Book Review: The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth

The Good Sister…

About the Book:

From the outside, everyone might think Fern and Rose are as close as twin sisters can be: Rose is the responsible one, with a home and a husband and a fierce desire to become a mother. Fern is the quirky one, the free spirit, the librarian who avoids social interaction and whom the world might just describe as truly odd. But the sisters are devoted to one another and Rose has always been Fern’s protector from the time they were small.

Fern needed protecting because their mother was a true sociopath who hid her true nature from the world, and only Rose could see it. Fern always saw the good in everyone. Years ago, Fern did something very, very bad. And Rose has never told a soul. When Fern decides to help her sister achieve her heart’s desire of having a baby, Rose realizes with growing horror that Fern might make choices that can only have a terrible outcome. What Rose doesn’t realize is that Fern is growing more and more aware of the secrets Rose, herself, is keeping. And that their mother might have the last word after all.

Spine tingling, creepy, utterly compelling and unpredictable, The Good Sister is about the ties that bind sisters together…and about the madness that lurks where you least expect it.

My Thoughts:

A twisting tale of manipulation and sibling rivalry gone mad, nothing is quite as it seems in The Good Sister. Twins Rose and Fern are close, yet from the outset, I felt a certain toxicity to the relationship, a razor sharp edge of manipulation and control. Something was off with these twins, and very early on in the story, I started to have an inkling as to what it was. Nevertheless, don’t be fooled by this show of hand so early, this psychological thriller is less about the astonishing reveal and more about the long game.

Fern instantly endeared herself to me and then once Wally was on the scene, the deal was well and truly sealed in terms of who was my favourite twin and who was not. Fern has sensory issues, in that, she has hypersensitive senses, so things like bright lights, loud noises, crowds, changes in temperature and people touching her, just to list a few as an example, make life incredibly challenging for her. She can’t cope in these situations, and for the most part, she uses avoidance strategies to deal with this. When she meets Wally, she soon realises that she may have just met a kindred spirit.

As I mentioned above, Sally shows her hand quite early on in this story in terms of what might be going on. It’s nothing as obvious as a big reveal, more an element of sustained dread that takes root and just continues to build as the story progresses. I felt like this was deliberate, a way of steering us, as readers, into fully appreciating what life must be like for Fern. Just as we could see what was going on, so could some of the other characters in Fern’s life. For Fern however, the extent of the manipulations she had been subjected to rendered her incapable of fully comprehending the danger she was in until it was almost too late. She simply couldn’t see what we could. Therefore, I do think this was less ‘obvious plot reveal’ and more ‘intentional plot mastering’.

This story is an excellent case study in vulnerability. It’s also a cautionary tale about hidden depths and dangerous minds. Fans of Sally Hepworth will enjoy this latest release and if you are new to her work, this one is sure to turn you into a fan.


Thanks is extended to St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a copy of The Good Sister for review.

About the Author:

Sally Hepworth has lived around the world, spending extended periods in Singapore, the United Kingdom and Canada, where she worked in event management and human resources. She is the author of The Secrets of Midwives, The Things We Keep, The Mother’s Promise, The Family Next Door and The Mother-in-Law.
Sally now lives in Melbourne, with her husband, three children and one adorable dog.

The Good Sister
Published by Macmillan Australia
Released 27th October 2020

10 thoughts on “Book Review: The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth

  1. Hepworth has had a few books that feature toxic relationships which tend to resolve themselves as characters learn more about each other, but by the sound of this, this is a departure in style.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This book was brilliant. Hooked at the first page. Anyone who enjoyed “The Rosie Project”, “Eleanor Oliphant” or “Three Wishes” will enjoy this. Bit darker though. Thanks so much for the review. Wonderful to discover another Aussie author to familiarise myself with.

    Liked by 2 people

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