Blog Tour/Book Review: My Sister, Myself by Jill Treseder

My Sister Myself Blog Tour Poster

I’m delighted to be hosting today’s stop on the blog tour for My Sister, Myself by Jill Treseder.  Thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the tour and to publishers, SilverWood Books, for my review copy.


My Sister MyselfAbout the Book

Hungary, 1956 – Russian tanks brutally crush the revolution against the Communist regime. Sisters Katalin and Marika escape Budapest with their family and settle in London.

However, the past is not so easily left behind. Their father is a wanted man, and the sisters’ relationship hangs in the balance. Their futures are shaped by loss. For Katalin, this means the failure of her ambition and a devastating discovery; for Marika, an equally heart-breaking experience.

Caught between their Hungarian heritage and their new lives in Britain, the sisters struggle to reconnect. Family secrets are exposed, jeopardising Katalin’s and Marika’s identities.

Can their relationship survive war, division and grief?

Format: Paperback, ebook (258 pp.)    Publisher: SilverWood Books
Published: 31st July 2018   Genre: Fiction

Purchase Links*
Amazon.co.uk  ǀ  Amazon.com  ǀ Hive.co.uk (supporting UK bookshops)
*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme

Find My Sister, Myself on Goodreads


My Review

From the book description, I think I was expecting much more of the book to deal with events in Hungary during a particularly turbulent, violent and repressive period of its history.  What there was, the author conveyed in vivid, often shocking detail, making one wonder what lasting impact witnessing such sights must had have on children like Katalin and Marika.   Katalin’s journey with her father across the border to Austria I found a particularly compelling section of the book.

In telling the story of Marika and Katalin, the author has made some interesting stylistic choices, such as having the sections from Katalin’s point of view told in third person and those from Marika’s point of view in first person.  Personally, because I had direct access to her thoughts and feelings, this meant I felt more engagement with Marika than with Katalin.  In addition, there were switches from past to present tense (sometimes within the same chapter), with memories from the past being written in the present tense and those in the present in the past tense.  In the opening chapters, I found this a little confusing; I had to reread those chapters to ensure I’d got the timelines straight in my mind.  Klara, Marika’s and Katalin’s aunt, is introduced as an additional narrative voice once the family arrive in England.  This  did provide an interesting independent perspective on the two sisters’ behaviour and relationship.

If I didn’t learn as much about events in post-war Hungary as I had expected, the author certainly delivered a thought-provoking, emotionally charged depiction of the often troubled relationship between two sisters.  From their quarrelsome and fractious childhood to the misunderstandings of their teenage years, the reader gets a compelling insight into how their early experiences shaped them and affected their hopes, fears and dreams.  The revelation that occurs part way through the book wasn’t a particular surprise to me (the very subtle signposting by the author was there for an observant reader) although the reaction to it certainly was.

My Sister, Myself is an intriguing story about identity, family ties, divided loyalties, displacement, loneliness, the experience of being an outsider and of trying to find your place in a world that seems unfamiliar, hostile or just plain confusing.

I received a review copy courtesy of publishers, SilverWood Books, and Random Things Tours.

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In three words: Thought-provoking, emotional, intimate

Try something similar…Shadows on the Grass by Misha M. Herwin (read my review here)


Jill Treseder Author PictureAbout the Author

Jill writes: ‘I started writing in a red shiny exercise book when I was seven years old. But in that time and place it was an ‘invalid’ activity, was overlooked, but never went away. It was many years before I felt able to call myself ‘writer’.

But there came a day when the phrase ‘I am a writer’ no longer sounded pretentious, but legitimate, and even necessary. Was it because I had a writing room instead of the corner of a landing? Or because I spent more time writing? Or because I’d got better at it? Or because I get miserable and bad-tempered if I don’t write? Probably a combination of all of the above.

Writing is my third career. The first was as a social worker with children and families, a job I loved, but left because I could no longer cope with the system.

This led to a freelance career as an independent management consultant, helping people to handle emotions in the work context. I worked in the IT industry, in companies large and small, as well as public organisations. Later I became involved in research projects concerned with the multi-disciplinary approach to social problems such as child abuse. So, in a sense, I had come full-circle. All these experiences feed into the process of writing fiction, while my non-fiction book, The Wise Woman Within, resulted indirectly from the consultancy work and my subsequent PhD thesis, ‘Bridging Incommensurable Paradigms’, which is available from the School of Management at the University of Bath.

I live in Devon and visit Cornwall frequently and these land and seascapes are powerful influences which demand a presence in my writing.

Writers’ groups and workshops are a further invaluable source of inspiration and support and I attend various groups locally and sign up for creative courses in stunning locations whenever I can. I try doing writing practice at home but there is no substitute for the focus and discipline achieved among others in a group.

I have written some short stories and recently signed up for a short story writing course to explore this genre in more depth.

I live with my husband in South Devon and enjoy being involved in a lively local community.

Connect with Jill

Website  ǀ  Facebook  ǀ  Twitter  ǀ  Goodreads

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WWW Wednesdays – 12th December ‘18

WWWWednesdays

Hosted by Taking on a World of Words, this meme is all about the three Ws:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Why not join in too?  Leave a comment with your link at Taking on a World of Words and then go blog hopping!


Currently reading

So Much Life Left OverSo Much Life Left Over by Louis de Bernières (hardcover)

A sweeping, heartbreaking novel following Daniel in his troubled marriage with Rosie as they navigate the unsettled time between the World Wars.

Rosie and Daniel have moved to Ceylon with their little daughter to start a new life at the dawn of the 1920s, attempting to put the trauma of the First World War behind them, and to rekindle a marriage that gets colder every day. However, even in the lush plantation hills it is hard for them to escape the ties of home and the yearning for fulfilment that threatens their marriage.

Back in England, Rosie’s three sisters are dealing with different challenges in their searches for family, purpose and happiness. These are precarious times, and they find themselves using unconventional means to achieve their desires. Around them the world is changing, and when Daniel finds himself in Germany he witnesses events taking a dark and forbidding turn.

By turns humorous and tragic, gripping and touching, So Much Life Left Over follows a cast of unique and captivating characters as they navigate the extraordinary interwar years both in England and abroad.

SympathySympathy by Olivia Sudjic (paperback)

At twenty-three, Alice Hare leaves England for New York. She falls in love with Manhattan, and becomes fixated on Mizuko Himura, an intriguing Japanese writer whose life has strange parallels to her own.

As Alice closes in on Mizuko, her ‘internet twin’, realities multiply and fact and fiction begin to blur. The relationship between the two women exposes a tangle of lies and sexual encounters. Three families collide as Alice learns that the swiftest answer to an ancient question – where do we come from? – can now be found online.


Recently finished (click on title for review)

The Cold North SeaThe Cold North Sea (Ingo Finch Mystery #2) by Jeff Dawson (eARC, courtesy of Canelo and NetGalley)

A game of spies, a brutal murder, the fate of an Empire…

The North Sea, October 1904 – When Russian warships bombard the Hull trawler fleet, killing innocent fishermen, public outrage pushes Britain and Russia to the brink of war, the sparks from which could inflame the entire Continent.

Doctor Ingo Finch, once of the Royal Army Medical Corps, is long done with military adventuring. But when a stranger seeks him out, citing a murderous conspiracy behind the infamous “Dogger Bank Incident”, Finch is drawn back into the dark world of espionage.

With Whitehall, St Petersburg and rival Bolsheviks vying to manipulate the political crisis, the future of Britain, and Europe, is at stake… (Review to follow.)

The Salt of the EarthThe Salt of the Earth by Józef Wittlin, trans. by Patrick Corness (eARC, courtesy of Pushkin Press and NetGalley)

At the beginning of the twentieth century the villagers of the Carpathian mountains lead a simple life, much as they have always done. The modern world has yet to reach the inhabitants of this isolated and remote region of the Habsburg Empire. Among them is Piotr, a bandy-legged peasant, who wants nothing more from life than an official railway cap, a cottage with a mouse-trap and cheese, and a bride with a dowry.

But then the First World War comes to the mountains, and Piotr is drafted into the army. All the weight of imperial authority is used to mould him into an unthinking fighting machine, so that the bewildered peasant can be forced to fight a war as he does not understand, for interests other than his own.

The Salt of the Earth is a classic war novel, a powerful pacifist tale about the consequences of war on ordinary men. (Review to follow.)

My Sister MyselfMy Sister, Myself by Jill Treseder (ebook, review copy courtesy of the author and Random Things Tours)

Hungary, 1956 – Russian tanks brutally crush the revolution against the Communist regime. Sisters Katalin and Marika escape Budapest with their family and settle in London.

However, the past is not so easily left behind. Their father is a wanted man, and the sisters’ relationship hangs in the balance. Their futures are shaped by loss. For Katalin, this means the failure of her ambition and a devastating discovery; for Marika, an equally heart-breaking experience.

Caught between their Hungarian heritage and their new lives in Britain, the sisters struggle to reconnect. Family secrets are exposed, jeopardising Katalin’s and Marika’s identities.

Can their relationship survive war, division and grief? (Review to follow as part of blog tour.)


What Cathy (will) Read Next

The Edible WomanThe Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood (paperback)

Marian is determined to be ordinary. She lays her head gently on the shoulder of her serious fiancé and quietly awaits marriage. But she didn’t count on an inner rebellion that would rock her stable routine, and her digestion. Marriage a la mode, Marian discovers, is something she literally can’t stomach…

The Edible Woman is a funny, engaging novel about emotional cannibalism, men and women, and the desire to be consumed.

Stories We Tell OurselvesStories We Tell Ourselves by Sarah Francoise (paperback)

Frank and Joan’s marriage is in trouble. Having spent three decades failing to understand each other in their unfinished house in the French alps, Joan’s frustrations with her inattentive husband have reached breaking point. Frank, retreating ever further into his obscure hobbies, is distracted by an epistolary affair with his long-lost German girlfriend. Things are getting tense. But it’s Christmas, and the couple are preparing to welcome home their three far-flung children.

The children, though, are faring little better in love themselves. Maya, a gender expert mother-of-two, is considering leaving her family and running off with a woman; Wim is considering leaving his girlfriend; and Lois, who spends her time turning war documentaries into love poems, is facing a change of heart.

Written with a rare precision and insight, the author explores the thorniness of familial love and its capacity to endure with warmth, wit and disarming honesty.