Sister Lost


Loved it! 😍

A “haunted house” horror/mystery about the elusive mother-daughter bond

This novel subverts the typical “haunted house” horror/mystery with genre-bending sub-plots about the elusive mother-daughter bond.

Romance builds between Lexie and Ryan as he helps her to solve the mystery of her house’s past, and we also see glimpses of women’s fiction, promoting a strong female character and her struggle to be a single parent without the financial help — or even the acknowledgement — of the child’s father.

The relationship with Lexie and her mother was amazingly well written. I think many women can relate to that tense feeling of begrudging gratitude for the woman who gave you life and helped you get back on your feet, while at the same time hating that indebtedness when it is laced with venomous emotional abuse. I also loved every minute of Ava — even the psychotic breaks. Her bubbly personality breathed life into the dark corners of the novel, and I appreciated her insight into the evil happenings, as well as her defence of her mother.

My only con was the overall pacing — I loved the vignettes we see in the second half, which catch us up to the past homeowners and show how the house affected their lives, but as it dealt with so many viewpoints, it felt like I was being tugged in many directions at times. Also, I thought Ryan’s back story emerged fairly late — by that time I was already in love with him as a character as he was so good to Lexie and Ava, and I didn’t even need to know why!

Despite that, the writer's style was a pleasure to read -- hills and valleys of description, nuances, action, drama and just pure talent. In general, I love the way the tension mounts and builds as they uncover, piece by piece, what took place over the past decades as the house was held in the grip of an evil spirit. The underlying story was heartbreaking, and even when we finally learn what took place, we never do quite understand the “why” behind the murderer’s actions. It remains an eternal mystery — as, I suppose, does the natural inclination of any tense mother-daughter relationship!

I really enjoyed this novel and would highly recommend it to mature readers who can appreciate darkness — both of horror, and of emotional depth. Note: there is a sprinkling of mature language and situations, so younger readers should beware. The overall story itself is powerful, and leaves a lasting message. It also felt unique, which I really appreciated as I am an avid reader, so difference is a definite plus. This genre usually focuses on more guts and gore, and I was really thrilled to see a “horror” that didn’t depend on that for shock value, but instead on the everyday darkness of emotional relationships. I look forward to seeing more from this author.

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About the author

Brenda Lyne is the pseudonym of author Jennifer DeVries. Jennifer lives just outside Minneapolis, Minnesota with her two busy kids, two cats, two fish, and probably a partridge in a pear tree. Sister Lost is her second novel. view profile

Published on September 14, 2021

70000 words

Contains graphic explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Fantasy

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