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

Maria and Emma are estranged sisters who come together at Maria's home Spain, two years after Maria has invited her. There is no drama or speed to this story, however the setting is amazing. It's an exposition of the assumptions we make about even our closest loved ones and how those assumptions shape us. I didn't love the story, but can appreciate it for what it was as it caused me to reflect on the relationships I have with my own siblings.

Good read. Liked the characters and story flow. Quite the journey for the two sisters.

I'm rather indifferent to this book. I didn't much care for it but it was an okay read. It had some interesting aspects but it did wind up being a bit bland overall.

I could not finish reading this book. I couldn't get into it. I was completely uninterested in reading it.

I liked this book and it was a pleasant read, but I didn't love it. The author has a beautiful writing style, but I believe there were issues in the translation. Sometimes the dialogue just didn't sound natural, or the narrative didn't quite flow right. However, that didn't stop me from understanding the author’s intent and following along. It's definitely a slow burn, meant to be savored, not rushed. There's not a lot of things happening or mystery and suspense to keep the reader engaged; it's essentially a story about two women (estranged sisters who haven't been a part of each other's lives in years) spending several days together, walking around town, and talking. It's a chance for them to revisit old memories, put aside their grievances, and learn more about each other in an effort to renew their relationship. But while that might sound somewhat boring, the author wrote it in such a way that it was interesting and enjoyable to read. It's also a relatively short book, coming in at just over 200 pages. I think if the author would have made it any longer, it would have felt dragged out and I would have enjoyed it a lot less, but as it stands, it's about the perfect length for a book of this nature. I’m giving it 3/5 stars.

This story is a bit different from what I imagined it might be. It is a very quiet, but beautiful and haunting story about how the past can shape our entire lives. Two middle age sisters both with their battle scars, come together for a few days and bring the shadows of their early, painful lives into the light. This book gives me hope that things can change.

Where I wouldn't say A Sister In My House by Linda Olsson is my favorite book, I wouldn't say it was a bad book either. It was a good story however it wasn't until the second half of the book that I really started to like it. To me you didn't really understand who the characters were until much later in the book and had no reason otherwise to care about them. Maria and Emma are sisters who haven't seen each other since their mother's funeral that happen two years ago. At this time Maria extended an invitation to Emma to visit her home. Taking her up on the offer several years later when Emma's life is falling apart the sisters are then able to rehash what has happen over their life and where they grew apart. Thank you First To Read for giving me the opportunity to read an advanced copy of A Sister In My House by Linda Olsson.

*** Entertaining read without going too deep. I enjoyed this book for approximately the first half. Even though Maria was a twin, the author portrayed her as a typical middle child. I was awed by how accurate the actions and thoughts were. Also, Emma's character was definitely a youngest. I liked how different each of their perceptions were of the same events and people in their young lives. Anyone who has siblings can relate to this story. About 3/4 through the book I did find that their "here's how this is about me" explanations and actions got tedious and it was very predictable how this story would end. Giving this book 3 stars - enjoyable, quick read.

This is the second book I’ve read by this author and I think that having recently read Astrid and Veronika, her first published novel, helped me to know what to expect from this book. Conceptually, the two books were very similar, two main female characters who have both experienced grief in ways both similar and different. The story does not reveal every little detail of their lives but gives the reader much to think about. Short in length but full of sensitivity and richly realized. I did appreciate that the ending gives hope to both the characters and the reader. I will have to read this again soon.

A Sister in my House was a hard to read story. I guess you can say it hit to close to home. I loved the way the author worked out the sisters problem. I cried and laughed. It gives me hope.

This is a wonderful story of two sisters coming together after many years and learning that what they thought of each others lives wasn't really the truth. A tragedy that happened when they were young separated them, but Emma has decided to visit her older sister in Spain. I loved the details of daily life in Spain and I loved how their understanding of each other slowly evolved. I thought this was is a story for all women to reflect on how we judge and treat and ultimately forgive each other. We may lead different lives, but it is still important to love and support each other in spite of our differences. Linda Olsson is a favorite author of mine because her prose is like poetry.

This is a book that has beautiful, lyrical words and a poetic presence, but lacked a clear cohesive story. Maria seemed to be a really odd and withdrawn person that would seem to make most people uncomfortable. Even the resolution of their joined past and relationship, seemed awkward and cold. There should have been some kind of information about their mother other than just a series of cards. Ever heard of a letter? The book just cut off at the end at a weird place. I will not recommend this one.

Nothing in this book felt genuine - not Maria's narration, not the stilted relationship between the sisters, not even the setting. I wanted to like it a lot more than I did - the sisters should have been more compelling, the house in Spain a more solid backdrop. The story itself was good enough, but without the whole package I cannot wholeheartedly recommend this book.

I didn’t love this book but I did appreciate the story and the resolution that these sisters had to reach so that they could each find their own peace. Some flow may have been lost in translation but it suited the personality of Maria.

Linda Olsson's writing is beautiful all the way through. She writes stories the way an artist paints pictures. She focuses on details to give the reader the best image possible. A Sister In My House touches on the fragile relationships we have with our family, how sometimes we go through something too hard to disclose with our siblings. The honesty that we drift apart in our lives is prevalent. I loved this book dearly. I felt this book in my heart. I longed for resolution, for hope, and for change. This story gives you a new perspective on how it's never too late to change something, no matter how hurt you are, or how long its been since you last made the effort.

What a complicated relationship these sisters have! I loved this book. It was quiet... but it was poignant. The emotional stiffness of estranged sisters was both believable and heartbreaking.

I couldn’t get into the narration in this book, it was written to precisely and not like how people talk or think. That really threw me off

****3.5**** Maria and Emma who have never been close even though they are half sisters and lived several years of their childhood together in a same house. When Maria, on a whim, invites Emma to her home in Spain, at their mother's funeral, little did she know how this invitation will bring a huge change in both their lives later. Emma, after two years gets in contact with Maria and decides to visit. Maria is dreading her sister's visit as she was never close to Emma and does know almost nothing about her life. Emma stays for six days and the reader gets to know about the life of these sisters where there is a negligent mother, abusive stepfather, sibling ego's and wobbly relationships.  A very short and intense novel. I loved the narration and it's plain plot where nothing much eventful happened but only revelation of past happens. Very well written and quiet.

A Sister in My House is a quick but interesting read from Linda Olson. On the surface its a story of two sisters attempting to reconnect after two years, but it quickly becomes more than that. The past can be a tricky to thing, in one way it pushes us forward and in another way it holds us back. The main character was a tad too selfish for me and the events at the house in Spain seemed rushed and the nice ending was a little unbelievable but overall it was a good read. I wish we got more detail about the backstories, I was left with more questions than answers. For those that have a sibling, give them a big hug.

Middle-aged sisters spend time together after years of separation when one attempts a rekindling of a relationship. The writing is spare, as befitting one of the sisters who is emotionally shut down and the narrator of the tale. I thought I would enjoy this story more than I did; it was just too remote for me. I like my sister stories with a bit more color and emotion.

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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