The Sea Sisters by Lucy Clarke
|The Sea Sisters by Lucy Clarke|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Zoe Morris|
|Summary: When her sister dies in uncertain circumstances overseas, Katie sets off to retrace her final journey and discover exactly what happened.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 400||Date: April 2013|
|Publisher: Harper Collins|
|External links: Author's website|
Richard and Judy Summer Reading List 2013
Kate is as sensible, focused and down to earth as her sister Mia is reckless and unsettled, so it’s no surprise that it’s Mia who leaves London behind to go traveling. With dreams of seeing the USA, Australia and beyond, Mia sets off excitedly with her best friend Finn, but this once in a lifetime trip tragically becomes just that as some months later Mia is found dead in Bali, an apparent suicide plunge. With her life thrown into turmoil and unable to get past the things they said, and didn’t say, to each other when Mia was alive, Kate makes a rather Mia-like decision to leave it all behind too. Armed with Mia’s travel journey, she sets off to retrace her sister’s steps, stop by stop, to try and work out what Mia was going through, and what ultimately lead to her death.
On reading the blurb I was excited to get into this book, which I expected to be of the Emily Barr school of writing. I wasn’t disappointed as this turned into a mesmerising travelogue, alternating Mia’s and Kate’s experiences of the same places. Littered with memories of their childhood, this story builds on what it means to be a sister, made all the more important because the girls’ family background means they are now all the other one has.
This story is lots of things. Part travel, part memoir, part mystery, part romance. The answer to what really happened to Mia is kept hanging until the last page, but every stop, every destination along the way adds a little to the puzzle of what ultimately brought her to be on a cliff top in Bali that night. In the best possible way, this book is about the journey, not the destination, as you know from the start how it’s going to end. It could have been done differently – Mia could have disappeared rather than been found dead, perhaps – but I really didn’t feel anything was lacking as I sped through the pages, following Kate as she followed in Mia’s footsteps.
Though a reluctant traveller, the trip does for Katie what it did for Mia, changing her into a different person. The transformation is sudden in places, but mixed in with the grief and betrayal that emerge, it seems real. Also real are the wonderful descriptions of the places the girls go - some I know and can attest to, others exist vividly in my mind now from what is described here.
I relished reading this book and I enjoyed the writing style enough to want to read the author’s subsequent works, even if they don’t feature the all-round winner that is exotic travel. It had a lovely flow and the characters worked well together, even if this is very much a girls’ story with the boys just blending into the background.
Thanks go to the publishers for supplying this book.
The Beach by Alex Garland also combines mystery with exotic locales, to great effect.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Sea Sisters by Lucy Clarke at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Sea Sisters by Lucy Clarke at Amazon.com.
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