The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon

September 4th, 2015 kimbacaffeinate Review 32 Comments

4th Sep
The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon
The Night Sister
by Jennifer McMahon
Published by: Random House
Genres: Suspense thriller, Mystery
Source: Publisher
Purchase: Amazon
Goodreads
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Once the thriving attraction of rural Vermont, the Tower Motel now stands in disrepair, alive only in the memories of Amy, Piper, and Piper's kid sister, Margot. The three played there as girls until the day that their games uncovered something dark and twisted in the motel's past, something that ruined their friendship forever. Now adult, Piper and Margot have tried to forget what they found that fateful summer, but their lives are upended when Piper receives a panicked midnight call from Margot, with news of a horrific crime for which Amy stands accused. Suddenly, Margot and Piper are forced to relive the time that they found the suitcase that once belonged to Silvie Slater, the aunt that Amy claimed had run away to Hollywood to live out her dream of becoming Hitchcock's next blonde bombshell leading lady. As Margot and Piper investigate, a cleverly woven plot unfolds—revealing the story of Sylvie and Rose, two other sisters who lived at the motel during its 1950s heyday. Each believed the other to be something truly monstrous, but only one carries the secret that would haunt the generations to come.

I have been in the mood for suspenseful reads and The Night Sister with its creepy vibe and paranormal elements/lores was just the perfect fix. Jennifer McMahon brings us to a rural town in Vermont and shares with us a dark, twisted tale after a horrific crime occurs. A suspenseful page-turner, The Night Sister hooked me from page one.

The Night Sister begins at the Tower Motel in a rural town in Vermont where we meet Amy. She is clearly disturbed about something and pulls the shotgun out of the hall closet. From page, one I am riveted, as Amy refers to old childhood friends. A phone call to the local police informs us that something horrific has occurred at the Tower Motel.

The story is told in multiple perspectives and shares events from the past and present.

  • Present day: Amy is dead and accused of a horrific crime. In her hands, a photo was found with a short message on the back. Margot and Piper are shocked by the news and it reawakens memories of the summer they found the “suitcase.” Margot and Piper begin to investigate on their own.
  • Childhood of Amy, Piper and Margot: We go to the summer Amy, Margot and Piper’s friendship ended. The three of them spent time together at the rundown motel. Skating in the now empty pool, and exploring the forbidden tower. Here they find a hidden suitcase that belonged to Amy’s aunt Sylvie. Amy was told Sylvia ran away to Hollywood and was never heard from again. What does this suitcase mean? McMahon weaves a fascinating story as the girls pepper Amy’s grandmother with questions and explore the motel and home for clues.
  • 1950’s: We spend time with Rose, Amy’s mother and her sister Sylvia when the hotel was enjoying its glory days before the interstate cut the life flow to their town. The time spent with the sister’s was creepy. Never have two sisters been more different. We spend most of our time in Rose’s head but we also get to read letters addressed to Alfred Hitchcock from Sylvia.

McMahon beautiful intertwines all of these stories together creating suspense, as she introduced subtle paranormal elements in the form old lores. The story was riveting as I tried to solve the mysteries and did not truly see until the last moment. The multiple perspectives delivered insight while increasing the overall suspense as we the reader begin to weave things together. Chapters broke up the perspectives making the transitions easy for the reader.

The Night Sister was a suspenseful mystery that sinks its teeth into you and keeps the reader guessing. Perfect for fall and one to introduce your book club too.

About Jennifer McMahon

Jennifer McMahon

Born in 1968 and grew up at her grandmother’s house in suburban Connecticut, where she was convinced a ghost named Virgil lived in the attic. Wrote her first short story in third grade. Graduated with a BA from Goddard College in 1991 and then studied poetry for a year in the MFA in Writing Program at Vermont College. A poem turned into a story, which turned into a novel, and she decided to take some time to think about whether she wanted to write poetry or fiction. After bouncing around the country, she wound up back in Vermont, living in a cabin with no electricity, running water, or phone with her partner, Drea, while they built their own house. Over the years, she has been a house painter, farm worker, paste-up artist, Easter Bunny, pizza delivery person, homeless shelter staff member, and counselor for adults and kids with mental illness — She quit her last real job in 2000 to work on writing full time. In 2004, She gave birth to their daughter, Zella. These days, they’re living in an old Victorian in Montpelier, Vermont. Some neighbors think it looks like the Addams family house, which brings her immense pleasure.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. She's a self-professed Whovian, as well as a Supernatural, and Sherlock Holmes junkie, She enjoys sharing books, tips, recipes and hosting the Sunday Post. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat... Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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32 Responses to “The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon”

  1. Melliane

    I always love that when we have different periods in a book like that. Plus it’s great to have a creepy book and this one looks also very interesting. It’s the first time I hear about it so thank you.

    Melliane recently posted: Crucible Zero by Devon Monk
  2. Kristin

    Creepy! But Amy is dead!!!! What is up with that?!?! Fantastic point about the chapter breaks making the multiple perspectives and time shifts easier to read. Usually those types of books are very daunting!!!!

    And this does sound like a fabulous book club read – perfect middle of the road choice for next month 🙂

  3. Jenny

    This sounds a little tricky with all the different POVs and jumps in time, but it’s obviously handled really well or you wouldn’t have given it such a high rating! I love a book that starts out strong and never lets up, it’s sometimes fun to have no real lead in and instead just hit the ground running with the characters:)

  4. Laurel-Rain Snow

    I do love the sound of this one…I have only read one book by this author, and it wasn’t a favorite read for me (Dismantled), but I’m willing to give her another try. Thanks for sharing.

    Laurel-Rain Snow recently posted: AUTHOR’S HOME PAGE
  5. Ramona

    Oh, I must absolutely read this one. It sounds wonderfully atmospheric and unusual and definitely worth my time. You always pick the most interesting books, Kimba 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend!

    Ramona recently posted: An Autumn Of Books
  6. Amber Elise

    Ooo so the book doesn’t start present day? I must say, that opening definitely has me wanting to know more! Thanks Kim! I’m trying to get my Halloween queue up, and this one definitely made the cut!

    Amber Elise recently posted: Book Review: Anne & Henry
  7. Rita

    I read this awhile back and really enjoyed it; it turned out to be totally different than I had thought it to be, and if I had known more maybe wouldn’t have picked it up and thus not got the pleasure of reading it. I’ve read most of the author’s books and they are all over the map for me ratings-wise, based on the actual plots, not her writing skill. Glad you enjoyed it!

  8. laura thomas

    I always enjoy it when the story is shared in different time periods. This sounds like a thrilling suspense and I’m all over that genre. Love that cover too. I wonder who she’s running from and if that scene is depicted in the book. Great review, as always:)

    laura thomas recently posted: The Friday 56 #76 ~ Brood X