Three little girls set off to school one sunny May morning.
Within an hour, one of them is dead.
Fifteen years later, Alison and Kitty are living separate lives. Kitty lives in a care home. She can’t speak, and she has no memory of the accident that put her here, or her life before it.
Art teacher Alison looks fine on the surface. But the surface is a lie. When a job in a prison comes up she decides to take it – this is her chance to finally make things right.
But someone is watching Kitty and Alison.
Someone who wants revenge for what happened that day.
And only another life will do…
I am delighted to be on the blogtour for this excellent psychological thriller.
Blood Sisters is a tale told from two perspectives and in two different timelines. Kitty and Alison are half-sisters. Vanessa and Kitty are best friends.
Alison and Kitty’s lives have been irrevocably shaped by a tragic event that occurred when they were children. Now Alison works as an art teacher, but you sense that she is hardly living her life, there is clearly a shadow over her and that shadow impacts on her whole life and all her relationships.
Kitty and Alison had an awkward relationship when they were younger, shaped in part by rivalry and in part by the fact that they have very different personalities. Kitty was demanding, irritable and prone to getting what she wanted. Alison was the one who never fought back, the good girl with excellent grades.
The accident that left one girl dead and Kitty without her memories and severely disabled, changed all of that. Immensely frustrated, she often lashes out at those who care for her. Alison lost her appetite for achievement and now teaches stained glass art in the evenings. Alison has secrets; she is clearly hiding something because we can feel her pain, taste her guilt which comes through in the myriad ways in which she is clearly punishing herself. We learn a lot from Kitty about her life in the care home; her relationships and the way in which she bonds with others in the home. Kitty has her own devilish sense of fun, despite the fact that she can’t talk. It is not just Alison who has secrets.
Blood Sisters is told through the voices of Alison and Kitty, for though Kitty cannot speak, we can hear her thoughts. Jane Corry’s characterisation of both Kitty and Alison is multi-layered, complex and very well thought through. Though it takes time to build up a picture of the two sisters, it is worthwhile because that’s what makes the story really live in its own skin.
The catalyst for story progression comes when Alison decides to apply for a post teaching art in an open prison. It’s an opportunity to boost her bank balance and being an open prison, nothing too awful is likely to happen, right?
We then learn that Kitty’s brain has started to give her flashbacks, reawakening her memory.
From the beginning of the book you know that Alison has trust issues, but is she right? Is there a threat to her wellbeing from within the prison, or is it closer to home? At the same time, technological developments mean that there is a possibility that Kitty’s brainwaves can be harnessed to help her to communicate.
Though Alison’s and Kitty’s mother – whom Kitty refers to as her ‘Friday mum’ is enthusiastic, Alison is not at all happy. She is scared of what Kitty will remember – so was Alison responsible for Kitty’s accident – is that the secret she has been hiding?
The tension ramps up when Alison starts to receive threatening messages. Clearly someone is out to get her. But who and why is unclear.
Not all of the characters in Blood Sisters are what they seem, and Corry uses the unreliable narrator device here to excellent effect. The reader cannot trust everything they read and in a well-constructed plot, riddled with twists and turns, Alison’s life begins to unravel as the truth is revealed.
An intense tale of the realtionship between sisters, with lies, secrets and betrayals, Blood Sisters is a psychological thriller which confounds expectations, and is both complex and chilling.
Blood Sisters is published by Penguin on June 29th 2017.
About the author
Jane Corry is a former magazine journalist who spent three years working as the writer-in-residence of a high security prison for men. She had never been inside a jail before and this often hair-raising experience helped inspire her debut psychological thriller, the Sunday Times bestseller My Husband’s Wife.
Jane is a regular life story judge for the Koestler Awards given to prisoners for art and writing. Until recently, Jane was a tutor in creative writing at Oxford University, and she now runs writing workshops in her local area of Devon and speaks at literary festivals all over the world. She has three grown up children and writes the ‘Diary of a First-Time Grandmother’ column for the Daily Telegraph.