Welcome to the first day of the blog tour for My Secret Sister by Lauren Westwood. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour and for my digital review copy. Do check out the posts by my tour buddies for today, Shari at My Reading Getaway and writer and blogger, Jessica Belmont.
There’s also a giveaway (open internationally) with a chance to win one of five e-copies of My Secret Sister. Enter via the Rafflecopter link here.
Giveaway terms and conditions:
- Open to entrants aged 18 or over.
- The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email.
- If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner.
- Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.
- I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
About the Book
Two DNA tests, one big lie…
“As I speed off in the ambulance holding my daughter’s hand, I wonder how I could have been so stupid. I should have made the bargain, paid the price – anything to avoid being right here, right now. A voice whispers in my head that I can’t silence. This is all your fault. You killed her. It’s her voice, the one I hear in my nightmares. The woman who stole my memories, the woman who stole my life. And, this time, I know she’s right.”
How far would you go to save your child?
Claire is living every mother’s worst nightmare. Her daughter, Jess, has been diagnosed with a rare illness and desperately needs a bone marrow transplant. With no match on the registry, Claire turns to a charismatic geneticist for help and embarks on a Genetic Journey to seek a familial match for her daughter.
On the other side of the country, Marianne suffers her eighth miscarriage. Her perfect life is rotting underneath, but she is determined to do whatever it takes to have a baby.
When DNA test results reveal that Claire and Marianne are half-sisters, Claire must face the dark lies of the past and make impossible choices about the future. Is her secret sister the answer to her prayers, or will she cost her everything?
Format: Paperback (426 pages) Publisher: N/A
Publication date: 11th September 2021 Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Find My Secret Sister on Goodreads
Link provided for convenience only, not as part of an affiliate programme
The events that unfold in My Secret Sister are narrated from the points of view of Marianne, Claire and Claire’s daughter, Becky. Marianne seems to have everything – a successful career as a lawyer, a lovely home – everything except the one thing she craves: a child. Multiple unsuccessful rounds of IVF treatment have left her physically and emotionally drianed, and have caused friction in her marriage to Tom. Claire’s life revolves around her youngest daughter Jess, leaving little time for her career, her husband Steve or her elder daughter, Becky.
In fact, Becky was the character I empathised with most. She feels left out because, understandably, all her mother’s attention is on her sister and guilty because she cannot help her sister. I really felt for her when she overhears her mother refer to her as ‘useless’ and doesn’t realise this relates only to her not being a suitable match for donating her bone marrow. With Jess confined to bed for much of the time, Becky finds herself on the frontline in the increasing conflict between her mother and her father, Steve. As she says, ‘I’m like a refugee caught between two warring armies’. It would have been interesting to hear the perspective of Jess herself. She’s at the heart of things but we never hear her thoughts and feelings directly.
My Secret Sister is definitely a female dominated book with both Marianne’s husband, Tom, and Claire’s husband, Steve, being less than supportive for much of the time. And I couldn’t quite share Claire and Marianne’s attraction to the ‘charismatic geneticist’, Dave, founder of MyStory, who provides the initial concidental link between the two women.
The book gradually builds to the development clearly trailed in the book description. From that point on it’s all about the consequences of the revelation and its impact on those involved. Towards the end of the book, the drama really kicks in with misfortune following misfortune, misstep following misstep and those involved enduring a ‘rollercoaster of moods and emotions’. An unexpected appearance towards the end of the book may come as a surprise to many but not, I think, to everyone.
Making DNA testing a central feature of the book allows the author to explore both its positive and negative aspects in a really interesting way. The way it can reveal previously unknown connections between people, provide insights into family history and heritage, even, as in the case, of Jess provide a literal lifeline. However, as the book demonstrates, it can also uncover unwelcome secrets that may cause a complete reassessment of what you thought you knew, the person you thought you were, as well as the people you thought you knew.
My Secret Sister is a perceptive and insightful exploration of the impact on personal relationships of potentially life-limiting illness and infertility on a family. How such challenges can threaten marriages, cause friction within families and make people act out of character, unthinkingly saying and doing things they may later regret. If you love to immerse yourself in an intense family drama, My Secret Sister may be just the book for you.
In three words: Emotional, dramatic, intense
Try something similar: Everything Happens For A Reason by Katie Allen
About the Author
Lauren writes: My books explore the darkness and the light of the human spirit, and take you on an emotional journey. My Sister’s Secret is a tense and emotional drama about a mother’s race against time to save her daughter’s life. My Mother’s Silence is a gripping and romantic drama about homecoming and family secrets set in the wild Scottish highlands. It was shortlisted for the Jackie Collins Romantic Thriller Award 2020. The Daughter She Lost is a dark journey of self-discovery and overcoming the secrets of the past. My holiday romance Moonlight on the Thames is a love story to classical music and the healing power of love. It was a bestseller in urban fiction and top 100 Kindle book. My first three novels: Finding Home, Finding Secrets and Finding Dreams all feature mysterious old houses and intelligent, feisty contemporary heroines who set out to unravel the mysteries of the past. I also write award winning children’s books as Laurel Remington. I am originally from California, and now live in Surrey, UK with my partner and three daughters.