The Night Sister: Review

The Night Sister 
by: Jennifer McMahon

I just completed this spine chilling novel yesterday, and I could not wait to chat about it with you all! I have recently been getting into the horror genre as a break from too much of the same Fantastical stories, however that is not to say that I do not still love Fantastical stories. This new foray into horror began with HEX by: Thomas Olde Heuvelt, and after that I have been alternating between the scary and fantastical with what books I read. This book was eerie, not as "horrific" as it could have been, though that is what McMahon's books tend to be like. I would say check this one out if you are new to the genre or get scared easily as it is a rather tame idea overall but the writing makes up for the simplicity of horror elements!

Plot: "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.
 " (

General Thoughts: 
  • This book is simply imaginative at its core; I cannot describe it any other way. This book weaves horror, folk lore, and relationships of all kinds into a chilling tale of mystery and intrigue!
  • The setting of rural Vermont lends a great depth to the story as it unfolds. I happen to live in this great state, therefor seeing it done so well in a novel makes me giddy with joy. Though I do not think you have to have come to Vermont to completely grasp the nature of this town, McMahon is writing so that you will get more out of the story if you have some experience with small towns. 
    • Even if you have no experience with small New England towns, I must say that the relationships and interactions between people in small towns is synonymous to any small town.
  • This book is a great example of an eerie story done right! It is not laden with jump-scare moments, nor is it a completely even tone and stagnant storytelling technique. This story is the perfect balance of unease and genuine character building connections.
  • This writing reads effortlessly!
  • McMahon has a very well rounded colloquial handle on Vermont and New England for that matter, which transports the reader into the story all the more quickly.
  • Though the writing is not particularly beautiful it brings a refreshing voice to story telling. 
  • McMahon's style is a nuanced balance between the literary floral writing styles that can be seen in many classics and the stark and simplistic journalism that is seen in newspapers.
  • The characters in this novel show all aspects of human emotion, not just the perfect side full of loce and joy. 
  • The adventures that they encounter trying to find clues as to the disappearance of the well known aunt Sylvie remind me of the show Scooby Doo and the little days in summer when my friends went exploring our houses for "clues".
  • Margot: Margot is the sister of Piper who were the friends of Amy, the woman who is brutally murdered at the beginning of the story. Margot was a part of the original crew who went looking for the mystical 29th room and the ever illusive aunt Sylvie in that fateful summer. I found Margot to be a problematic character who acted as a supporting character for the rest of the crew. She did have a personality and wit in the flashback scenes to the summer when the story began to unfold, however in the present she is extremely pregnant and seems to act like a stressful mess.
  • Amy: Amy is the niece of Sylvia. Amy is an inquisitive and ruthless child who sparks all the investigations into Sylvie's past and the dark family secrets that have been hidden over the years.I loved seeing Amy's spunky and inquisitive personality blossom through their deadly search for answers.
  • All the characters combined into one large group gave the story the great tones and thrill ride that I loved! 
  • These characters are well crafted "People" who I can relate to even thought I am not a girl living with a dark family secret;McMahon has a way with crafting characters that is unmatched by most writers. The characters are my favorite part of any novel, and McMahon treats all her characters with respect and dignity that I think all characters need. 
Recommendation: I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for an excellent atmospheric read with great character growth and a dash of horror!

Book Information: 
Title: The Night Sister by: Jennifer McMahon
Pages: 384
ISBN: 0804169977
Publisher: Anchor

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Happy Reading!


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