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Dark Sister

3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  774 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
Maggie and Alex have their problems. their old, drafty house, for one thing. Their stressed-out marriage, for another.

Then one day, uncovering and cleaning the house's original fireplace, they discover a dead blackbird...and an old handwritten diary full of herbal lore.

Maggie takes an interest in the diary. Soon, with the help of her friends Ash, and herbalist,and Old Liz,
...more
Paperback, 300 pages
Published June 3rd 2000 by Tom Doherty Associates (first published November 1992)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,737)
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Gaijinmama
Apr 28, 2010 Gaijinmama rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, favorites
This was an excellent, creepy fun read. I could hardly put it down.
A bored, frustrated housewife finds an old Witch's diary, starts messing around with the herbal remedies in it, and next thing you know she's invoking Hecate, making Flying Ointment, and dancing naked in the woods. Her husband is none too pleased, especially when she forgets to pick up the kids at the babysitter's.
The message here is "What goes around, comes around" and also "Be careful what you wish for. " It's only to be expec
...more
Bark's Book Nonsense
Dec 07, 2009 Bark's Book Nonsense rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
This is a book meant to be read in one sitting, preferably on a dark dreary night while the wind is howling through all of the cracks & crevices of old windows. Though I have the old, drafty windows, unfortunately, I no longer have the luxury of reading anything in one sitting and was forced to settle for half hour reading spurts whenever I could steal away from real life. Despite the pick-up and put-down method of my reading I was able to fall into the book all over again each time I began ...more
Jessica
May 02, 2011 Jessica rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I was not sure if I was going to like this book until the very end . . . I mean, it's Graham, GRAHAM! The man who endeared himself to me forever by confessing to having had a crush on Cathy from Wuthering Heights when he was twelve. He's adorable, and his other books have been BREATHTAKING, so I kept on going, but this book starts out with two people whose marriage is failing and who are taking out their own frustration on each other and their children . . . hard to read. But his writing is so d ...more
Julia
Feb 03, 2009 Julia rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: not recommended
Shelves: magical-realism
Have to admit I stopped reading this book--which surprised me, since I usually like Graham Joyce's dark worlds. However, I can't continue to read a book whose characters I dislike as much I did these. The husband turns my stomach, and the storyline of herbalism/witchcraft has been done much better by other authors. I'm going to try one more Joyce young adult book, but then that may be it.
Sarah
Once again Graham Joyce has managed to completely captivate me and draw me in! Dark Sister is a tale of a marriage torn apart by dark, unseen forces. What seems at first to be an innocent discovery of an ancient book hidden in the fireplace, turns out to be the beginning of a mystical, and at times nightmarish journey for Maggie and her family. The book seems to beckon to Maggie to read its pages and unlock its hidden secrets. What begins as a hobby, quickly takes a turn towards a darker, more m ...more
Scott
Sep 08, 2009 Scott rated it really liked it
Shelves: in-my-library
This was the second book by Graham Joyce I read, and it was soon after reading the first.

I have read a few book descriptions for this one and have decided to alter the best one, because some of the plot points were incorrect. So here is Tamara Hladik's description/review of the book that is listed as the description at Amazon.Com with my corrections/additions:

"Dark Sister" is the third book by British fantasy writer Graham Joyce to be published in the United States - and the author travels furt
...more
Ray
Nov 10, 2012 Ray rated it it was ok
Some authors don't know how to breathe life and emotional depth into their characters. Some people do not know how to live their lives with emotional depth and end becoming "characters." I had trouble figuring out whether Joyce was intentionally trying to depict shallow people or if he just can't write them. Either way, this was a depressing and mostly uninteresting read saved only by the supernatural element it contained.
Glenda
May 18, 2015 Glenda rated it really liked it
Maggie and Alex have their problems. their old, drafty house, for one thing. Their stressed-out marriage, for another.
Then one day, uncovering and cleaning the house's original fireplace, they discover a dead blackbird...and an old handwritten diary full of herbal lore.
Maggie takes an interest in the diary. Soon, with the help of her friends Ash, an herbalist, and Old Liz, an old woman with a deep knowledge of ancient ways, Maggie tried to find her way in a world of power and magic. But Maggie's
...more
Jade McDonough
Oct 08, 2007 Jade McDonough rated it did not like it
Blech. To be honest all I really remember is it's about a middle aged woman with an unhappy marriage who discovers that there really is magic and she can practice it. Of course that's what's been missing her entire life.

Dear God, you may as well just walk to the New Age section and just read something by Raven Silverwolf or whatever the fuck her name is since apparently that's what this author read alot of in researching this book. You'd get just as much fiction and maybe a little bit more enter
...more
BlackfishGirl
Dec 31, 2015 BlackfishGirl rated it liked it
I'm in two minds, this is the second Graham Joyce book I've read, both times I was intrigued by the blurb but slightly disappointed by the execution. It's a good enough read but I just found some things a little bit sloppily executed and lacking in depth and subtlety and felt the story could have been more interesting and detailed. Overall I preferred Some Kind of Fairytale. on paper this should be my perfect type of story, modern fantasy with an interesting twist, but it just didn't measure up ...more
Alan
Nov 10, 2015 Alan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: du Maurier fans
Recommended to Alan by: Other examples of the author's craft
It all started when Maggie and Alex Sanders found the book—an ancient leatherbound diary, walled up in a niche inside the fireplace in their quaint English country farmhouse. That's... not the kind of thing that would be likely to happen in the U.S., where our history is only a few centuries old at most. The Sanders only discovered the diary in the first place because they were trying to keep up with their friends the Suzmans... but even though Alex is the archaeologist, Maggie's the one who tak ...more
Nikki
Sep 06, 2012 Nikki rated it really liked it
This is the third Graham Joyce novel I have read and is one of his earlier books. I prefer his later books ( "Some Kind of Fairytale" and "Limits of Enchantment").The characterisation in this book is again brilliant but the story seemed a bit short with a lot happening in the final couple of chapters and I had to reread bits to keep up with what was happening. Saying that, the story was still really good and I raced though it- perhaps I should have savoured it more!
 Linda (Miss Greedybooks)
really cool intriguing story! I read it with a herbology book next to me - the things used in this book are real herbal remedies. I learned quite a bit. And it is spooky too.
Trunatrschild
Oct 13, 2008 Trunatrschild rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Traditional Witches
Shelves: fiction
Finding a BOS and experimenting with spells and Flying may not be the safest thing, unless you are willing to pay the price!
S.A.
Dec 13, 2013 S.A. rated it liked it
Hmm, what did I think. I think I hated Alex. He was such an insensitive asshole I found it easy to believe Maggie would want to cast a spell on his sorry ass.

But I also didn't find it easy to believe that Maggie would race forward toward serious witchcraft with such gay mad abandon when she supposedly loved her children. Bit of a disconnect there.

Joyce uses a few too many broad strokes to sketch out his characters. I sense he didn't even like them. Granted, in the heat of the moment, people do o
...more
Davy
Sep 12, 2013 Davy rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Another fine Graham Joyce novel. But this one is so similar to The Limits of Enchantment that you wonder why he decided to write them both. He uses a witch here and a midwife there, but in the end, you get the sense that these designations are just two sides of the same coin. Not to worry; both are charming stories that deserve to be told. As ever, the real triumph of this book is the human -- you might even say mundane -- story of common people you find buried at its center. Joyce uses the elem ...more
Linda
Nov 16, 2011 Linda rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Alex and Maggie, with their two young children, move into a new house, one with lots of history. While cleaning out the fireplace, they discover an ancient journal hidden in the chimney. Maggie's an intelligent, curious woman who loves her family, but Alex is controlling, and she's been feeling stifled. As she peruses the journal, she becomes embroiled in the writer's thoughts. Bella is a healer and wise woman who is studying the ways of magic, particularly clairvoyance and shape-shifting. Befor ...more
Joe Augustyn
Apr 12, 2014 Joe Augustyn rated it it was amazing
When you get a book by Graham Joyce you can be sure it will be well-written. Dark Sister is a great read. Joyce manages to create complex believable characters and intriguing situations very efficiently. This isn't a book for gorehounds but rather for folks who appreciate good literature with a sinister edge, a perfect read on a rainy night.
Therese Thompson
Feb 21, 2014 Therese Thompson rated it liked it
Hmmmmm-it was okay. It seemed to want to be a lot of things. Maybe I just did not like any of the characters that well. I can't put my finger quite on it, but it did not turn out to be a satisfying read. I did respect the research that was behind the story. Hopefully others enjoyed it more, because I do really like this author.
Sia
Jan 12, 2015 Sia rated it liked it
This book was recommended to me and when I got it I also saw that it had won an award - so overall I was really excited to read it. All in all a good read for those who like their fantasy novels, but I have to say the choice of language in the descriptions of the romantic/erotic scenes threw me off a bit.
Steven
Dec 08, 2013 Steven rated it really liked it
I truly enjoyed Graham Joyce's Dark Sister which conveys what it would be like to be a woman becoming a witch. What would such a person go through? How would it affect her non-witch world? How would it affect those around her?

The story is dark, sultry, full of power. It makes plausible some of the occult that we usually sneer at. It is wonderful to watch the characters emerge and shift. I found myself reading, mystified, wondering what would happen. I was clueless; and that was wonderful.

There a
...more
Diane
Dec 30, 2014 Diane rated it it was ok
I really did not like this book. it was strange, disturbing, and not the least likeable. I did like the first book from this author, Some Kind of Fairy Tale. Thought I would give another of his books a try. Nope, cannot recommend it.
Crymsyn Hart
Aug 04, 2014 Crymsyn Hart rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the book. This was a clever journey into the mind of woman who learns about becoming a witch and the dangers that can go along with it. The writer did a good job with the descriptions and I read through it pretty quickly.
Derek G
Jan 25, 2014 Derek G rated it really liked it
Astounding. Unlike anything I have read. The plot elements work together wonderfully through the last third or so. It is very involving from then on. There's an old "wise woman" named Liz, and I was very anxious to know anything she had to say in a particular scene; that's when I knew I was deeply invested. The ending is terrific.

The book is about a modern wife and mother who is compelled to pursue witchcraft. The plot involves psychology, archeology, split personalities, troubled children, phys
...more
S.A. Parham
Aug 13, 2007 S.A. Parham rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This author's style (and subject matter) reminded me strongly of Charles de Lint (in fact, there is a dust jacket blurb from de Lint in the book). Joyce dips into a combination of Celtic mythology, witchcraft, and history to present a mostly-believable tale about a woman who finds her path as a witch after finding an old diary during a fireplace renovation in her house. The only real gripe I had about the story is some of the husband's behavior mid-book, which I felt was rather out of character ...more
Kristi Lamont
Sep 28, 2014 Kristi Lamont rated it it was ok
Probably something I would've enjoyed more in my late 20s than my late 40s. But still a good slightly creepy read, and of course I do so love the very Britishness of it all.
Chris Stanley
Feb 11, 2016 Chris Stanley rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
I enjoyed Graham Joyce's creepy Dark Sister, however it was not nearly as good as Some Kind of Fairy Tale. A big problem is, the very unlikeable characters, especially Alex, and I would have liked a bit more plot with Ash in. The beginning was a bit slow, but once it got going, and the pace picked up, the book became difficult to put down.. It's not exactly full of twists, but getting to the conclusion was interesting.
Zinzi Graham
Apr 13, 2015 Zinzi Graham rated it it was amazing
This was the first book in quite some time that I've read in one sitting, I couldn't put it down! It's a thoroughly enjoyable easy read.
Panagiotis
''Η νεράϊδα των δοντιών'' ήταν καλύτερη, αλλά δεν παύει να είναι και αυτό ένα καλό βιβλίο. Απλώς εμένα ο συγγραφέας με έχει καλομάθει.
Rich
Nov 08, 2012 Rich rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy-urban
It was a little hard for me to get into the book because I really didn't like either of the main characters, Alex or Maggie--especially Alex, who was particularly blockheaded. In the end, there were some aspects of the story that I didn't feel were fully resolved (who the heck was the old lady on the rat?) or completely missed. It could be that I started losing a bit of patience and rushed towards the end when I started to dislike Alex and Maggie even more than I did earlier. On the whole, I sti ...more
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Graham Joyce (22 October 1954 – 9 September 2014) was an English writer of speculative fiction and the recipient of numerous awards for both his novels and short stories.

After receiving a B.Ed. from Bishop Lonsdale College in 1977 and a M.A. from the University of Leicester in 1980. Joyce worked as a youth officer for the National Association of Youth Clubs until 1988. He subsequently quit his po
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