Book review: The Stolen Sisters by Louise Jensen

I’ve been saving this up to read after seeing the author’s photos of the deserted RAF camp that inspired the creepy setting, complete with terrifying clown on the wall!

Sisterhood binds them. Trauma defines them. Will secrets tear them apart?

Leah’s perfect marriage isn’t what it seems but the biggest lie of all is that she’s learned to live with what happened all those years ago. Marie drinks a bit too much to help her forget. And Carly has never forgiven herself for not keeping them safe.
Twenty years ago The Sinclair Sisters were taken. But what came after their return was far worse. Can a family ever recover, especially when not everyone is telling the truth…?

If you’ve read other books by Louise Jensen, it will come as no surprise that this a sensitive, thought-provoking and deliciously twisty psychological suspense. The story isn’t so much about the kidnapping itself as about the lasting effect it’s had on the three girls and the long-reaching consequences. When their abductor’s released from prison the women find themselves reliving their childhood experience but are they safe? There is a whodunnit factor and I had a hunch about this but what really intrigued me was the whydunnit.

The story’s brilliantly structured with lots of creepy foreshadowing and shifty characters so like the girls you don’t know who to trust. As Leah says:

“Monsters walk among us and sometimes they look like you. Sometimes they look like me.”

It’s told with warmth and compassion in different viewpoints and Now and Then (twenty years ago) timeframes showing how each of the girls carries a sense of guilt but they’re dealing with the memory in different ways. And of course as the story progresses secrets tumble out which throw new light on their choices and responses.

Marie, sparrow-thin and alcoholic, is barely coping at all and can’t help raking over the experience on every anniversary. She’s never got over the fact that on the day of the abduction she threw the dog’s ball over the fence.

Carly, the eldest, blames herself for not having been able to protect her siblings and won’t allow herself to love anyone new. She took the twins out of the garden with her to look for the dog – and into the path of the abductor.

Routine-obsessed Leah appears to be a calm mother and carefree wife but as she says:

“We all wear a mask sometimes, don’t we?”

She’s never let go of the memory that she didn’t shut the garden gate properly. But can she trust her own eyes or does she really keep catching sight of the abductor?

I raced through, promising myself just one more chapter right up to the thrilling end!

The Stolen Sisters is published by HQ and is available here.

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