The Stolen Sisters by Louise Jensen
|The Stolen Sisters by Louise Jensen|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: Three sisters are abducted from outside their home but twenty years later the psychological effects are still as painful as they ever were. A reasonable, if not great, read.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Borrow|
|Pages: 384||Date: October 2020|
|External links: Author's website|
When we start The Stolen Sisters we know that twenty-years on from a dreadful event they are all healthy adults. Well, they're healthy in the physical sense, but Carly has trust issues, Leah has OCD and Marie drinks. They're the Sinclair sisters and one day they were all stolen. Carly was thirteen-years-old and she was in charge of her sisters, the eight-year-old twins. Much as she loved them Carly was desperate to get a text from Dean Malden and her mobile phone held her attention. Leah and Marie were nattering about a lost ball and a fleece which had been left outside. The gate wasn't shut properly and Bruno, their boxer dog, escaped. As the three girls went to chase after him they were snatched by two men.
It was terrifying. The girls were bundled into a van, with Carly losing a tooth in the process and finally they were off-loaded at a disused army barracks and shut in a room with no toilet facilities and only one stained mattress. The story switches between then - twenty-years ago - and now, with the press insistent that they want a story for the twentieth anniversary of the crime. The money on offer is good and it would help each of the women but only Marie is keen. Carly and Leah would feel sullied by talking about what happened.
Marie wants them to tell the truth but what is the truth? Perhaps the girls don't know either. Leah's OCD is getting worse and her husband, George Morgan is becoming increasingly worried about her and (if he dares to admit it to himself) frustrated at the extreme cleaning which Leah undertakes and the extent of the protection she gives to their son, Archie. But then, why wouldn't she? She knows that bad things don't just happen to someone else and - worst of all - the man who organised the abduction is about to be released from prison. Leah suffers from Fregoli syndrome - a rare neuro disorder which means that she believes that different people are her abductor in disguise. Even the police are getting rather tired of what's happening.
Louise Jensen has a real talent for creating atmosphere - as I read I had a constant feeling of uneasiness and it was simple to understand how the women felt. It might be twenty-years since the abduction but the effects are very real and present in their daily lives. The plot is clever but I found that events were trailed just a little too heavily for my taste and on all but one occasion I guessed what was going to happen - but that exception was a stonker which left my mouth hanging open.
The characterisation is good: Jensen captures (if you'll forgive the verb) the damaged women perfectly and sometimes it's difficult not to become frustrated with their limitations as you read. I'm sure that's down to my lack of empathy.
I enjoyed the book and I'd like to thank the publishers for allowing Bookbag to have a review copy.
You might also enjoy Black Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin.
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