Review: Sisters and Lies – Bernice Barrington

Published by Penguin Ireland

ebook and paperback: 24 March 2016

One hot August night, Rachel Power gets the call everyone fears. It’s the police. Her younger sister Evie’s had a car crash, she’s in a coma. Can Rachel fly to London right away? With Evie injured and comatose, Rachel is left to pick up the pieces of her sister’s life. But it’s hard fitting them together, especially when she really doesn’t like what she sees. Why was Evie driving when she doesn’t even own a licence? Who is the man living in her flat and claiming Evie is his girlfriend? How come she has never heard of him? The more mysteries Rachel uncovers the more she starts asking herself how well she ever really knew her sister. And then she begins to wonder if the crash was really the accident everybody says it is. Back in hospital, Evie, trapped inside an unresponsive body, is desperately trying to wake up. Because she’s got an urgent message for Rachel – a warning which could just save both their lives . . .

Sisters Rachel and Evie are not as close as they could be, especially following their mother’s death and it is only after Evie is involved in a car crash and lying in a coma that Rachel realises there is so much about her sister’s life that she doesn’t know. The more she delves into Evie’s life, the more lies and secrets she uncovers – it was unclear whether Evie was even driving the car at the time. Nobody seems to know what happened and the police seem to be unconcerned about any suspicious circumstances.

Whilst Rachel is trying to find out what really happened, Evie, from her hospital bed, is desperately trying to recall her memories of the time leading up to her accident; she may be unable to speak or to move but she can sense people around her, hear conversations and is alert to danger. Gradually, from seeing past and present events from both points of view, we get a more rounded and detailed insight into Evie’s life and the suspense builds up.

The two sisters have very different personalities and both have their personal issues to deal with. I found myself becoming more sympathetic to Evie, being the more fragile and vulnerable of the two. Rachel was capable and very determined in her quest to find out the truth, although there was something about her manner that grated on me a little, she seemed too quick to jump to conclusions and didn’t give people the chance to explain.

This was a very intriguing and accomplished debut from Bernice Barrington. Having Evie narrate her own story, albeit whilst comatose, actually works quite well and although there are times when the story slows a little, the suspense still builds up as I wondered exactly what was going on in Evie’s life and who was telling the truth. I had my suspicions about certain people but with each new reveal and twist I kept changing my mind.

A very enjoyable and tense read that kept the suspense going right up to the very end. Bernice Barrington is certainly an author to look out for in future and I look forward to reading more.

My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the e-copy to review.

About the author:

Bernice Barrington grew up on a farm in north Longford. Her passion has always been for stories and she created her first publication, The White Elephant magazine, at eleven. She studied English and German at Trinity College, completed an MA in writing and then became a journalist. She continued to write fiction in her spare time. Sisters and Lies is her first novel. She lives in Dalkey, Co Dublin with her husband.

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