books recently that seem intriguingly similar, right down to the (view spoiler)[inclusion of a plot twist where one sister locks the window where the other is unable to enter back inside, thus resulting in that sister's death and the remaining sister's unquenchable guilt. (hide spoiler)]"It wasn't until years later that I wondered why my mother didn't try to be strong for me, tell me that Persephone was just being Persephone and that she'd be home before we knew it. What did she know right then? What does a mother feel in her bones when her daughter stops breathing?"I want to take the rest of this review to discuss the things I loved about this book. Readers, the writing is exquisite, debut novel or not, and it was so easy to get lost in the atmospheric vibe that the author sets for us. The cold, brutal temperature of the New England area enhanced the chilly, unsettling family relationships that are portrayed in The Winter Sister. Typically, I struggle with a cast of nearly completely unlikeable characters, but somehow Collins made it work. She drew me in with her compulsive dialogue, her unsettling past vs present narrative, and her raw, unflinching look at various forms of abuse. I felt that the author really took a stand by the end of the book on making sure the reader knows how absolutely, positively not ok ANY type of abuse is, and how it's NEVER too late to remove yourself from a toxic relationship. The ending was so satisfying, because we receive a realistic balance of redemption and heavy, traumatic background that needs to be worked through. If this is the author's debut novel, I am beyond giddy to see what she throws our way next. Her writing shows no limit to how far she can go, and Collins will stay on my list of up and coming authors to follow in the coming years. *Thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy via NetGalley.
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  • Debra
    January 1, 1970
    There are secrets and then there are SECRETS!Sylvie has returned home to care for her sick Mother. A Mother who shut her and the rest of the world out after her daughter was murdered sixteen years ago. As Sylvie attempts to care for her Mother, she must come to terms with the past, her sisters murder, her own guilt about that fateful night, the investigation and the reminders of her Mother's dark days, and her sisters secret romance.Dealing with her Mother is hard enough but then she comes face There are secrets and then there are SECRETS!Sylvie has returned home to care for her sick Mother. A Mother who shut her and the rest of the world out after her daughter was murdered sixteen years ago. As Sylvie attempts to care for her Mother, she must come to terms with the past, her sisters murder, her own guilt about that fateful night, the investigation and the reminders of her Mother's dark days, and her sisters secret romance.Dealing with her Mother is hard enough but then she comes face to face with Ben, her sister's boyfriend at the time of her death. The one person she believes may have killed her sister.Nothing makes us as lonely as our secrets. - Paul TournierBoy, secrets. Who needs them? You think you are protecting yourself, you think you are protecting someone else, you think no one will ever know, no one will ever find out. We all know the saying "What you don't know won’t hurt you...but in this book, well......you will need to read the book to find out!I found this book to be quite enjoyable and was impressed that this was a debut book. I enjoyed the complex family dynamics, the sisterly bonds of several characters, the effects of guilt, how grief affects not only individuals but relationships, unhealthy relationships, obsession, and learning the truth.A little past the half way mark, I figured out the one plot twist but the other still took me by surprise. Well written and engaging debut which became a little predictable but didn't hinder my enjoyment at all. After all, she still managed to surprise me in the end. I look forward to reading more books by Megan Collins.Thank you to Atria/Touchstone and Edelweiss for providing me with my copy in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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  • Liz
    January 1, 1970
    A wonderful debut mystery, this one grabbed me from the get go. Sylvie’s sister died in high school and she carries the guilt of her role in the death around like a stone around her neck. Years later, her mother, who had depression issues even before her sister’s death, is an alcoholic dying of cancer. Sylvie returns home to take care of her mother. Sylvie is a wonderful character. I loved that after college she became a tattoo artist. “It was creative, it required thought and skill, and it gene A wonderful debut mystery, this one grabbed me from the get go. Sylvie’s sister died in high school and she carries the guilt of her role in the death around like a stone around her neck. Years later, her mother, who had depression issues even before her sister’s death, is an alcoholic dying of cancer. Sylvie returns home to take care of her mother. Sylvie is a wonderful character. I loved that after college she became a tattoo artist. “It was creative, it required thought and skill, and it generated a considerable feeling of power; the tattoo artist, I soon learned, was not only the inflictor of pain, the drawer of blood, but also, on a good day, the fulfiller of dreams.” And I could totally relate to her. Her mom hasn’t been a mother to her, yet it still falls to her to return home and take care of her. I totally get that guilt, that sense of forced obligation. And the secrets! Sylvie knows nothing of her mom’s history. The writing here is gorgeous, not at all typical for a psychological thriller. “She was a different person - no longer the sun, as shed once seemed, but a cloud, one that always held the threat of a storm, and I knew very well how much it hurt to love somebody like that.” And the tension here is perfect. I kept finding an excuse to read one more chapter, just to see what the next twist would be. There’s lots going on here -all the lies, the guilt, the overwhelming grief. This book totally gets how we can make mistakes when we’re too young to know better, but still find it so hard to forgive ourselves. The mystery is easier to suss out than some. But this book is really about the emotions more than the crime. My thanks to netgalley and Atria Books for an advance copy of this book.
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  • Kaceey - Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    3.5*Sylvia left her hometown just as soon as she could. Rushing off to College and a new life! Leave her past behind. Years have slipped by and her mom Annie is quite sick. It’s time for Sylvie to face her past demons, return home and try to help. No choice, really. You see, she’s now the only daughter. He sister Persephone was murdered at the age of 18. The murderer never found, the case long ago dropping from everyone’s radar. When Sylvie returns home she immediately begins researching the det 3.5*Sylvia left her hometown just as soon as she could. Rushing off to College and a new life! Leave her past behind. Years have slipped by and her mom Annie is quite sick. It’s time for Sylvie to face her past demons, return home and try to help. No choice, really. You see, she’s now the only daughter. He sister Persephone was murdered at the age of 18. The murderer never found, the case long ago dropping from everyone’s radar. When Sylvie returns home she immediately begins researching the details of her sister’ murder. Along the way even running into Persephone’s old boyfriend, Ben. Are they able to unlock the secrets of the past to find a killer? I have such mixed feelings about this book. Where to start? Well, it was very well written. Had to remind myself it was a debut. But it lacked… something. Depth? Maybe simply...heart? The story-line itself was oh so familiar. Been done several times with just slight variations of the same formula. (Teen girl murdered. Sibling returns to small town and attempts to solve the decade old murder). I just hoped for something a little more...or maybe different.Overall the writing saved this book for me and I will definitely be reaching for Ms.Collin's next release.A buddy read with Susanne ❄️Thank you to Isabel DaSilva at Atria Books via NetGalley, and Megan Collins for an ARC to read and review.
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  • Holly B
    January 1, 1970
    A gripping story that highlights the hidden past of the families involved.  A  tangled web of family secrets may have bigger repercussions than anyone could ever have imagined.A suspenseful, character driven drama that explores a complicated relationship between a mother, Annie and her two daughters, Sylvie and Persephone.Sylvie has plenty of reasons to feel guilty (at least in her mind) about her sister's unsolved murder. There is a reason she feels the guilt. I loved the close bond the two si A gripping story that highlights the hidden past of the families involved.  A  tangled web of family secrets may have bigger repercussions than anyone could ever have imagined.A suspenseful, character driven drama that explores a complicated relationship between a mother, Annie and her two daughters, Sylvie and Persephone.Sylvie has plenty of reasons to feel guilty (at least in her mind) about her sister's unsolved murder. There is a reason she feels the guilt. I loved the close bond the two sisters shared. Sylvie did her best to watch over Persephone. almost like she wanted to be her guardian angel. The story line jumps between sixteen years ago on the night Persephone never came home to present day and her case is as cold as ever.Sylvie returns home years later, as an adult, to care for her ailing mother. Her ever present guilt drives her to start asking questions about Persephone's murder. Can she  find the answers that the police failed to come up with? Who has kept secrets for all these years? She may have secrets of her own.A haunting story of love, obsession, and a search for redemption. I was able to predict some things early on, but enjoyed the well developed characters and the emotional journey. I'll be interested in what this author writes next!Thanks to Atria/Touchstone  for my copy to read/review.
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  • Dorie - Traveling Sister :)
    January 1, 1970
    This was really a 4/1/2 * for me. I really enjoyed this debut novel, my first mystery/thriller novel of 2019. This book reminds me of why I do like this genre. In this novel there is so much about about family interactions woven throughout. There is the passage of time, from present to past which flowed beautifully and helped to give us incredible insight into the mystery of what happened to Persephone the night that she was murdered. There are great characters whose true selves and past actions This was really a 4/1/2 * for me. I really enjoyed this debut novel, my first mystery/thriller novel of 2019. This book reminds me of why I do like this genre. In this novel there is so much about about family interactions woven throughout. There is the passage of time, from present to past which flowed beautifully and helped to give us incredible insight into the mystery of what happened to Persephone the night that she was murdered. There are great characters whose true selves and past actions are revealed. This is a great mystery with a bit of a thriller added.This book started a bit quietly for me but it quickly picked up when Sylvie is called home to care for her ill mother. The homecoming is barely acknowledged by her mother and instantly there is friction between Annie and Sylvie. They each blame the other for Persephone’s death. Sylvie was just a young child but she knows what she did and it did result in her death, however not in the way that she thought. Her sister’s death has haunted her for 16 years.She finds that Persephone’s boyfriend, whom Sylvie always thought murdered her, is working at the clinic where Sylvie must take her mother for chemotherapy. After a horrible, and then awkward meeting, Persephone starts to trust Ben.Ultimately she doesn’t believe that he killed her sister. They begin to work together to research what all really happened on the night that Persephone was killed. Believe me there is a lot that is revealed!Ben has carried the death of Persephone in his mind and heart as he truly loved her. He feels he never should have left her on the snow laden street just because she wanted him to. I won’t go through the rest of the plot, that is for you to discover. I would recommend this to anyone who likes a mystery with a large mix of family dynamics, particularly mother-daughter relationships.I received an arc of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss.
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  • Mary Beth *Traveling Sister*
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsSylvie returns home to care for her estranged mother, Annie as she undergoes treatment for cancer. Sylvie is also dealing with her past. Sixteen years ago her sister, Persephone was murdered and she wants to find out who killed her. Her sister was missing for less than seventy-two hours until a jogger caught a glimpse of her red coat through the snow. While her Aunt Jill was on the phone with the police, Sylvia tells her Aunt to tell them to check with her boyfriend. Persephone was not 3.5 starsSylvie returns home to care for her estranged mother, Annie as she undergoes treatment for cancer. Sylvie is also dealing with her past. Sixteen years ago her sister, Persephone was murdered and she wants to find out who killed her. Her sister was missing for less than seventy-two hours until a jogger caught a glimpse of her red coat through the snow. While her Aunt Jill was on the phone with the police, Sylvia tells her Aunt to tell them to check with her boyfriend. Persephone was not allowed to have a boyfriend. Ben was a secret -our secret, Persephone loved to remind Sylvie. Ben would park his car a couple houses down from her house and Persephone would open their window in their room and straddled the sill until one foot touched the ground. It was a secret between the two sisters. Sylvie would keep the window open, just enough for Persephone to slip her fingers under and pull it up when she returned. She was seeing Ben Emory, the mayor's son. When detective Falley checked into it, Ben said that he didn't know where she was. He said that they were driving around and then they got into a fight and she told him to let her out of the car, so she could walk home. He let her out and then waited out the storm at his friends house overnight. The detectives then checked with the friends Mom and she confirmed that Ben arrived around 11 pm. and stayed the night and left around 10 am. the next morning.tSylvie always believed that Ben was responsible for the murder. She carried a p t of guilt about that night. Sylvie begins to uncover the secrets that fill house and what really happened that night when Persephone died.I wasn't immediately drawn into the story. It had a slow burn to it, but then it became a gripping suspenseful read. I thought this was a very simple read but I thought it was beautifully written. This was a great debut novel. I thought it was very entertaining. There are lots and lots of secrets and they are slowly revealed. I thought it was a sad emotional book toward the end. I found this to be a very predictable read. There were not many characters so I was able to guess who the killer was and why the killer killed Persephone. I am usually a bad detective and usually don't guess how it's going to end so I was actually excited that I got it right. The book kept my interest and best the end it was a page turner for me.This was a Traveling Sister read.I want to thank NetGalley, Touchstone/Atria for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    January 1, 1970
    Not just another “sister” book! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ As teens, Sylvie’s sister, Persephone, was on a date with a forbidden boyfriend when she never returned home and was later found murdered. The murder is still unsolved, over sixteen years later. Sylvie and her mother, Annie, have not been in a good place since Persephone’s death; however, when Annie is set to undergo cancer treatment, Sylvie goes home to care for her. Ben, the once bad news boyfriend of Persephone, is now a nurse at the cancer center where Not just another “sister” book! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ As teens, Sylvie’s sister, Persephone, was on a date with a forbidden boyfriend when she never returned home and was later found murdered. The murder is still unsolved, over sixteen years later. Sylvie and her mother, Annie, have not been in a good place since Persephone’s death; however, when Annie is set to undergo cancer treatment, Sylvie goes home to care for her. Ben, the once bad news boyfriend of Persephone, is now a nurse at the cancer center where Sylvie must take Annie, and Sylvie has always thought he was guilty. But why does Sylvie feel responsible for what happened that night? What secrets is she carrying within herself?The Winter Sister is much more than a domestic thriller. It’s a study of the complex relationships between sisters and mothers and daughters. I found the ending completely shocking in a fantastic way, and I enjoyed the emotionally dark tone of the book. It always seemed like there was something sinister looming in the background thanks to the well-drawn tension. Overall, I found The Winter Sister to be an emotionally complex and thrilling domestic drama, and I’m excited for Megan Collins’ next book! Thank s to the publisher for the complimentary copy. All opinions are my own. My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    Lying has dire consequences.Sylvie O'Leary knows this first hand. She's been covering up for her older sister, Persephone, for some time. Persephone has been sneaking out to meet her boyfriend, Ben, at night when her mother thinks she's asleep in her room. The girls agreed upon leaving the bedroom window open a crack so that Persephone can ease the window open later. But this night, this fateful night, Sylvie takes it upon herself to stop the deceit by fully closing the window. Her plan will for Lying has dire consequences.Sylvie O'Leary knows this first hand. She's been covering up for her older sister, Persephone, for some time. Persephone has been sneaking out to meet her boyfriend, Ben, at night when her mother thinks she's asleep in her room. The girls agreed upon leaving the bedroom window open a crack so that Persephone can ease the window open later. But this night, this fateful night, Sylvie takes it upon herself to stop the deceit by fully closing the window. Her plan will force Persephone to ring the front doorbell in order to get in. A row will surely take place between mother and daughter, but the underhanded behavior will finally stop. Sylvie will no longer be at the mercy of her sister's lies.There will be no mercy that night. Persephone never comes home. Her body is found along a lonely road buried in snow. Years pass and the police are not even close to finding who murdered Persephone. The impact of her death sends her mother, Annie, into a downward trajectory as she becomes a raging alcoholic who takes to a reclusive life. Annie's sister, Jill, tries her best to keep Annie functioning somehow, but her efforts seem to go nowhere. Sylvie moves out on her own. Sixteen years have passed and a phone call reveals that Annie has cancer and must undergo chemo. Jill begs Sylvie to come home to care for her mother. Megan Collins has set the stage for the heavy-duty consequences of a mountain of deceit. The lies took root long before Persephone's death and they continue to wind their way through the lives of those caught in the bramble. Collins twists the branches tighter and tighter as Annie's prior life becomes the focus. The pace gains more and more momentum causing the reader to quickly flip pages. The Winter Sister becomes a zigzag of a character study. Individuals become more and more complicated as we walk around inside their heads. You'll find yourself almost irritated by some of their questionable behaviors. Obsession will sit in the front row. It does finally get sorted out at the end. Some will find it unexpected and some will already see the headlights coming from afar. The predictability left me a tad disappointed. Regardless, it still is an entertaining read.I received a copy of The Winter Sister through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Touchstone and to Megan Collins for the opportunity.
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  • Carrie
    January 1, 1970
    The Winter Sister by Megan Collins is a perfect example of a book that makes me want to continue to search out new authors for new stories. The Winter Sister is a mystery/suspense read that is a debut novel but you could never tell this is a debut.At fourteen Sylvie and her sister Persephone were very close and shared each other’s secrets, whether they wanted to keep them or not. Persephone being almost eighteen was at that rebellious stage and would sneak out to meet with her boyfriend her moth The Winter Sister by Megan Collins is a perfect example of a book that makes me want to continue to search out new authors for new stories. The Winter Sister is a mystery/suspense read that is a debut novel but you could never tell this is a debut.At fourteen Sylvie and her sister Persephone were very close and shared each other’s secrets, whether they wanted to keep them or not. Persephone being almost eighteen was at that rebellious stage and would sneak out to meet with her boyfriend her mother did not approve of until one night she failed to return home. Not too long after the report was made to police Persephone’s body was found.Now sixteen years later Sylvie has returned home to care for her ailing mother and begins to dig into her sister’s past. With the killer never having been caught Sylvie was always sure it was Persephone’s boyfriend but now as an adult she begins to question just how well she knew her sister and the secrets around her.Picking this one up it really didn’t take long at all to fall into the writing and get engaged in the story. As the book goes on looking into the past and what happened that fateful night it’s one of those slowly peeling back the layers until all the truth comes bubbling out kind of books. Once beginning to piece together all of the clues it still was completely intriguing until the end.I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/
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  • ♥Rachel♥
    January 1, 1970
    The Winter Sister wasn’t something I planned on reading straight through, or even so long before release (I read this back in November) but after downloading I was in the mood for a mystery and I thought I’d open it up and read a few pages. I ended up reading straight through until 2am to finish. I was pulled into Sylvie’s story, the mystery of her sister’s murder, and I had to find out what happened then and how it would all turn out in the present.Sixteen years ago, eighteen-year-old Persephon The Winter Sister wasn’t something I planned on reading straight through, or even so long before release (I read this back in November) but after downloading I was in the mood for a mystery and I thought I’d open it up and read a few pages. I ended up reading straight through until 2am to finish. I was pulled into Sylvie’s story, the mystery of her sister’s murder, and I had to find out what happened then and how it would all turn out in the present.Sixteen years ago, eighteen-year-old Persephone snuck out the window to meet her boyfriend, never came home and was found dead three days later, and fourteen-year-old Sylvie’s world is turned upside-down. Their mother becomes a shell of her former self, retreating into her bedroom and staying drunk more than she’s sober. The mother Sylvie used to have, one that snuggled and loved, disappeared and stopped caring. Meanwhile, the murder of her sister goes unsolved even though Sylvie is sure Persephone’s boyfriend, Ben, is guilty. But not all is as it seems here, both Sylvie and her mother have secrets and guilt, casting a dark shadow over their lives. Sixteen years later Sylvie must come back home to care for her ailing mother, and the anger and resentment she feels a palpable thing brewing between them. Even worse is running into Ben, Persephone’s old boyfriend who now works as a nurse at the clinic her mother must visit twice a week. But meeting Ben, Sylvie discovers a few things about her sister’s murder she didn’t know, bringing up more questions. She discovers she wasn’t the only one to keep secrets all these years, her mother has secrets of her own, and now Sylvie’s determined to find answers. Their dynamic was compelling and another interesting mystery to unravel. I was glued to the pages to see how this all turned out, fascinated by the intense relationships, between Sylvie and her mother, Sylvie and Persephone and finally between Sylvie and Ben. I’m glad I took a chance on Megan Collins’ debut because The Winter Sister was fantastic!A copy was kindly provided by Touchstone in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Felicia
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 Stars rounded up to 4 for the imaginative drama and enjoyable prose⭐⭐⭐⭐While this book features an all too familiar plot, it does offer something that I wasn't expecting but very much enjoyed and that is a fascinating and novel family dynamic. I would definitely categorize this one under family drama with a generous sprinkling of the thriller/mystery genre. I enjoyed the narrator, Sylvie, who has been suffering for 20 years with the guilt she carries over her sister's unsolved murder. She bl 3.5 Stars rounded up to 4 for the imaginative drama and enjoyable prose⭐⭐⭐⭐While this book features an all too familiar plot, it does offer something that I wasn't expecting but very much enjoyed and that is a fascinating and novel family dynamic. I would definitely categorize this one under family drama with a generous sprinkling of the thriller/mystery genre. I enjoyed the narrator, Sylvie, who has been suffering for 20 years with the guilt she carries over her sister's unsolved murder. She blames herself for the death due to her inactions leading up to that tragic night. Unlike a lot of characters of similar plots, Sylvie's feelings of guilt are completely founded leaving her in a crippling state of remorse.Although she reads younger than her 34 years, especially considering the hardships she has endured, Sylvie is without a doubt a likeable character that tugged at my heartstrings throughout. Silvie's mother, Annie, is portrayed in a nonsensical manner, her actions and motives absurd and totally unbelievable.I figured out the plot twists, the murderer and the motive shortly before the halfway mark, which always sucks. The motive for the murder is a bit ridiculous and baseless.Overall this is a fast, light and enjoyable debut, despite it's shortcomings. I'm definitely not deterred from reading more offerings from this author. I feel confident the best is yet to come.I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Susanne Strong
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 Stars* (rounded down)Family Dysfunction and Secrets Run Rampant!Growing up together, Sylvie and her sister Persephone were close as they could be, thick as thieves if you must know. One night, Persephone goes missing, and is then found murdered days later, her death remaining an unsolved mystery. Thereafter, their family falls apart and Sylvie takes off, only to return when her mother is diagnosed with cancer. Upon her return, Sylvie is determined to find her sister’s killer and get justice. 3.5 Stars* (rounded down)Family Dysfunction and Secrets Run Rampant!Growing up together, Sylvie and her sister Persephone were close as they could be, thick as thieves if you must know. One night, Persephone goes missing, and is then found murdered days later, her death remaining an unsolved mystery. Thereafter, their family falls apart and Sylvie takes off, only to return when her mother is diagnosed with cancer. Upon her return, Sylvie is determined to find her sister’s killer and get justice. What Sylvie didn’t plan for however, is the complexities of her relationship with dear old mom, whose secrets go beyond anything Sylvie could ever have imagined. The truth is that Sylvie has quite a few secrets of her own, secrets she’d rather keep hidden, if she had her druthers. Is there a way for her to solve her sister’s murder and keep these things hidden? “The Winter Sisters” is a slow moving, well written novel with an intricate plot. It is told both in the past and in the present, with the past storyline being my favorite. While certain elements of this story are predictable, it is still an enjoyable read. This is a fictional novel which showcases family dysfunction. The secrets and the lies kept me gripped to the pages, wondering what they were and if and when they’d come out. Well done, Megan Collins! This was a buddy read with Kaceey!Thank you to Isabel DaSilva at Atria Books, NetGalley and to Megan Collins for an arc of this novel in exchange for an honest review.Published on NetGalley and Goodreads on 1.20.19.
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  • Tammie
    January 1, 1970
    A solid 4 stars. A mystery/thriller book, The Winter Sister centers around main character Sylvie. As teens, Sylvie’s older sister Persephone was murdered-a crime that was never solved. Sylvie always blamed herself for her sister’s death-locking her out of the house the night of the murder, helping her cover bruises caused by her boyfriend Ben, and never telling anyone about the suppose abuse that Persephone endured but never told Sylvie about. Fast forward to present time-Sylvie, now an adult, r A solid 4 stars. A mystery/thriller book, The Winter Sister centers around main character Sylvie. As teens, Sylvie’s older sister Persephone was murdered-a crime that was never solved. Sylvie always blamed herself for her sister’s death-locking her out of the house the night of the murder, helping her cover bruises caused by her boyfriend Ben, and never telling anyone about the suppose abuse that Persephone endured but never told Sylvie about. Fast forward to present time-Sylvie, now an adult, returns home to care for her ailing mother. When Sylvie stumbles upon Ben at the hospital, who is now a nurse, she is determined to find out what really happened to her sister the night she was murdered. The Winter Sister was an entertaining book and I would highly recommend this to fans of mystery/thriller books. Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to review this book.
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  • Beata
    January 1, 1970
    A decent thriller which seems to have the plot already sounding familiar, however, the writing style is good and it was a quite gripping read for me. Some passages could be better edited in order to avoid some repetitions. All in all, a good read for the fans of the genre.*Many thanks to Megan Collins, Simon & Schuster and Edelweiss for providing me with ARC in exchange for my honest review.*
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  • Kendall
    January 1, 1970
    A gripping and emotional story about a family that has webbed deep and dark secrets.The Winter Sister by Megan Collins a strong debut that will leave you turning those pages up until the early hours in the morning. Sylive returns home after many years following the murder of her sister Persephone to take care of her mother who is dying of cancer. The relationship between Sylvie and her mother has been dysfunctional, strained, and unpredictable over the years especially take a turn when Persephon A gripping and emotional story about a family that has webbed deep and dark secrets.The Winter Sister by Megan Collins a strong debut that will leave you turning those pages up until the early hours in the morning. Sylive returns home after many years following the murder of her sister Persephone to take care of her mother who is dying of cancer. The relationship between Sylvie and her mother has been dysfunctional, strained, and unpredictable over the years especially take a turn when Persephone was murdered. The story begins to unfold like an onion... each layer that is pealed reveals more darkness until the horrific underlying reasons to Sylvie's sister's murder is revealed. This was a beautifully complex and emotional character study that Megan Collins has written. I thought it was so fascinating behind the relationships and deep core dysfunctional roots of the daughters and their relationships with their mother. The underlying reveal of Persephone's murder ties in so beautifully to the complex bonds of families and our pasts that we chose to cover up.I was impressed by Megan's Collin's writing style and the ease of grabbing her readers into this story of obsession, love, and loss. I was able to predict early on some reveals with the story but this was still a thoroughly enjoyable family drama for me.4 stars!!!Thank you so much to Touchstone/Atria and Netgalley for the arc in exchange for my honest review.Publication date: 2/5/19Published to GR: 1/13/19
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  • Shannon
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Touchstone for gifting me a copy of The Winter Sister. I really enjoyed this one! Family secrets, lies and betrayal ohhh yes!!When Sylvie O’Leary was fourteen, her sister, Persephone, snuck out of the house and was found dead three days later. Their mother, Annie, took a turn for the worse. She became an alcoholic and couldn’t take care of Sylvie. Sylvie ended up moving in with her Aunt and cousin and eventually leaving her hometown to start fresh, not as “Persephone’s sister”. The mur Thanks to Touchstone for gifting me a copy of The Winter Sister. I really enjoyed this one! Family secrets, lies and betrayal ohhh yes!!When Sylvie O’Leary was fourteen, her sister, Persephone, snuck out of the house and was found dead three days later. Their mother, Annie, took a turn for the worse. She became an alcoholic and couldn’t take care of Sylvie. Sylvie ended up moving in with her Aunt and cousin and eventually leaving her hometown to start fresh, not as “Persephone’s sister”. The murder was never solved. So years later when Sylvie is requested to come back home to take care of her sick mother, she starts to question the murder. She was so sure her sister’s boyfriend was the killer. She knew it was him, had to be. During one of Annie’s treatments, Sylvie is shocked to see Ben, the boyfriend, working there as a nurse. She’s furious he’s out on the streets, but in a hospital?! Sylvie knows what his hands can do... Ooo yes, again, I really enjoyed this. I had so many theories as to where this might go and I was surprised! Thanks again Touchstone! 4.5 ⭐️
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 StarsThe Winter Sister is a stunning, suspense-filled, edge of your seat debut by Megan Collins! I was thoroughly captivated by this tale of domestic suspense and mystery surrounding the unsolved murder of a young girl and her younger sister's determination to see justice served sixteen years later. Also, being a literature professor, I delighted in how Collins wrote such a passionate, discordant, disastrous family tragedy and so aptly named her murdered protagonist Persephone after the daug 4.5 StarsThe Winter Sister is a stunning, suspense-filled, edge of your seat debut by Megan Collins! I was thoroughly captivated by this tale of domestic suspense and mystery surrounding the unsolved murder of a young girl and her younger sister's determination to see justice served sixteen years later. Also, being a literature professor, I delighted in how Collins wrote such a passionate, discordant, disastrous family tragedy and so aptly named her murdered protagonist Persephone after the daughter of Zeus in Greek mythology to drive the storyline to its exhilarating and apt ending! It was quite clever and showed from the beginning the stark differences between the two daughters/sisters, who shared different fathers, one named Sylvie and the other named after the greatest of all the gods...One sister's unsolved murder, another sister's misplaced guilt and compulsion to solve her sister's murder, and a mother's desperate, heartwrenching grief over a daughter's loss that drives her toward madness make this novel more than just a mystery. It's a novel about mother, daughter, and sister bonds, and the strengths, complexities, and fragilities of those relationships. Collins has written authentic, raw, and not always likable characters who have depth and substance, which is one reason I loved the book as much as I did since excellent and meticulous characterization is one of my top reasons for enjoying a novel.The storyline is captivating from page one and although I guessed the mystery of Persephone's murder midway, that in no way detracts from the book because the characters and their struggles to come to terms not only with Persephone's murder but also with the pain and hurts they've caused one another since then and the guilt they've carried makes for an utterly spellbinding and heartwrenching read!Can I say that I've already read some excellent suspense novels releasing in 2019, and The Winter Sister most definitely goes on that list?! I can already predict that 2019 is going to be an outstanding writing year for suspense and thrillers and am honestly thrilled to see so many debut authors already at the top of the list! Without a doubt, I'll be watching for everything Collins writes from now on because I know it will be superb!Collins' debut is masterful, expressive writing and domestic suspense at its best. This is one novel you don't want to miss! The Winter Sister publishes February 5, 2019, so make sure you preorder your copy now!**Thank you Isabel at Atria Books for the ARC to read in exchange for my fair and honest review.**
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  • Holly
    January 1, 1970
    When Sylvie's older sister, Persephone, was killed when she was 18 she blames herself. Sixteen years after her death, Sylvie hasn't quite moved on but hasn't been back to her hometown since her sisters death. Her mother became an reclusive alcoholic that hasn't been there for Sylvie since that awful day. But when her mother becomes ill she moves in with her to help take care of her. At the hospital Sylvie runs into Persephone's ex-boyfriend and the one that Sylvie believes killed her sister. Her When Sylvie's older sister, Persephone, was killed when she was 18 she blames herself. Sixteen years after her death, Sylvie hasn't quite moved on but hasn't been back to her hometown since her sisters death. Her mother became an reclusive alcoholic that hasn't been there for Sylvie since that awful day. But when her mother becomes ill she moves in with her to help take care of her. At the hospital Sylvie runs into Persephone's ex-boyfriend and the one that Sylvie believes killed her sister. Her mother refuses to talk to her, the police say they did everything they could to solve the crime, and the ex screams his innocence. Somebody killed her sister and got away with it, so Sylvie sets out to learn the truth.....finally. I did enjoy the mystery. Everyone has secrets and a lot has been covered up. So you never know who is telling the truth. The only thing I really felt was kind of blah was when the murderer was revealed. I didn't think that it should have happened the way it did. After 16 years of being kept secret and the way it was just blurted out, well, it didn't seem to be realistic. Overall, it was a good book and I would check out more from this author.*Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    Tl;dr: The Winter Sister may start off on familiar mystery/thriller lines but veers deep and dark with its unflinching look at the devastation wrought by belief in all-consuming love, grabbing you by the neck and forcing you to look at the wreckage it makes.The Winter Sister left me absolutely furious and despairing by the end--and I think that's the point of this debut novel. It doesn't want to soothe you with a happy ending or even a happy-ish one. It would rather punch you in the throat and h Tl;dr: The Winter Sister may start off on familiar mystery/thriller lines but veers deep and dark with its unflinching look at the devastation wrought by belief in all-consuming love, grabbing you by the neck and forcing you to look at the wreckage it makes.The Winter Sister left me absolutely furious and despairing by the end--and I think that's the point of this debut novel. It doesn't want to soothe you with a happy ending or even a happy-ish one. It would rather punch you in the throat and hiss "Look!"To which I say, "Yes, please!"It does start off on familiar ground--thirty year old Sylvie, who lives in a careful bubble of nothingness with a job and life she's not that interested in, is summoned home by the aunt who basically raised her after Annie, Sylvie's mother, fell apart fourteen years ago when Sylvie's older sister, Persephone, was murdered. It's for the reason you think--Annie has esophageal cancer, and will most likely die.So Sylvie returns home, back to a mother who ceased to notice her or anyone or anything except vodka and pills after Persephone's murder. Sylvie doesn't want anything to do with her mother or the town she left behind when she went to art school. Upon her arrival, her mother is not interested in her or her cancer treatment. Recently sober, she is, at best, sarcastic and rude. At her worst, she continues to do what she's always done for as long as Sylvie can remember--locks herself away in her bedroom and refuses to come out. These periods of rejection and isolation used to occur every month, and Persephone had named them the "Dark Days." As for the town, it's still the same too--small, insular, and there's still no real effort to find Persephone's murderer. Sylvie isn't surprised by that either though. She's convinced Persephone's then boyfriend, Ben, was the killer--but that he will never be brought to justice because his family is "the" town family, storied, rich, and untouchable.Ben is, naturally, still in town and working as a nurse at the hospital where Sylvie takes her mother for chemotherapy. In between hunting down a copy of Wuthering Heights for her mother to read, she deals with Ben, who insists he didn't kill Persephone, and thinks the creepy neighbor kid, Tommy, who lived nearby and was "obsessed,"did.Yes, this all seems pretty standard. But here is also where Megan Collins goes deep and dark.Let's start with Ben. He's not a bad guy who has secretly got a heart of gold and is really a big softie. He's a deeply messed up man who drifted into being a nurse after returning home to live with his father on the "family property" for money after deciding impoverished life on his own wasn't cutting it.That doesn't sound so bad? Ok. Well, check this: Sylvie drifted into her job as a tattoo artist because she used to paint designs onto Persephone's bruised body after she saw Ben. Yeah, but Persephone's secret lover/murderer was the one who really bruised her. Right? Right?Nope. No secret lover/murderer in The Winter Sister, and Ben put those bruises on Persephone. ( (spoiler reason) why he did it is interesting--we'll get back to it*)Ben is one of the reasons The Winter Sister works--he does want to be a decent guy but has no idea how. A lifetime of being taken care of no matter what and messed up family dynamics have left him prone to feeling before thinking, and he's also never gotten over Persephone's death. In short, he's a powder keg and Sylvie is the fuse.Speaking of Persephone, Annie can't even bear to say her name, much less discuss her with Sylvie. Although when pushed, she reveals that she's done many of the (many) awful things she's done because she loved Persephone. In fact, she even pushed Persephone away when she was alive and favored Sylvie because she loved Persephone the best.Yes. She totally did it, totally believes it was for the best, and can't understand how destroyed that makes Sylvie feel. (Though, to be fair, it's clear to even Sylvie that she ceased to exist to her mother as soon as Persephone went missing)And that's the tip of the iceberg where Annie is concerned. Let's just say she puts the T in toxic parent, and could replace Narcissus as the picture for narcissism in the dictionary.I want to talk about so much more about what happens, but I can't because (spoiler) and then (spoiler) and then (spoiler!!) and then the final showdown. That last one is obvious but it still works, especially in light of how (spoiler!! aka "hi! enormous and uncomfortable mess!!") is going to result in whatever peace may have been found by a lot of freaking out followed by what should be 87,545, 543 years in therapy but, given the world Megan Collins has created, is unlikely to happen.But I can say this spoiler free--where most authors would have taken the genre plot and made Persephone's killer be who it is, there are very few authors who would have had the murder be so horribly, terribly meaningless.Yes, I mean meaningless. By the time Persephone is murdered, the reason why she is has already happened (and often, and for months) and isn't, in the end, even really about her at all, which is one of the reasons I finished The Winter Sister feeling hollowed out and reeling.Persephone dies because Annie is convinced she is part of a grand and tragic love story, one that caused her "dark days," one that has, in fact, colored most of her life, ruined Persephone's, and has driven Sylvie's so far into the ground I don't think she'll ever see the sun again. There's a reason Annie reads Wuthering Heights, and it's with Annie's belief that she's a modern day Cathy and (spoiler) is her Heathcliff that she manages to ruin her life and cause Persephone's death and ruin most of Sylvie's life.One of the things that I don't like about Wuthering Heights is that it's regarded as a love story. I don't think it is. It's about obsession, definitely. It's also about two people behaving horribly to everyone around them and making the next generation* suffer. Persephone is the obvious sufferer, but in the end, I think the least damaged. By the time The Winter Sister ends, the two main characters have already suffered and well--I don't see an end to it in sight anytime soon. Annie might not have killed Persephone, but she doomed her by loving herself and her twisted version of love more than herself and her daughters. Persephone of myth got to return to the living every year, but the Persephone of The Winter Sister never will and I'm not sure Sylvie truly can herself. Ditto for Ben. Okay, that was long even for me but The Winter Sister really got to me. A lot. Highly recommended.
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  • Jan
    January 1, 1970
    Pretty solid domestic thriller that kept me entertained. I'm still wavering between 3.5 to 4 stars...this was good, but not very memorable. (I made the mistake of waiting 2 weeks to write this review and I'm paying the price now as I dig to remember the highs and lows.)What I remember I liked:-The mystery had me hooked-There were some nice surprises that I didn't expectWhat I remember not being crazy about:-Sylvie's mother-too much of a stretch for things to have gone like they did without any i Pretty solid domestic thriller that kept me entertained. I'm still wavering between 3.5 to 4 stars...this was good, but not very memorable. (I made the mistake of waiting 2 weeks to write this review and I'm paying the price now as I dig to remember the highs and lows.)What I remember I liked:-The mystery had me hooked-There were some nice surprises that I didn't expectWhat I remember not being crazy about:-Sylvie's mother-too much of a stretch for things to have gone like they did without any intervention.-The ending was a bit too pat for me.Would I recommend? Yes, especially since this is a debut novel. While it didn't knock my socks off, it held my interest and I will definitely be watching to see what she comes up with next.ARC provided by NetGalley
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  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
    January 1, 1970
    I was looking forward to reading The Winter Sister. I love books about cold cases and this book about a young woman's unsolved murder intrigued me. I love reading thrillers and I found this book to be very easy to read. In fact, I breezed through it on a single evening, with even impressed myself. I'm a fast reader, but in this case and in other cases is it just that the story isn't overly complex so that I pretty much can skim the text quickly and still without any problem get the gist. It's pr I was looking forward to reading The Winter Sister. I love books about cold cases and this book about a young woman's unsolved murder intrigued me. I love reading thrillers and I found this book to be very easy to read. In fact, I breezed through it on a single evening, with even impressed myself. I'm a fast reader, but in this case and in other cases is it just that the story isn't overly complex so that I pretty much can skim the text quickly and still without any problem get the gist. It's probably a gift that I acquired since my days of studying. LOLAnyhow, as I stated before isn't it an overly complex story. We have Sylvie the surviving sister, guilt-ridden who travels home to take of her sick mother. Her mother hasn't truly been the same person since Persephone was murdered and their relationship is not what it used to. Sylvie starts to unravel the mystery surrounding her sister's death. There are not many suspects, and the red herrings were pretty easy to spot and the book just doesn't have that many surprises. It's simply a decent thriller. Hence, the rating. If the story had grabbed me more, the character moved me more had I been able to give a higher rating. As it is, it's just an OK thriller, the story kept my interest up all the way to the end and I felt that the ending was if not that surprising at least satisfying.I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!
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  • Patricia Romero
    January 1, 1970
    At 14, Sylvie's older sister, Persephone sneaks out of their bedroom window to meet a boy. Sylvie saw her sister get into her boyfriend, Ben's, car. Three days later her dead body is found in the snow. And no one has been charged with her murder.Her once close bond with her mother disappeared the same day. She crawled into a bottle of Vodka and Sylvie went to live with her aunt. At age 30, Sylvie has an art degree but is working as a tattoo artist and living with crippling guilt and a lot of que At 14, Sylvie's older sister, Persephone sneaks out of their bedroom window to meet a boy. Sylvie saw her sister get into her boyfriend, Ben's, car. Three days later her dead body is found in the snow. And no one has been charged with her murder.Her once close bond with her mother disappeared the same day. She crawled into a bottle of Vodka and Sylvie went to live with her aunt. At age 30, Sylvie has an art degree but is working as a tattoo artist and living with crippling guilt and a lot of questions.As if getting laid off isn't enough drama, a phone call from her Aunt Jill puts her right back into her childhood home with a mother now stricken with cancer, but sober. Things are tense. Sylvie is frustrated and haunted by the murder of her sister and no one being held responsible. Meeting up with Persephone's old boyfriend at the cancer center shocks her to her core. She has always believed he killed her sister, but now she isn't so sure.Digging into the past she will find shocking secrets kept by her mother and her sister. She will come face to face with a killer but she isn't about to back away from getting answers.Even after I had my own suspicions about what was going on the writing was just so good I barely came up for air. This story asks the question exactly how well do we know our mothers, our sisters? And how one decision can shape so many lives over so many years. The writing is so smooth, it carries you right along through the good, the bad and the really ugly. The characters are real and deeply flawed in some cases. As a debut novel, I don't think you can get much better!Well Done!Netgalley/ February 5th 2019 by Touchstone/ Atria Books
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  • Wendy Walker
    January 1, 1970
    Awesome - loved! Here is my "official" review.Atmospheric and tragic, The Winter Sister brilliantly weaves together a gripping, suspenseful plot with a compelling character study of a grieving family. From the mysterious mother with a hidden past, to the guilt-ridden sister who now must solve her sister’s murder years ago, these characters will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page. Wonderful!
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  • Book of the Month
    January 1, 1970
    Why I love itby Brianna GoodmanWe take our thrillers seriously here at BOTM because a) we know how much our readers love them, and b) we want to offer the best of the best. We start with a massive list and review them one by one until we find a book that boasts the magical trifecta: believable characters, a hefty dose of suspense, and a story that keeps you guessing till the end. The Winter Sister, I am pleased to say, checks all of these boxes.Sixteen years after the unsolved murder of her sist Why I love itby Brianna GoodmanWe take our thrillers seriously here at BOTM because a) we know how much our readers love them, and b) we want to offer the best of the best. We start with a massive list and review them one by one until we find a book that boasts the magical trifecta: believable characters, a hefty dose of suspense, and a story that keeps you guessing till the end. The Winter Sister, I am pleased to say, checks all of these boxes.Sixteen years after the unsolved murder of her sister, Sylvie is making ends meet as a tattoo artist when she’s called home to care for her estranged mother. When Sylvie learns that her mother’s cancer nurse is Ben, the forbidden boyfriend whom her sister was out with the night she was murdered, Sylvie finds herself thrown back into the events of her past.With mysteries, it’s tempting to skip ahead and find out whodunit, but here I found myself far more invested in experiencing the characters’ lives in real time. I sympathized with Sylvie, still riddled with guilt over her sister’s fate. I felt the tense reunion of a mother and daughter whose relationship was destroyed by their mutual loss. I watched with suspicion as Sylvie encountered unsettling figures from her past, and I relished one clue after another until this ice-cold case was put to bed. This is a skillful debut from a new voice in suspense—one whose story will haunt you for days.Read more at: https://bookofthemonth.com/the-winter...
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  • ☮Karen
    January 1, 1970
    After feeling pretty lukewarm about this story, then seeing all the 5 star ratings it has received, I know I am the outlier here. The whole story felt forced to me, had a very "young adult" vibe, and the solving of the murder of Persephone (Really? Persephone?) didn't make a lot of sense.So I guess this just wasn't for me. It obviously is a hit with most readers, however. Thank you to Atria Books/Simon & Schuster for inviting me to read and review this through NetGalley.
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  • Donna Hines
    January 1, 1970
    The cycle of abuse runs deep between a father and son and perhaps the father and his secret lover.Well, I'll tell you this is the edge of the seat thriller that had me up till wee hours of the morn.Sylvie's sister Persephone never came back home after a night with her boyfriend Ben roughly sixteen years ago.Now her sister is searching for answers and Sylvie won't stop till she unscrambles this web of lies and deceit that has gone on long enough.Sylvie is tending to her ailing and estranged mothe The cycle of abuse runs deep between a father and son and perhaps the father and his secret lover.Well, I'll tell you this is the edge of the seat thriller that had me up till wee hours of the morn.Sylvie's sister Persephone never came back home after a night with her boyfriend Ben roughly sixteen years ago.Now her sister is searching for answers and Sylvie won't stop till she unscrambles this web of lies and deceit that has gone on long enough.Sylvie is tending to her ailing and estranged mother Annie who is undergoing cancer treatment (ironically Ben is a nurse at the same cancer center).Ben Emory isn't as peachy clean as we'd hope but it goes like this, " Like Father Like Son".He had a rough upbringing and while that's not an excuse for abuse of any kind it does lead one to stray from the norm.Ben has shown signs of deception about Persephone's disappearance but has kept hush.Now we learn he's not the only one keeping secrets as Annie is also on the hot seat.As the information trickles out and the twists start arriving the power players are set into action.What if the biological parent has his/her own secrets that could tear an entire family apart?Holy smokes get this and quick...Loved it!Thank you to Megan, her publisher, NetGalley, and Aldiko for this ARC in exchange for this honest review.
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  • Liz Barnsley
    January 1, 1970
    The Winter Sister is a beautifully written family drama and psychological thriller that has a cast of highly intriguing characters, an emotionally resonant storyline and an edgy literary vibe that really involves the reader in this intricate familial web.Sylvie returns home years after her Sister’s murder, to look after her Mother who is battling cancer. The relationship between these two is strained and unpredictable, both are hiding things surrounding the killing of Persephone, the once loving The Winter Sister is a beautifully written family drama and psychological thriller that has a cast of highly intriguing characters, an emotionally resonant storyline and an edgy literary vibe that really involves the reader in this intricate familial web.Sylvie returns home years after her Sister’s murder, to look after her Mother who is battling cancer. The relationship between these two is strained and unpredictable, both are hiding things surrounding the killing of Persephone, the once loving mother daughter bond dissolved. As the story unfolds, layer upon layer of secrets fall away until Sylvie is left with the stark, horrific truth.This was a complex character study, extraordinarily fascinating especially in the very different perceptions of the Sisters when it comes to their Mother. Annie is hugely secretive and obviously damaged, Sylvie in her childhood memories gets that across even as she struggles to understand it herself.The mystery element is very much secondary to the exploration of parent/child relationships and the events that can form a personality.  Who killed Persephone is all tied up in the forming of bonds, the choices we make and the different ways we define love.It was excellent. Disturbing, intelligent and hugely addictive, with a strong emotional sense, The Winter Sister works on many levels.Recommended.
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