The Ugly Sister

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The Ugly Sister,  Jane Fallon, book reviewJane Fallon is already the very successful author of three great novels and she has just written her fourth – The Ugly Sister. I had high expectations of this book, having already really enjoyed her first three, and I was not disappointed. However, I’m not quite sure why but it did take me a little while to get into it.

Sisters, Abi and Caroline (now calling herself Cleo), were very close when they were growing up despite being quite different. Caroline was the attractive one whereas Abi was more plain and studious. However, everything changed overnight when, at the age of sixteen, Caroline was spotted and offered a lucrative modelling contract. Abi could only watch as her sister’s career took off and she became a national celebrity. Unfortunately, somewhere along the road to success, Caroline seemed to forget all about her younger sister.

Many years later, and quite unexpectedly, Cleo (Caroline) has invited Abi to spend the summer with her and her family. Abi is looking forward to attempting to reconcile their differences but it seems that Cleo has other ideas and sees her sister as little more than unpaid help, expecting Abi to look after her daughters while she tries to restore her failing modelling career. It looks like it’s all going to be a horrible mistake as far as Abi is concerned but gradually, whilst her sister is out trying to get modelling work, she becomes closer to her two spoilt nieces and Caroline’s husband, Jon. It almost feels as if they are a real family unit! She can’t help realising that Jon is pretty attractive too and it’s also starting to become apparent that the feeling is mutual. This leads to all sorts of dilemmas as far as Abi is concerned; mainly should she follow her heart but sacrifice any chance of the relationship that she has been hoping for with Cleo for so many years?

Although I found The Ugly Sister a bit slow to start with, once it had got going I found it irresistible to put down. I could really empathise with Abi and it looked that there could be no happy endings to look forward to. I thought all of the characters really developed well and it was interesting to see the different values and attitudes between the two sisters. It also emphasised well how beauty is really only skin deep and if you are not really beautiful on the inside then whatever looks that you do have count for nothing. I also found the book quite thought provoking as Abi struggled with her conscience and I couldn’t help wondering what I might do in similar circumstances. Hopefully I will never know!

I really enjoyed The Ugly Sister and towards the end could hardly put it down. My only slight criticism was that I did feel a little short changed by the ending which I found quite abrupt. I guess that I am the sort of reader that likes all the loose ends neatly sewn up. However, I guess that it does give the opportunity for a sequel if Jane Fallon chose to write one.

Overall though, The Ugly Sister is another great book from Jane Fallon and I really do recommend it.

The Ugly Sister by Jane Fallon
Published by Penguin, September 2011
I would like to thank the publishers for sending me a copy for review.

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Ugly Sister, The
by Jane Fallon

One Comment on "The Ugly Sister"

  1. Harvee
    20/10/2011 at 17:25 Permalink

    My first Jane Fallon book and I enjoyed it also. Must try her other novels.

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Written by kingfisher

My name is Jo and I have been married to Simon for nine years. We have two beautiful daughters – Rachel who is six and Natalie who is almost five and starting school in January. I also have two step children aged twenty one and seventeen so family life is never dull. I also manage to work three days for a local education authority where I support the teaching of literacy in primary schools. I love my job and it’s ideal for a book lover like me. In my spare time I run, dance and occasionally tread the boards with my local amateur dramatics group. My first love is reading though and you will never find me without a book on the go. My husband is also an avid reader and we are hoping to pass on our love of reading to our daughters. They certainly love their bedtime stories every night. Although I have and English degree and I am familiar with most of the classics, I generally read much lighter stuff these days. It’s mainly ‘chic lit’ but I also enjoy a good thriller or courtroom drama. I have so many favourite authors and this list tends to change regularly depending on what I am reading.

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