Leah's Reviews > A Sister's Gift

A Sister's Gift by Giselle Green
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Feb 04, 10

bookshelves: books-read-2010, for-review
Read from January 27 to 30, 2010

Hollie Hudson is happily married to husband Richard but craves one thing desperately: a baby. It’s all she’s ever dreamed about since she was a little girl and the fact she’s incapable of having a baby is driving her to distraction. After happening upon a leaflet for a surrogate Hollie comes up with the answer to all of her problems: she’ll ask her sister Scarlett to be her surrogate. Scarlett, however, is nothing like homebody Hollie and has spent a couple of years in the Amazon rainforest desperate to come up with a solution to stop the rainforest being destroyed. Once PlanetLove, the organisation Scarlett works for, is taken over by a new group, Scarlett finds herself back in England to renew her visa and to try and raise money before heading back to Brazil. After Hollie asks Scarlett to be her surrogate, Scarlett realises she could raise the money she needs sooner than she thinks… Just how far will the two sisters go to realise their dreams?

After picking up Little Miracles by Giselle Green at the book swop one day I set about reading it and quckly fell in love with both the plot and the characters. It was a fantastic read and it intrigued me to read that on the cover of the book Giselle was referred to as the ‘English Jodi Picoult’. Little Miracles was quite like a Jodi Picoult book – it had the drama and intensity of a Picoult read and I went searching for other books by Giselle. Giselle herself sent me her first book – which I have yet to read – as well as her latest book A Sister’s Gift which I eagerly started.

A Sister’s Gift has a very Jodi Picoult-esque plot and the book is quite controversial which I’ll discuss more later. Like Little Miracles, A Sister’s Gift alternates first person perspective between both Hollie and Scarlett and, like the second book, it works. It gives us insight to what both Scarlett and Hollie are feeling at any given time and it’s so good to see the conflicting thoughts of both sisters. At the beginning of the book Hollie is at a charity event in which hundreds of red balloons are released, all bearing a message to any given person. We follow one of the red balloons throughout the book as it heads (or tries to head) towards Scarlett and that gives us our third perspective.

I have to admit that as the book wore on, I found myself getting very conflicted about what I thought about each of the characters. It’s incredibly easy to sympathise with Hollie at the beginning of the book and her desperation about not being able to conceive was hugely believable. However as her desperation spirals out of control it gets harder and harder to like her as her suggestions to Scarlett become more and more outrageous. She did still maintain my sympathy but for a while there she wasn’t very likable. As for Scarlett I think I liked her but most of the time I found she was hugely selfish in everything she does throughout the book. Everything she agrees to do is only on the stipulation that it helps her in some way and, to be honest, I found it hard to really really like her. Even Richard, Hollie’s husband, irritated me. I thought he was fantastic and hugely understanding through the first half of the book but one scene completely changed my mind about him. After that I just couldn’t let myself like him anymore. As far as characters go, they were the main three in the book and anyone else mentioned were only minor characters.

The real let down of what was, up until then, a fantastic book came about half way through and it really put me off. Hollie comes up with a crazy idea about how to conceive her dream baby and forces Richard to go along with it. The entire scene was completely off-putting and although it wasn’t essentially wrong, it all felt completely wrong and forced. I did wonder if I would manage to carry on with the book but after getting past the entire ugliness of it all I did find myself getting sucked back into the book. The main theme of the book seems to be the idea of what the word charity means. For me though, instead of feeling as everything that happens is charitable I thought it was more pure selfishness. Hollie wants Scarlett to have her baby and no matter how often she denies that she feels Scarlett owes her this, that is how it actually comes across. It does seem that Hollie believes Scarlett owes her this one favour and it smacks of selfishness. Yes, there are reasons behind it all but it’s still selfish. As for Scarlett agreeing to have the baby, the only reason she does this is so she can make Hollie sell the cottage they grew up in so she can help save the rain-forest. It seems that there is a thin line between charity and selfishness and I felt A Sister’s Gift came under the latter category.

For all the things I’ve complained about, I did enjoy the book hugely. The fact that I could debate so many different points throughout my review speaks of just how controversial and thought-provoking the book is. It was a fantastic read and I definitely found myself questioning just how far is too far. There were lots of mini plot lines running throughout the book as well as the surrogate storyline. Scarlett’s bid to try and save the rain-forest was fairly interesting and to learn what happened to Hollie years ago to make her unable to conceive a child took a while to come out but when it did, it was quite shocking. There was also the long-running unrequited love of Richard that Scarlett holds. It all ties together to make an absorbing read and I read it in two days. The ending, like Little Miracles, is hugely open – even more open than the ending of Little Miracles, actually. While I liked the openness of Little Miracles’s ending, I would have liked more from A Sister’s Gift. It all ends quite abruptly to leave me to make up my own mind on how it all works out in the end, but I’d have liked just a little bit more to help shape the ending. Whereas the ending of Little Miracles was perfect, A Sister’s Gift needed another chapter to tie things together a bit more.

All in all, I really enjoyed reading A Sister’s Gift. Giselle Green has opened herself up to a lot of debate/criticism over some of the things that happen in the book and although I didn’t agree with what was arguably the most controversial scene in the entire book, I did still find myself enjoying the book. It’s definitely a gripping book and although it is slightly similar to Jodi Picoult – the controversy and plot – it is also different – no court cases, for starters. I absolutely do recommend the book but I do attach a note of caution about the scene I mentioned above.
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Reading Progress

01/27/2010 page 187
01/27/2010 page 244
59.66% "One scene has changed this book for me. Completely wrong and I just didn't like it." 1 comment
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Rossy (new)

Rossy I hope you'll review this one. It sounds like a good story but the Picoult comparison makes me wary.

Leah Rossy wrote: "I hope you'll review this one. It sounds like a good story but the Picoult comparison makes me wary. "

I will be, next week! That's actually what drew me to the book the Picoult comparison. Do you like Jodi?

message 3: by Rossy (last edited Jan 27, 2010 02:52PM) (new)

Rossy Leah wrote: "Rossy wrote: "I hope you'll review this one. It sounds like a good story but the Picoult comparison makes me wary. "

I will be, next week! That's actually what drew me to the book the Picoult comp..."

Well i can't say i don't as i have yet to finish a book by her. When i did start one a few years ago, i just couldn't stop crying and just had to know what was going to happen in the end. So i cheated and read the ending. Well it was too sad so i decided to put her book on my shelf for a bit, but they have sort of stayed there.

I don't mind emotional reads but non HEA ending books i need to be a certain mood to read.

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