Book Review: The Winter Sister by Megan Collins


Book Title and Author: The Winter Sister by Megan Collins
Publication Date and Publisher: February 5, 2019 by Atria Books
Genre: Mystery, Domestic Suspense, Fiction
Pages: 320 pages
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Date Read: December 16, 2018 (e-arc)

4.5 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis:

Sixteen years ago, Sylvie’s sister Persephone never came home. Out too late with the boyfriend she was forbidden to see, Persephone was missing for three days before her body was found—and years later, her murder remains unsolved.

In the present day, Sylvie returns home to care for her estranged mother, Annie, as she undergoes treatment for cancer. Prone to unexplained “Dark Days” even before Persephone’s death, Annie’s once-close bond with Sylvie dissolved in the weeks after their loss, making for an uncomfortable reunion all these years later. Worse, Persephone’s former boyfriend, Ben, is now a nurse at the cancer center where Annie is being treated. Sylvie’s always believed Ben was responsible for the murder—but she carries her own guilt about that night, guilt that traps her in the past while the world goes on around her.

As she navigates the complicated relationship with her mother, Sylvie begins to uncover the secrets that fill their house—and what really happened the night Persephone died. As it turns out, the truth really will set you free, once you can bear to look at it.

The Winter Sister is a mesmerizing portrayal of the complex bond between sisters, between mothers and daughters alike, and forces us to ask ourselves—how well do we really know the people we love most?

My Thoughts:

The Winter Sister is a stunning, suspense-filled, edge of your seat debut by Megan Collins! I was thoroughly captivated by this tale of domestic suspense and mystery surrounding the unsolved murder of a young girl and her younger sister’s determination to see justice served sixteen years later. Also, being a literature professor, I delighted in how Collins wrote such a passionate, discordant, disastrous family tragedy and so aptly named her murdered protagonist Persephone after the daughter of Zeus in Greek mythology to drive the storyline to its exhilarating and apt ending! It was quite clever and showed from the beginning the stark differences between the two daughters/sisters, who shared different fathers, one named Sylvie and the other named after the greatest of all the gods…

One sister’s unsolved murder, another sister’s misplaced guilt and compulsion to solve her sister’s murder, and a mother’s desperate, heartwrenching grief over a daughter’s loss that drives her toward madness make this novel more than just a mystery. It’s a novel about mother, daughter, and sister bonds, and the strengths, complexities, and fragilities of those relationships. Collins has written authentic, raw, and not always likable characters who have depth and substance, which is one reason I loved the book as much as I did since excellent and meticulous characterization is one of my top reasons for enjoying a novel.

The storyline is captivating from page one and although I guessed the mystery of Persephone’s murder midway, that in no way detracts from the book because the characters and their struggles to come to terms not only with Persephone’s murder but also with the pain and hurts they’ve caused one another since then and the guilt they’ve carried makes for an utterly spellbinding and heartwrenching read!

Can I say that I’ve already read some excellent suspense novels releasing in 2019, and The Winter Sister most definitely goes on that list?! I can already predict that 2019 is going to be an outstanding writing year for suspense and thrillers and am honestly thrilled to see so many debut authors already at the top of the list! Without a doubt, I’ll be watching for everything Collins writes from now on because I know it will be superb!

Collins’ debut is masterful, expressive writing and domestic suspense at its best. This is one novel you don’t want to miss! The Winter Sister publishes February 5, 2019, so make sure you preorder your copy now!

**Thank you NetGalley and Isabel at Atria Books for the ARC to read in exchange for my fair and honest review.**

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29 thoughts on “Book Review: The Winter Sister by Megan Collins

    1. Thank you, Jen! I’m so glad you loved this one too! Ha-it would have been funny if we’d posted them on the same day again! This really was; I love that it was a character exploration. She’s an English professor, so she gives me hope that my book will get written one day (and published, hahaha!).

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    1. Thanks, Renee! It really has been (although I’ve read a couple of disappointing ones that I had hoped would be exceptional), and I hope the year stays that way!


    1. Thank you Berit! I know, it’s a popular date, lol. Yes, for the past 18 yrs. 😊 I used to only teach British and World Literature, but I now teach creative writing, contemporary fiction, and gothic/horror literature. Lol, you aren’t the first person who has said that and loves books. 💕

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      1. My mom was an art history professor, but I never even considered that as a profession although I did think of teaching history at one point.

        That is wild–you’re dad would get along great with the men in my family, lol! My hubby got his aerospace engineering degree while in the Air Force and then went back for his PhD in mechanical engineering and my dad is an electrical engineer, plus my oldest son is in school for his degree in electrical engineering, haha! I’m surrounded by them and am not a fan of science and math. I do love biology though and originally planned on going to medical school until I ended up pregnant right before I turned 20 and didn’t foresee years of medical school ahead of me with a baby and a hubby who was in Afghanistan for 3 tours. I regret that choice sometimes, but I love what I do so it is what it is.


    1. Thanks Laurel! I’m glad you loved it too. I hadn’t heard of it either until they emailed me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing it and then sent me the widget. I’m glad I said yes! She’s an author I’ll be watching out for now.


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