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The Journals Of Louisa May Alcott
Louisa May Alcott, Joel Myerson
Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust
Daniel Jonah Goldhagen
The Awakening
Kate Chopin
Ulysses
James Joyce
Jane Austen's Guide to Good Manners: Compliments, Charades & Horrible Blunders
Henrietta Webb, Josephine Ross
Becoming Jane Austen
Jon Spence
The Portable Dorothy Parker
Brendan Gill, Dorothy Parker
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Anne Brontë
Don't Tell Alfred
Nancy Mitford
Autobiographies (Collected Works, Vol 3)
Douglas Archibald, William O'Donnell, W.B. Yeats
The Silent Sister - Diane Chamberlain

So, I figured out the entire plot of The Silent Sister by the end of the first chapter. This is a book that spends all of part 1 building up to a big reveal that was given away in the prologue, so it's not exactly written by a master of suspense. If you have read more than one mystery novel in your life and watched a couple of episodes of SVU, you'll quickly figure out each "twist." 

 

The writing is clunky and average. It's littered with exclamation points, and it's the kind of book where chapters end on cliffhangers because one character calls another to say "Come over here right now. I need to talk to you." Hello, you're ON THE PHONE. That's what they're FOR.

 

Both POV characters are idiots. One of them shot a former teacher to death when she was 17, and instead of telling everyone her motive (which any halfway decent defense lawyer would have been able to use to get her acquitted) she sticks to an incredibly unbelievable "it was an accident" story. I can imagine a dumb teen who'd gone through what she did feeling like she'd need to keep everything a secret, but later? When she's an adult she never feels angry at the teacher? She never explains her actions to anyone who loves her and now believes her to be a murderer? Pfffft. People in this novel doggedly keep secrets from each other for no other reason than to keep the plot moving from one discovery to the next. 

 

The main character, Riley, is a counselor for troubled teens, and yet when somebody tells her about a 15-year-old girl who had a baby after being raped by a 40something man, the first words out of her mouth are "They were lovers?" It's concerning that someone who works with teens wouldn't have an understanding of statutory rape. 

 

My main issue with this book is that I thought it was going to be a mystery novel, and so I expected the main character would be in danger and there would be a final climactic scene. Instead, Riley is able to get one over on a couple of people who are trying to extort money from her and there are absolutely no consequences for her actions. There are no stakes. This is a book that talks a big game, but ends up being quite boring.