A Sister in My House by Linda Olsson

A Sister in My House

Linda Olsson

A Sister in My House is a dreamlike and compelling family drama of grief and betrayal, but ultimately, it is a story of hope and forgiveness.

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From the acclaimed author of Astrid & Veronika, a lyrical novel of two sisters bound together by a tragic moment from their past.       
Maria and Emma have not seen each other since their mother’s funeral two years ago. But now, Emma has come to visit Maria at her house in Spain, an unsettling intrusion on Maria’s quiet and solitary life. Over six days in the seaside town, the sisters cautiously recount the years of their separate adult lives. Their walks through the quiet town and evening talks on the terrace reveal almost more than Maria can deal with, until finally, the sisters confront their unspeakable family history.

A Sister in My House is a compelling drama of grief and betrayal, but ultimately it is a story of hope and forgiveness.

Advance Galley Reviews

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Penguin First to Read in exchange for a fair and honest review. A Sister in My House on the surface is the story of three sisters. But layer after layer it is actually a study of women’s emotions toward each other and those they encounter. One lost by death, the other two making their way through life in the wake of this event. Separated in age and experiences, the remaining two sisters have grown further apart in their adult years. Surprisingly, Maria invited Emma to come and stay for a visit while the two of them were together for their mother’s funeral. Two years later Emma calls to take Maria up on the invitation that both of them know was not sincere or necessarily well intended. The resulting week of togetherness forces the sisters to acknowledge their past and think more clearly about their future. Maria has wrapped herself so tightly in her grief and losses that she cannot allow herself to enjoy life. Emma’s husband and children are no longer available for her as they once were. Resigning herself to the fact that those she loves will leave her, just as her beloved sister did early in her life, Emma risks falling into depression as she has done before. A week is not a long time. Will it be long enough to make headway on the road to discovery for both of them? Olsson’s literary fiction is powerful in words but not actions. It is the type of book you read, and then think about for a long time after. Small steps in the sister’s lives become giant leaps in their growth. One of my favorite quotes is: “Life intrudes from different directions. And I am no longer resisting I think.”  To me, this shows the growth of the characters and the fact that they still have more healing to complete. Like real life, things cannot be resolved quickly, but any progress is a step in the right direction. This is the first book I have read by Linda Olsson. This prolific, award-winning author should be on your watch list for literary fiction.  Copyright © 2018 Laura Hartman

This was a different experience for me, felt slow and drawn out with the childhood grievances the sisters held against each other. Their interactions consisting of their tense and terse conversations while walking through the lovely hills and seaside near Maria's home. Through Emma's determination these slowly evolved into understanding and empathy and finally healing and forgiveness. Not my usual pick, but worth the effort to finally delve into the actions that caused such a forlorn and sad rift.


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