Bernice Barrington is a writer and journalist based in Ireland. Sisters and Lies is her debut novel.
I enjoy domestic thrillers so when Penguin Ireland gave me an advance review copy of Bernice Barrington’s debut novel, Sisters and Lies, I was excited to get stuck in.
Sisters and Lies is a twisty domestic thriller about two Irish sisters — one a successful author and the other a struggling business journalist. Each has a troubled past due, in part, to the sudden disappearance of their father while they were still children — an event with lasting consequences for the sisters’ adult relationships.
The story begins when successful author Rachel Power has just returned to Ireland from a book tour. Rachel gets a life-changing phone call telling her that her sister, Evie, is in a coma in a London hospital.
Evie has crashed a luxury car and it’s uncertain if, or when, she’ll wake up. With no other family to call on since their mother died, Rachel is Evie’s next of kin. She flies to London and discovers that no one else was involved in the accident and Evie is the only casualty.
Could suicide have been Evie’s motive? The police don’t seem to suspect foul play but Rachel is not so sure. For one thing, Evie doesn’t have a car so whose car was it and why was Evie driving?
Before long, Rachel finds questions about Evie’s life mounting up and her suspicions grow. For one thing, there’s a man living in Evie’s flat who claims to be her boyfriend. But who is the handsome Donnagh Flood and why has Rachel never heard of him?
The more Rachel discovers about Evie’s life, the more she fears the crash was not an accident. As the days go by and Evie remains unconscious, Rachel begins to question how well she really knew her sister.
Meanwhile Evie although comatose is aware of Rachel’s presence in the hospital but unable to communicate. Mentally, Evie tries to piece together the events that led to the crash.
Into the mix of Sisters and Lies Bernice Barrington adds Rachel’s estranged husband, Jacob, and Evie’s past and current boyfriends, Artie and Donnagh. Barrington draws her characters well — they are believable and rounded and their complicated relationships make for an interesting story line in this twisty domestic mystery thriller. Sisters and Lies by Bernice Barrington is published by Penguin.