With a Book in Our Hands

Eighteen reviewers telling you the good, the bad, and the ugly

With a Book in Our Hands

Eighteen reviewers telling you the good, the bad, and the ugly

April 13, 2021

The Good Sister

The Good Sister

by Sally Hepworth

Published March 13, 2021
by St. Martin’s Press

Rating: 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (Stephanie); 4 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (Chelsey) 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (Patricia)

Genre: Suspense


Rose and Fern are fraternal twins. Fern has sensory and social issues and relies on Rose for quite a bit. As Fern likes to say, Rose is her “person.” Despite these qualities, Fern is very independent – she lives on her own, has a great job at the local library, and generally manages her day-to-day life well.

Rose is going through personal struggles as she and her husband Owen have been unable to conceive and the stress has caused some tension in their relationship. He is working abroad and Rose is terrified that she will lose him because she so desperately wants a baby.

Rose and Fern have also had a troubled past which we learn about through snippets of Rose’s diary. Their mother was emotionally abusive, neglected them, and ultimately overdosed which left her brain damaged and in a care facility. Worse still, the girls’ mother often brought home strange men, one of which targeted Rose sexually. Because of her “limitations,” Rose has always had to take care of Fern, often taking the blame for Fern’s mistakes and carrying the brunt of the punishments as they were growing up.

As adults, Rose still feels a responsibility to take care of Fern and Fern feels indebted to her sister for all she has done for her. So when Fern finds out that her sister is having fertility issues, she decides she will try to get pregnant and give her sister the one thing in this world she wants most – a baby.


If you had to describe this book or Sally Hepworth in one or two words, what would it be?

Stephanie: Wowza!!!

Chelsey: Auto-buy!

Patricia: Reading backlist!

This story involves twins, one of which had sensory issues. What was your opinion on this?

Chelsey: I really loved how well developed and relatable Fern was. It’s not often that protagonists experience sensory issues and I thought Hepworth did a fantastic job describing Fern’s experiences in a sensitive way that was understandable to people who have not experienced them. I also liked that Fern was so much more than her diagnosis and how Fern was never actually even labeled/diagnosed!

Stephanie: I loved reading from the perspective of Fern, who has a sensory disorder. I love her earnest, honest perspective and her literal, quirky way of thinking.

Patricia: The character of Fern is well developed, and I loved how Hepworth explored the daily assaults a person with sensory deprivation must go through. 

What was your overall opinion of the book?

Stephanie: I don’t want to give away any spoilers so I’ll just say that I beyond highly recommend this book and I KNOW it will be insanely successful! I wish I could give it way more than 5 stars but that’s all they’ll let me give!

Chelsey: There is SO MUCH to love about this book – the characters are well developed and it was refreshing to read about and connect with a protagonist with sensory issues; the alternating viewpoints between Rose and Fern added a lot of depth to the plot line; and while there were elements of suspense, this read more like a contemporary fiction which I have been really drawn to lately.

Patricia: Hepworth did a good job of dropping breadcrumbs throughout the story, so you have an idea what’s coming, but you’ll be surprised when it does!

Final thoughts?

Stephanie: Sally Hepworth is an AMAZING writer!!! I loved reading The Good Sister so much that I devoured it in a matter of hours!

Huge thanks to St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley for allowing me to read this book in advance in exchange for my honest review!

Patricia: I loved how Hepworth revealed the relationship between the sister’s through the character of Wally (Rocco). I also appreciated the library scenes and how Fern was allowed her “time outs” by an understanding boss and colleagues.

Chelsey: Sally Hepworth is an auto-buy/-read author for me and when I received an advanced copy of The Good Sister it’s safe to say I did a happy dance!!

While this book did have an element of foreboding, I wouldn’t qualify it as a thriller or even say it was all that suspenseful. The plotline felt fairly predictable but for me, this didn’t retract from the story at all. It read more like a contemporary fiction with some elements of suspense and I actually found that I really enjoyed that as a genre!

I did this book on audio and I thought the narrator, Barrie Kreinik, was excellent. She did a really great job evoking emotion into the characters and I could really feel the stress whenever Fern had a sensory episode.

Finally, this work was totally different than Hepworth’s prior novels, but I think it’s safe to say if you enjoyed those, you absolutely must read The Good Sister!

Thank you to Libro.FM, St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this novel.

Chelsey Valente


One comment on “The Good Sister

    Author’s gravatar

    Ooh – I’m reading this one right now! It’s my “night read” on my Kindle so that I can pick up a book in the middle of the night, if I can’t sleep, without waking the hubby – ha ha. I’ve only read a few chapters, but I’m really enjoying the mood so far. 🙂 So glad to hear it was a hit – now I can’t wait to pick it up again!

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