Official Book Description:
“Two sisters. One secret… A lie that could destroy them both.
When her father dies, Josie is devastated to uncover he led a secret life: another house, another family and a half-sister called Valentina.
Both with red hair and icy blue eyes, Josie and Valentina could be mistaken for twins. But the similarities end there…
Josie – Sweet, reserved, jealous, thief.
Valentina – Care-free, confident, dangerous, liar.
Two sisters. One survivor.
A nail-bitingly tense and unputdownable read that will keep you turning pages into the night. Perfect for fans of Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and Sister Sister.”
I’m not sure about “gripped”, but this book definitely took me down roads I wasn’t ready to go down. The story opened up with a man named Jerry, dying in a motorcycle accident, after refusing to respond to text messages that seem to be incriminating him in some way. As a result, his wife Helen and her daughter Josie are alerted to his death and they start the process of grief and moving on. Josie’s father, Jerry, was a Viking who passed down to her his heritage and philosophy, and it is evident in her appearance and way of thinking.
When Jerry passes, Josie goes to his second residence to clean it up and get it ready to sell. It’s there that she begins to realize who her father really was. There is a sister named Valentina who is five days older than she, and another mother she’s never met, and all of a sudden, her father’s time spent away from home begins to take shape. The betrayal, questions and heartache are all left wanting, as Jerry isn’t there to fill in the blanks.
As the half sisters begin to spend more time with each other, they begin to learn about each other and it’s hard not to compare how one of them was given much, while the other had to struggle through life. The built up animosity begins to show, and sadly, the lines begin to blur between what is acceptable and what isn’t.
Sidenote: At the beginning of each chapter is a “truth” about Viking morals and values, and it prefaces what is about to happen. These are very contradictory to a healthy functioning family, and seems to give Jerry a pass at not being the best father.
The story shifts each chapter between Josie and Valentina, and even toward the end, it’s hard to tell which is which, so that may be a bit confusing, but it does eventually line up. And although I enjoyed the suspense of the mothers finding out, the details learned by the sisters, and the antics they go through, I couldn’t help but find myself yelling at one of the sisters in many of the situations, because she seems to allow herself to be led down paths she knows aren’t safe. What truly is the intention of the “bad” sister? And which sister is which? The ending is bizarre, but leaves lingering questions. However, I read it in less than a week, so maybe it did grip me.
Nature of book warning: graphic sex scene and memories of a rape
Blogger note: I read 50% of this book, and listened to the other half through Amazon Audible. I loved the narrator, Annette Chown, as she read from Josie’s and Valentina’s perspectives.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bookouture and NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and I appreciate the opportunity to receive an advanced reader copy to do so. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”