Sworn Secret by Amanda Jennings
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
From Amazon: When Anna, Lizzie Thorne's charismatic sister, is killed in a tragic fall from the roof of her school, her family is plunged into shock and despair. One year on and grief still has a suffocating hold on them. Her mother, Kate, consumed by loss and desperate to find someone to blame for Anna's death, retreats from her family, locking herself away to paint Anna's portrait for hours on end. Jon, her father, is doing his best to care for his loved ones but the pressure of trying to stop his marriage collapsing is pushing him to breaking point. And amid her parents' turmoil Lizzie just wants to grow up and leave her sister's ghost in the past. But then a devastating revelation rocks her parents further still and raises questions concerning what really happened the night Anna died. While Kate and Jon grapple with their dead daughter's secrets, Lizzie throws herself into a passionate but forbidden love affair that frees her from the heartache all around her - but also threatens to tear her family apart.
What a gem of a book. The author conveyed the sadness, anger, helplessness and a ton of other feelings that this family are experiencing after the loss of their eldest daughter. Each main character - daughter Lizzie, Mum Kate & Dad Jon - were well drawn and really came to life. Weirdly, Jon was the character I was drawn to the most - going into the book I fully expected to care most about Lizzie - this man is struggling with the biggest loss a parent can suffer, but trying to hold it together for his family. These people aren't perfect - they're human, with all the flaws that come with it.
And just when things are at rock bottom, a friend of their deceased daughter drops a massive bombshell that makes them question what they thought they knew about their beloved Anna and some of the people around them. Heartbreaking stuff, but so well written. I especially liked that you are left with questions at the end of the story - go back and read the opening chapter again, and draw your own conclusions.
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