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The Sisterhood by Emily Barr


I found The Sisterhood by Emily Barr to be predictable, dull and far less sinister than the title, the cover art and the blurbs led me to expect. In fact, I’ve lost my trust in the blurbs entirely after reading this book.

The Sisterhood is alternately narrated by three characters, Liz, Helen and Mary.

Liz is a pregnant woman in her late thirties whose ex-boyfriend recently revealed to her that he is gay. Liz isn’t sure if her ex-boyfriend is the father of her baby anyway, as she also had a fling with a trans-sexual man in his/her last days before having an operation to become a woman. (I probably should have stopped reading at this point).

Helen is a young French woman who is convinced that Liz is her half-sister, from a relationship her mother had when she was young. Helen has mental health issues.

Mary is Helen’s mother, and her part of the story is told in flashbacks.

The story follows Helen’s attempts to find Liz and form a connection, with the intention of eventually presenting Liz to her parents in order to complete their family.

Although The Sisterhood was published in 2008, the story felt quite dated to me. I didn’t feel a connection with any of the characters and the praise given to this novel by reviewers surprised me enormously. For example, Woman’s Day said, “Sparkling with charm and originality, it’s a tale to cherish.” What? Did the reviewer actually read this book? Or could Woman’s Day have mixed up this review with a review for another story?

Who writes the book reviews that end up in publications anyway? For example, The Sisterhood is described as “Thrillingly sinister” from a publication called Glamour. I suspect Glamour is a fashion magazine, so perhaps I was foolish to trust their advice, but The Sisterhood wasn’t at all sinister. The Cosmopolitan reviewer said the story is “Sleep-sabotagingly moreish,” but that wasn’t true either. I had no trouble at all putting the book down in order to go to sleep.

Anyone who couldn’t see the twist coming at the end of The Sisterhood is probably gullible enough to believe and buy whatever a fashion magazine tells them to, but in my opinion, sleep is better for me than lotions and potions anyway. I find book reviews by bloggers to be much more reliable than those published in fashion magazines.




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