Published: 13 August 2015
Devastated by the loss of her identical twin sister, Lucy, in a car accident, Abi decides to make a fresh start in Bath but she can't seem to escape her survivor's guilt. Feeling lonely, Abi is delighted when she meets Beatrice, a young woman who has a remarkable resemblance to her, and she is even happier when she is invited to move into Beatrice's home with its eclectic group of artists.
Abi soon learns Beatrice has a twin brother, Ben, and finds herself immediately attracted to him, however their growing relationship doesn't please Beatrice who is rather possessive of her brother. When strange things begin to happen to Abi, the others blame her fragile mental state, but Abi is convinced Beatrice is trying to discredit her. Resolved not to lose Ben, Abi decides it is time to fight back but will anyone believe her?
The Sisters is a tense psychological thriller weaving a tale around two sets of twins, Abi and her deceased sister, Lucy, as well as Beatrice and her twin brother, Ben, all of whom have their own issues. It is important to point out the sisters in question here are actually Abi and Beatrice as I initially thought the focus was going to be more on Abi dealing with the death of her twin. When we first meet Abi, she is very emotionally fragile having spent some time in a mental hospital recovering from a suicide attempt and she is yearning to have her sister in her life once more. Abi is drawn to Beatrice as soon as she sees her because she bears a striking resemblance to Lucy and Abi immediately thinks she’s found her sister again.
Without a doubt, the best part of the book is the mind games Douglas plays with our assumptions about what is going on between Abi and Beatrice because she pulls the rug from under our feet time and time again. Just when you figure Beatrice is out to get Abi, Abi will do or say something that makes you think she may be acting delusional and Beatrice is perfectly innocent. Then, something else will happen, and Beatrice falls under suspicion once again. As the narrative alternates between Abi and Beatrice, our suspicions and sympathies are constantly swapping between both women which creates doubts in our mind.
Although she doesn’t let on, Beatrice knows exactly who Abi is and wants to help her, however I never really understood why she felt this compulsion to help in the first place and the topic is dropped as soon as Abi becomes Ben’s lover. I also had a hard time believing the relationship between Ben and Abi because it happens too quickly without much preamble and there really isn’t much chemistry. For someone who is supposed to be stuck in the middle between his girlfriend and his sister, Ben is immensely dull and rather disappointing. Of course, Ben and Beatrice have a huge secret of their own but it is easy to work out so the shock factor is non-existent. Although, Douglas does make up for it by giving us another unexpected twist at the very end.
The Sisters was an intriguing tale with enough surprising elements for me to forgive the more predictable parts but the characters were a smidgeon too dull for me.