The Stolen Sisters by Louise Jensen

Today I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on The Stolen Sisters, the latest psychological thriller from Louise Jensen. I’ve been a fan of Louise’s work since her debut, The Sister was released back in 2016 and always look forward to a new release. Thanks to publisher HQ, I was able to sneak in an early read of this book and am thrilled to be joining the blog tour today. Here’s what it’s all about:

Source: Advance Reader Copy

About the Book

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…?

My Thoughts

Well this book certainly has a little bit of everything – tension, suspense, mystery, emotion … Louise Jensen hasn’t held back. This is the story of three sisters who go through unimaginable trauma as children and the impact that is has upon them as adults. We join the sisters, eldest child Carly and twins, Leah and Marie, as they are approaching the twentieth anniversary of the day on which they were abducted for reasons, at the time, that were not clear. Their parents were relatively successful, so was it a ransom demand or with it being three young girls were the intentions far more sinister? Whatever the cause, the memory of those awful days have been etched in the girls memories and now they are all struggling in their own ways with coming to terms and coping with what happened, especially when they hear that the person behind it all is about to be released from prison.

The story is told in two halves really, the past and the present. In the present day we follow events from the point of view of Leah, the only one of the three who has been able to forge her own family, albeit very tentative as her own fears often come to the fore when she is under stress, none more so than right now with the anniversary always on her mind. All three women have deep psychological scars after what happened that no amount of counselling seems able to quash. Leah’s plays out as OCD and a deep seated fear of germs for reasons that will become apparent to readers , Marie loses herself in addiction and Carly has a fear of letting anyone close as she is scared they will get hurt because of her. The three could not be more different, even the twins, but I found myself developing a deep sympathy for each of them as Louise Jensen has done a brilliant job of making each reaction feel authentic, manipulating emotions and letting readers see and feel the fear that still resides within them, especially Leah who has the most to lose of everyone.

When we are taken back to the past it is largely from Carly’s point of view. As the oldest sister she is in charge, she is the one who tries to keep them all calm and to find a way for them to escape, in spite of the fact she is barely more than a child herself. We learn much more of the family dynamic in these scenes, and it was fascinating see how the author portrays the conflict between Carly’s determination to keep everyone safe, but also watching her spirit slowly break. The tension is high in these scenes, readers never knowing what might happen or what kind of danger the girls are really in from the men who took them. There are some real edge of the seat moments, scenes that will have you holding your breath in anticipation, and keep you turning page after page even though you know, to a degree, the girls emerge from their captors safely.

Setting is key in this book and although the present day action takes place largely around Leah’s home and work, there is still areal sense of dread attached as it was from home that the girls were taken, plus Leah’s safe space is being sullied by someone who is leaving threatening letters in the run up to the anniversary. But the place to which the three are taken as children, a disused military base, is creepy and eerie, and so rich in atmosphere that it really adds to the creeping tension of the novel.

The story is jam packed full of mystery and suspense, clues as to what really happened slowly drip fed in to the story through the present day conversations and the gradual reveal of events from the past. There are so many secrets in play, so many lies, that it is hard to know who to trust. As the story reaches its very dramatic climax, you can almost feel a sense of peace descend over the main characters, as well as a feeling of melancholy for all that was lost as a result of a cruel twist of fate all those years before. Because the truth is shocking and very, very cruel and yet somehow believable. But it is the gift of the author to leave readers with a final sense of hope, something that Louise Jensen delivers on with aplomb. If you love her writing, you will love this as it is another brilliant story that will both thrill and haunt you after you turn that final page. Definitely recommended.

About the Author

Louise Jensen has sold over a million English language copies of her International No. 1 psychological thrillers The Sister, The Gift, The Surrogate, The Date and The Family. Her novels have also been translated into twenty-five languages, as well as featuring on the USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestseller’s List. Louise’s sixth thriller, The Stolen Sisters, will be published in Autumn 2020 by Harper Collins.

The Sister was nominated for the Goodreads Debut Author of 2016 Award. The Date was nominated for The Guardian’s ‘Not The Booker’ Prize 2018. The Surrogate has been nominated for the best Polish thriller of 2018. The Gift has been optioned for a TV film. The Family was a Fern Britton Bookclub pick.

Louise also has a penchant for exploring the intricacies of relationships through writing heart-breaking, high-concept love stories under the pen name Amelia Henley. Her romantic debut, ‘The Life We Almost Had’ is out now.

Louise lives with her husband, children, madcap dog and a rather naughty cat in Northamptonshire. She loves to hear from readers and writers.

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