Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Silent Sister (Riley MacPherson, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Silent Sister (Riley MacPherson, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Excerpt

The Silent Sister

(Riley MacPherson #1)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  74,762 ratings  ·  6,899 reviews
In The Silent Sister, Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager. Now, over twenty years later, her father has passed away and she's in New Bern, North Carolina cleaning out his house when she finds evidence to the contrary. Lisa is alive. Alive and living under a new identity. But why exactly was she on ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 7th 2014 by St. Martin's Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Silent Sister, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This question contains spoilers... (view spoiler)
Diane Chamberlain If I could write this book over again, I would make it very clear! This is the question I am asked most often, and the answer is in chapter 18. I was …moreIf I could write this book over again, I would make it very clear! This is the question I am asked most often, and the answer is in chapter 18. I was too subtle!(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  74,762 ratings  ·  6,899 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Silent Sister (Riley MacPherson, #1)
Elyse Walters
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Audiobook..... ( gotta love the library Overdrive... keeps improving too)

Easy Listening..... easy to follow ....engaging ... not earth-shattering fantastic....
but I enjoyed turning in to this station. The narrator's voice was 'very pleasant' - and held my attention. I was a happy camper!!!

I guess I'd call this mystery-light! Lisa, a musical prodigy on the violin, age 16, is assumed dead..... having committed suicide many years ago.....after having committed murder, and before her court date.
Aug 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This sister can stay silent no longer: I LOVED THIS BOOK!

I was THRILLED to receive this book from Goodreads, and here is my honest review:

This was a fantastic book! How is it that I never knew about this author? I'm so glad that I won this book, because who knows how much longer I would have gone without having Diane Chamberlain on my radar? One more day would have been too long. So goodreads, I thank you.

I don't want to give away any of the plot. I will tell you this: there is a sister. She is
Katie B
This is the type of book that is enjoyable even when you have an idea what is going to happen. You feel invested enough in the story to actually watch it play out even if it is predictable.

Riley MacPherson's father has recently passed and she returns to her childhood home to sort through his belongings. It's up to her to get everything in order because her sister committed suicide when Riley was a toddler, her mother died years ago and her brother Danny won't be much help because he has his own
Lady Vigilante (Feifei)
3-3.5 stars!!


99% of the books I read are strictly romance but sometimes I need a mystery/thriller/suspense to spice things up a bit and The Silent Sister seemed like a good choice. Overall, I was left somewhat underwhelmed, but I had a blast unraveling this intricately-woven mystery!

Riley’s father has passed away and she returns to her childhood home to settle his affairs and the house. She doesn’t expect to uncover a boatload of family secrets, including the one that reveals the truth about her
Patrice Hoffman
Jun 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
Imagine everything you've been told about you, your family, and your long lost sister are all lies? Well, in Diane Chamberlain's The Silent Sister Riley MacPherson finds that the stories she's been told of her sister, believed to have committed suicide as a teenager, just may in fact be alive. How's that for a huge family secret?

Riley is trying to clean out her father's home when a series of events lead her to believe that she may in fact want to investigate her past. At the age of 25, all the p
Jul 08, 2016 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It kept me on the edge of my seat and some parts were def. predictable but I still enjoyed the journey it took to get there. The ending was rushed and the majority of the secrets and etc spilled out in the last 50 pages which wasn't enough time for me. I would recommend this to anyone who's looking for a good mystery to read. ...more
Nov 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
I really enjoyed this book. I have read all of Diane Chamberlain's books and was anxiously awaiting this one. I was not disappointed. I read it in a very short time which is unusual lately. However, this book kept me interested. I am excited for her next book!
This is the second book of this author that I finished and once again I am emotionally invested in the deftly plotted, immensely readable, and masterfully executed saga of a family in crisis.

Perhaps the title could have been The Violin named Violet. Mmm...yes, a bit too much, but really, this violin in this tale had this mysterious story to tell: "Hi, my name is Violet, Violet MacPherson, the only member of this family, apart from Lisa who committed suicide at the age of sixteen, who knows what
Bren fall in love with the sea.
“No matter how many people care about you, she thought, if you can't be open with them about who you truly are, you're still alone.”
― Diane Chamberlain, The Silent Sister

This book was one that I had not heard of. A friend gave it to me. She thought it would be my kind of book and it was.

This is not a thriller in the conventional sense. It is about a girl Riley who lives in North Carolina. She had a sister who committed suicide at an early age and that facy has always haunted her. Until one day s
Jun 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: usa, family-drama
*Mild spoilers ahead*

Riley goes back home after her father's death to clear out his house. While there, she gets sucked into the secret past of their family. She discovers that her sister Lisa did not commit suicide as her parents told her, but had escaped a murder trial with the help of their father. The story starts off with a lot of suspense and interest but fizzles out in the middle. The end is a disaster, leaving practically every question unresolved.

Lisa's story could have been intriguing
I was lucky enough to win an ARC of this book through a Goodreads Giveaway in exchange for an honest review. I want to thank St. Martin's Press for the gift.

This novel was a real pleasant surprise for me. I usually read thrillers, but I entered the Giveaway contest for this book as the plot looked interesting. It wasn't long before I was pulled into the story and was totally engrossed thereafter. I read the book in 4 days which is really fast for me. I will not re-summarize the plot, only to say
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-4
Wow, this book was an amazing combination of family drama and mystery that kept the twists and turns coming with every chapter. 25-year-old Riley returns home after her father's death to settle his estate and starts finding pieces of his life that just don't fit in. She always knew that she had a much older sister who killed herself when she was a baby, but as neighbors let pieces of information slip, and Riley uncovers clues within the house, she discovers that may not be what happened at all, ...more
Feb 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing book. I really enjoyed this book. I will definitely be looking into more books from this author.
May 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Every time I finish a Diane Chamberlain book, I'm reminded why she is at the top of my favorite authors list!! Her stories always have characters I love and care about, and the plot twists are amazing. When I'm reading her novels, I cruise through them, turning pages and finishing chapters faster than I normally do because I have to know what happens next to those characters I adore. This makes for a great read you'll love to curl up with! ...more
Diane S ☔
Apr 16, 2014 rated it liked it
2.5 When Riley returns home to clear out her Father's house after his death, she finds everything she believed about her family was wrong.

A story about secrets and the detrimental effect on a family. This is not one of my favorites of Chamberlain novels. Although at times the story was interesting I felt the plot was uneven. At times over dramatic and the dialogue forced and stilted. Usually this author does a good job writing women's fiction, aptly straddling the line between wringing excess em
Jan 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another addictive book that I couldn't put down. I know some reviewers have said this was predictable and to a certain extent I agree but I think with this author in particular it's not about guessing the big plot twists and final conclusion, it's more about how all the small pieces fit together and the character development. ...more
The Silent Sister is a standalone novel written by author Diane Chamberlain. This novel features two parallel storylines: one that reveals a past family drama and one that shows how the present-day family is dealing with slow discoveries related to it. While reading this type of writing style, I usually have a favorite storyline, and “the past” was my favorite in this one. But with both, I was caught up in the intrigue, the mystery, even some light suspense, and I experienced a great amount of e ...more
Nov 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio

3.5 stars

Riley MacPherson returns to New Bern, NC to handle her father’s estate and ends up uncovering long buried family secrets. Everything she thought she knew was wrong. Her sister might not have committed suicide, but may still be alive.

This one took a while to grab my attention. It’s initially a slow burn. This is a steady, not a fast paced book. Chamberlain throws out hints on a regular basis. Chapters are alternated between past and present. And yes, I could see things coming from miles
Jun 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain is a 2014 St. Martin’s Press publication.

I have enjoyed every book I’ve read by Diane Chamberlain, but this is one of those I missed along the way. I recently saw Buzzfeed’s list of the top most suspenseful books and this one was pretty far up on the list. So, I immediately went in search of a copy. (Once more my Overdrive library account proves invaluable!)

Years ago, Lisa, a young musical prodigy with a bright future ahead of her, disappeared and is pres
Adelaide Swift
Jun 09, 2015 rated it did not like it
...has a lot going on for 350 pages, most of which is detail masquerading as substance. Let's explore.

The core of the novel is promising: Riley (our protagonist) is cleaning out the home of her late father and 'discovers evidence' that her sister, who everyone thinks committed suicide, might be alive. She embarks on a journey to discover her family's past.

That tidy little nugget of synopsis is stretched to a degree of agonizing attenuation over the course of the novel. The reader is forced to wa
Connie Cox
Jul 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, audible-cd
Perhaps not my favorite Chamberlain, but another solid and enjoyable read by who I think is one of today's better story tellers. I am always able to connect with most of her characters, as they are "real" people. In this case Riley could be anyone I know....until her father dies and she comes to discover that her life is full of secrets and lies.

Chamberlain tells this story through two voices. The present voice is Riley as she tries to discover if anything she grew up believing is true. The ba
Dale Harcombe
Jul 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After the death of her father, Riley MacPherson returns to her childhood home. While clearing out her father’s possessions she finds out more than she bargained for about her father and also the sister who she barely remembers. Lisa was 17 when newspapers reported her death and Riley 2 so it is hardly surprising Riley doesn’t remember her, especially when there seems to be so much mystery surrounding Lisa’s apparent suicide. But could there be more to the story? There certainly is. Some families ...more
When Riley MacPherson returns home to New Bern, North Carolina following her father's death, she discovers information among his belongings that unveils a lifetime of secrets.

I found this to be an interesting story with an underlying message about the cost of withholding secrets from family for their sake. The toll it took on Riley's self perception and her damaged brother, Danny, was immeasurable. I thought it was an apt illustration of good intentions gone awry.

I liked the story though I figur
Initial reaction: Um, holy crud. This was good. I'm trying to decide on a final rating between 4 and 4.5 stars, but as per usual, Chamberlain really immersed me into the plight of the characters and overarching story. I couldn't put this book down, and I"m really glad I had the chance to read it as a galley.

Full review:

"The Silent Sister" was yet another book of Diane Chamberlain's that engaged me from beginning to end. By that I mean it kept me guessing for events for a good part of the narrati
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

Three children...and ​then there were two. All was hush, hush about how that happened, and Riley didn't find out why until after both her parents had passed away.

As Riley was cleaning out her parents' home, talking to different neighbors, and talking to folks her father had left things to in his will, she had her share of surprises and shocking revelations.

THE SILENT SISTER has twists that keep you turning the pages as you learn of secrets that had been kept for years and secrets that only a few
Jun 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Riley MacPherson has lost her entire family in one form or another; she heads back to New Bern, NC to wrap up things after her father's death. She discovers a shocking secret, things aren't always as they appear in her family, and her sister-- who committed suicide 20 years ago-- comes back into play...

Can't say too much more without giving away the book! I will say Diane Chamberlain's writing always leaves me wanting more, and I flew through this book because (once again) I HAD to know what was
Sep 27, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Frank Phillips
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
So I'm a bit embarrassed to admit this, but this was my first DC book! It was great and I'm a fan now! I can't wait to check out my next DC book. Any recommendations? ...more
Stephanie Anze
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Riley MacPherson returns home after her father's unexpected death. Riley is in charge of carrying out his will as her mother died already, her brother (Danny) is a war veteran that has a problems of his own and her sister (Lisa) committed suicide when she was seventeen (about twenty years ago). As the contents of her childhood home are being appraised and the house being prepared for sale, Riley comes across information that deeply unsettles her: there were exigent circumstances related to Lisa' ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • What Happened to the Bennetts
  • The Golden Couple
  • The Hotel Nantucket
  • Wish You Were Here
  • Mad Honey
  • The Good Sister
  • The Younger Wife
  • The Night She Disappeared
  • The Book Woman's Daughter (The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, #2)
  • The Overnight Guest
  • Local Woman Missing
  • Girl, Forgotten (Andrea Oliver, #2)
  • Wrong Place Wrong Time
  • The Maid
  • Golden Girl
  • Rock Paper Scissors
  • The It Girl
  • The Love of my Life
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Diane Chamberlain is the New York Times, USA Today and (London) Sunday Times best-selling author of 28 novels. The daughter of a school principal who supplied her with a new book almost daily, Diane quickly learned the emotional power of story. Although she wrote many small “books” as a child, she didn’t seriously turn to writing fiction until her early thirties when she was waiting for a delayed ...more

Related Articles

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
63 likes · 4 comments
“No matter how many people care about you, she thought, if you can't be open with them about who you truly are, you're still alone.” 33 likes
“Growing up in a household where something is terribly wrong, you feel the weight of that mysterious something even though it's unspoken. It eats at you. Confuses you. It leaves you wondering if your view of the world will ever make sense.” 7 likes
More quotes…