‘The Other Sister’ felt very unlike the previous Rowan Coleman books I have read. After reading the first few chapters, having expected something else, I wasn’t at all sure I was going to enjoy it; however, Rowan Coleman has not let me down before, and it wasn’t that I didn’t like the story – so on I read! What a good job I did!
‘The Other Sister,’ may be Willow, or it could be the character that she might have been if events hadn’t happened the way they did. On the surface Willow presents as a hard-working, dependable, slightly quirky sort of character who has made some big mistakes in the past, but has moved on and made a life for herself. Divorced, living alone and buying increasingly bigger dress sizes(!) there are a few people in her life that Willow has time for; her boss, her beloved twin sister Holly and family, and her best friend Daniel being among the few.
Into this predictable mix bursts Chloe, her ex-step-daughter, fifteen, pregnant and in need of help, followed quickly by Chloe’s father who also happens to be Willow’s very estranged ex-husband, Sam who evidently loves Chloe, but is desperately struggling with his difficult teenage daughter. Confused? So is Willow, who very much wants to do the right thing by both Chloe and Sam but is trying to work out what exactly the right thing is!
As Chloe bursts into Willow’s life, so she becomes the catalyst to the re-emergence of events from Willow’s past, events that become slightly darker than we’d anticipated and which for Willow, still need closure before she can be truly happy!
Or was Chloe the catalyst? There is a funny little piece in the book which involves a mysterious little shop tucked away in an alley, a pair of *a-mazing* shoes, a moth eaten fur coat and a token. Once Willow has purchased these items her life begins to change and we are left wondering if this is some sort of ‘Mr Benn’ moment (Google children’s tv series from the 70s youngsters!) This scene for me is slightly jarring and in my opinion doesn’t quite belong to the book – but that is entirely subjective of course.
In general a really good read which I thoroughly enjoyed.