This post is hours and hours late because yesterday was a hell of a day. But alas, my review for the Literary Ladies Book of the Month.
Secret Sisters by Jayne Ann Krentz
Published: December 8, 2015 by Berkley
Genre: Adult, Suspense, Mystery, Romance
Secret Sisters is an suspense novel set nearly two decades after a tragic event involving two best friends. Circumstances bring Madeline back to scene and she has to relive her past while also figuring out the present.
so Judging You
All of My Thoughts
Cute is not the word I'd used to describe a novel that starts off with a truly jarring scene from a terrifying point-of-view. But it's also kind of the best word I've got in this case. What I had originally began as an incredibly heavy story turned surprisingly, and fortunately, lighter.
So let's talk about that rating, huh? I vacillated between stars (part of the reason why I'm a bit late with this review) for a little while. I find that I've become quite a critical reader, especially when it comes to reading adult novels or genres I don't typically read - that's two counts for this adult suspense novel. Sam from Thoughts On Tomes hit it on the head in her recent video: I think reading more has made me more critical. And if I'm going out of my comfort zone for a book, it better damn well blow me away. And as much as I enjoyed Secret Sisters, blow away I was not.
I'm not sure if it's because I'm generally a YA reader (where characteristics are dwelled on heavily), but I found these characters to be lacking on the development department. I did however like most of what we did get. Like Jack, Madeline's security guy, and his interaction with her. He's strong, secure and unreadable but can somehow read Madeline perfectly, even when she'd rather he not be able to. It's frequently those who see through our bullshit that we need the most. I also really like Madeline's grandmother Edith. I can always appreciate when an author fleshes a character out fully on the page, even when they aren't actually in the scene, and Krentz did that very well with Edith, who had died before the story even begins. The thing that ranked this novel lower for me was the main character, Madeline. I didn't like her very much, and I so desperately wanted to. And she's not supposed to be that protagonist you don't really like (a la Holden Caulfield). I think she's intended to be liked and sympathized with, and rooted for. And although I did sympathize, greatly, and I also rooted for her on some levels, I didn't like her. I also didn't feel her connection to her 'secret sister', probably because we never actually saw how close they were. I cared about what happened to her due to her circumstances not her character, and I'm not sure if that was a result of her actual character or the writing, but nevertheless, it stands.
That said, the circumstances and the writing completely make this story. It's like a little girl who dreams of being a prima ballerina but tragedy befalls her early on. So long as she doesn't turn into a terror during the journey, you enjoy the ride and want a positive outcome for her at the end. And you continue reading her story because you want to know that she ends up okay. Although the writing was a bit rout sometimes, especially when it came to dialogue, I did really enjoy how easy the reading was. I sat down and read this book one afternoon and when I finally looked up, it was dinner time and I'd turned the last digital page.
Getting to the point
If you read along with us, what did you think of Secret Sisters? Also, what are your thoughts on reading more critically as we read more?
The Literary Ladies' next book of the month is You Had Me At Hello by Mhairi McFarlane, whose title and cover have already sold me. I expect romance and I expect comedy from this story of "the one that got away," and I'm not quite sure if that has something to do with Jerry Maguire :) Hope you'll join us!