the night sister

The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon

The Night Sister's opening chapter is a fantastic beginning. Much of what the reader has the pleasure of puzzling out throughout the novel is poised within that first chapter. 

The narrative shifts between three different time periods. The first chapter is 2013, when (almost) an entire family is brutally murdered. Piper and her sister, Margot, don't believe that Amy, the mother of the family, could've done it, as it is believed. While Margot is laid up on late-pregnancy bedrest, Piper gets to know Amy's surviving daughter. We see Margot, Piper, and Amy when they were young teenage friends in the summer of 1989. Amy's mother, Rose, and her sister, Sylvie, inhabit the late 1950s.   

Although there isn't a large cast of characters I did, for some time, have a bit of difficulty keeping the timelines and relationships straight. I'm not really sure why this was, as the familial structure was rather simple. 

I've always been intrigued by McMahon's backlist and finally read The Winter People last year and wanted to try her again. This novel did not come across as scary to me as Winter did but I liked it at least as much for the characters, the timelines, and the supernatural elements. I am still interested in her previous works and I do believe that from now on I will read each new book as it comes out, to keep up. 

*Advanced reader's copy provided by Doubleday.