Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou


source: review copy courtesy of Meryl Moss Media
title: Sister of Mine
author: Laurie Petrou/ Twitter
pages: 294
genre: psychological thriller
first line: She breaks into a run as soon as she clears the flames.
rated: 4 out of 5

For fans of Sarah Pinborough and Liane Moriarty comes a taut domestic suspense about the lies we tell to hold our lives together.

Sisters, like secrets, are best kept close.

Penny and Hattie, orphaned sisters in a small town, are best friends, bound together to the point of knots. But Penny, at the mercy of her brutal husband, is desperate for a fresh start. Willing to do anything for her older sister, Hattie agrees to help. A match is struck and a fire burns Penny’s marriage to the ground. With her husband gone, Penny is free, and the sisters, it seems, get away with murder. But freedom comes at a cost.

More than a year after the fire, a charming young man comes to town. Hattie and Penny quickly bring him into the fold and into their hearts but their love for him threatens the delicate balance. Soon long-held resentments, sibling rivalry, and debts unpaid boil over, and the bonds of sisterhood begin to snap. As one little lie grows into the next, the sisters’ secrets will unravel, eroding their lives until only a single, horrible truth remains: You owe me.

A compelling novel of suspense from a talented new voice, Sister of Mine asks us to consider the bonds of family, what it takes to commit the unthinkable, and how far you’ll go to protect the ones you love.

my thoughts:

Sister of Mine is a multi layered novel about two sisters, Penny and Hattie, who are tied together by a dark secret. This secret rips them apart as the years go by because of resentments, lies, cover-ups and bad memories.

As the story opens, their mother who raised them died in an accident at home while Penny was away at college. Giving up her dreams of finishing school, Penelope comes back home after the death of her mother to take care of her younger sister Hattie. She gets a steady job and marries a local man who turns out to be an abuser. Terrified of her husband and what he is capable of Penny sees only one way to escape him. When her husband is found dead in a house fire, the two sisters just want to get on with their lives and leave his memory behind.

Living in their old family home now with Hattie’s boyfriend Jameson, the trio wants to live a normal small town life. Penny as the eldest has always been the responsible one, and she both loves and resents Hattie at times, just like real sisters do. As the story flows, a dark secret between these two sisters eats them up and they realize the investigation into the death of Penny’s husband is not over. However, the investigation is the least of their worries, it is the secret that festers between them that consumes their lives.

“And I was tired. Tired of pretending and trying to start again. It’s difficult to reinvent yourself. There are parts of you that won’t change: made of something hard like a bone that just won’t bend another way. And you can chip at it, you can break it altogether even, but you can’t take it out.”
p.197, Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou

I enjoyed Sister of Mine very much. I was easily swept away inside these pages. the writing was engaging and the story-line was fraught with tension at times. There are supporting characters in the plot but the story is mainly about Hattie and Penny and the two of them trying to make sense of what happened and trying to live normal lives. Without giving away too much, there is a character, a young boy, and he just brings the past back to life for the sisters. He becomes like living, breathing evidence of the their past but he is also their salvation. The sisters weave a tangled web of lies and I can’t say I liked either one of them, but there is closure at the end of the story.

“Prayers got lost when we whispered them up into the air, they got caught in the branches of the maple tree in front of our house. I’ve spent the past few years trying to shake them free, hoping that one of them will flutter upwards and be read by the wind.”
-p. 24, Sister of Mine 

I have a sister myself, I’m the eldest by almost five years and I found that Laurie Petrou gets the complicated sister dynamic very well. At the end of the day, no one really knows you like your sister does right? It’s a special bond.


This was a story about secrets kept and what sisters do for one another. The plot took unexpected twists and turns and I liked that. Penny was the reliable one, Hattie more the flighty one. She starts to unravel as the story flows, and she really expects payback from Penny for deeds done and secrets kept. This novel was all about secrets, sisterly bonds and small town life. You can only run so far from the past, it never truly goes away.

“We learned from our father how to runaway; we learned from our mum how to stick it out.”
p.211, Sister of Mine 

This is a great book for book club, and it begs to be discussed. How much would you do for your sister? And how much do you expect from your sister?

“Keep your enemies close and your sister closer.”
p.26, Sister of Mine 


about the author:
Author, Professor, PhD, drinker of tea.
Most of my adventures take place inside books. I am, I think, part Hobbit: I love my books, my armchair, my garden… but I am not at all stealth (was once described as a Clydesdale for the way I clomp around the house).
My 2nd book, Sister of Mine, won the inaugural Half the World Award, and was released in Canada in April, 2018 with HarperCollins and in August 2018 with Crooked Lane Books. I cannot wait for you to read it!


disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I received my free copy of Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou via Meryl Moss Media.

Some of the links in the post are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission.

14 thoughts on “Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou

  1. Sounds intense. I’ve read enough domestic thrillers about husband and wife so a book about sisters sounds refreshing to me. Thanks for the great review, Naida!

    Liked by 1 person

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