Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Night Sister” as Want to Read:
The Night Sister
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Night Sister

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  17,586 ratings  ·  2,303 reviews
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 for
Hardcover, 322 pages
Published August 4th 2015 by Doubleday
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 Night Sister, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Chris There is no strong language in this book, at least no cursing if that is what you are wondering about. There is not even much gruesome detail. I'd rat…moreThere is no strong language in this book, at least no cursing if that is what you are wondering about. There is not even much gruesome detail. I'd rate it PG.(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Beth Greatorex
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  17,586 ratings  ·  2,303 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Night Sister
I like horror that isn't gross- It's my favorite. It takes me back to the 70's. A time when suspense meant something...a decade when horror meant building and building on layers of suspense...but not always to a blood bath conclusion. Horror can mean suspense... without gore. And this is one of those instances.

The Tower Motel-

 photo 15b9d24c-9b2c-4a89-9588-cc09c7b9cfe1_zpswvm1jdiy.jpg

Vermont 1950s...

 photo b00ea731-5322-4937-8814-90c05907f3ca_zpsnurrjsjy.jpg

Sylvie and her younger sister Rose- are sisters as different as they can be- The beautiful and blonde Sylvie- that writes letters to Alfred Hitchcock, and
Apr 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It starts out with a crime...what appears to be a murder suicide, but it's not a crime novel.

It is a mystery involving a crumbling old hotel, The Tower Motel, 28 rooms, Vacancy.

And, an old photograph which gives a clue to the mystery...29 rooms.

I liked the premise and the fact that it was VERY atmospheric-which I LOVE!

But, I didn’t know that it fell into the horror genre, when I picked it up, and I wasn’t expecting that ending!!

Still, though not my favorite genre, worthy of 4 stars!
Diane S ☔
Mar 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 Sometimes things are not as they appear, and in McMahon's books this is usually the case.
Two sisters, one sister and an uncle go missing. Years later three friends find a big secret, a secret that end their friendship.

Takes place in an old hotel, one built with a tower. Starts off rather innocent and slow, than before you know it you are absorbed in the story and the characters.

Strange, creepy, unbelievable all the things usually associated with this author's novels. The things that go bum
3.5 Stars

There be monsters here and Room 29 at the decrepit crooked Tower Motel is where all the deepest darkest secrets are hiding, wanting to come out at night.

While not particularly scary, The Night Sister was atmospherically creepy and a markedly good mystery early on and at the finish line with some pretty cool clues in the form of letters to Alfred Hitchcock along the way. Enjoyed it.

Feb 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller, paranormal
Dang, I didn't realize this was a supernatural thriller - it's not really my jam. I'm more of a whodunnit gal myself. That being said, if you go into this with that knowledge, it is a great book. Jennifer McMahon can scare me like no other.
Sep 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
You want a spooky October read before the month ends? Well, look no further. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up. Quickly! There isn't much time left!

Jennifer McMahon’s writing reminded me a lot of Kate Morton. Story-telling at its finest and a story that covers 3 generations of a family and their life at the Tower Motel.

The story opens with a brutal murder. A woman named Amy, it appears has murdered her husband and children in their sleep. Amy’s childhood best friend, Piper gets a phone ca
Cindy Newton
Oct 24, 2015 rated it liked it
This started out in a very promising way, but at the end I felt . . . underwhelmed. I can't explain it; the suspense built up nicely over the course of the plot, and the author juggled the three storylines competently. The story starts in 2013 in London, Vermont, with Amy and Piper as adults, then switches to Rose (Amy's mother) as a young girl, then to Amy and Piper as young teenagers. The story progresses evenly with these three viewpoints, and the tension steadily mounts. I can't really go in ...more
Alissa Patrick
Sep 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: great-escape
This is the same author who wrote The Winter People, another book that creeped me out and left me wanting more. I think I have a new favorite author.

In my opinion, this book is perfect for the fall/Halloween. It does take a little bit of effort to pay attention to the timeframe of the chapters, as this story takes place in three different time periods. However, I felt it flowed very nicely and I liked how it was broken up this way, to preserve the mystery.

A creepy hotel. Creepy people. Family me
Jul 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Suspenseful and entertaining "thriller-lite" story about a dark family secret that spans several generations and is told by alternating narrators. You'll probably figure it out before the end, but it will keep you turning the pages. If you read and enjoyed McMahon's "The Winter People," you'll probably like this. A 3.5 for me.
Jul 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
You've got secrets, lies, mysteries and ghosts too? This was a GREAT book!!! I am definitely glad I was reading it during the day. I wish I could say the best parts of this book without spoiling it for you. This is like nothing I've ever read before. And while, I'm getting a little tired of that genre, this book has just the right amount. There is absolutely no way you could figure this one out. It's a one of a kind. Especially since you don't see the different genre being mixed up in this at al ...more
Cortney LaScola - The Bookworm Myrtle Beach
I read The Winter People a few months ago and loved it. Unfortunately, I feel the opposite about The Night Sister. It was very underwhelming... I kept waiting (and waiting) for something to happen. It didn't. And the twist at the end was just blah. None of the characters were great, the switching between the 3 timelines wasn't great, the whole story overall wasn't great. Definitely disappointed.

I 100 percent think Jennifer McMahon is a great writer, I just hope the rest of her books are more Wi
Oct 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Not as "spooky" as I had hoped, but Mc Mahon is a great storyteller. I didn't think it was as eerie as Winter People, but overall, an enjoyable read. 3.75 stars
Alisha-Dear Constant Reader
I'm really surprised to see all the five star reviews of this book. While it kept my attention, that's really all it did.

My problem with The Night Sister is that it played the same old tricks and jumps. The scares weren't all that scary. The subsequent crimes, brushed over. What about the other murders? Who cares. I sure didn't and that's not good.

For characters, McMahon drags out the same tired tropes. The weak and pregnant woman. The tough and beautiful woman. The disbelieving lawman. She wor
Apr 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017, fantasy
2.5 stars. This is the third book I'm reading by this author, and although I enjoyed it, it definitely was not in the same league as Don't breathe a word or even The winter people. This is because The Night Sister falls into the fantasy genre, whereas Don't breathe a word was a little bit more unclear as to where it fits in. I did however liked the setting, as well as the flashbacks to their youth, and I read this while on holiday, which was a perfect fit.
The Story: Once a thriving attraction in
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Night Sister has 3 different story lines in it. The plot goes back & forth between them and ties everything in a bloody bow at the end.
Story A (1950's) is of Rose and her beautiful sister Silvie. Everyone just loves Silvie so much and Rose if often not even noticed. The family owns and runs a motel. One summer, Grandma comes to visit. She's German and spends time telling the girls fairy tales. Rose begins to think Silvie isn't human, that she is a creature from one of Grandma's stories. Th
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5

I honestly almost can't believe I gave this book a 5 ⭐️ when I've only given her other books a 4 ⭐️ so far. But I did it because it really deserves it.

This is another one of those books that shouldn't be read while you are home alone or at night, but I stayed up very late to finish it, it was that good.

This book is best compared to The Winter People as opposed to her other books I've read. It is a paranormal thriller/mystery so don't go into this book expecting logical explanatio
Oct 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-shelf, horror
This one has some rather interesting plotting, almost like it's a call-out to a family saga, an 80's horror by way of the sixties, and above all, a homage to Hitchcock.

In other words, it's a firm suspense with mostly off-scene nods to carnage. It's all about the build-up, the plethora of details that might lead us in all kinds of interesting directions, and the character-building.

We have three different times to explore. A mystery that develops during the 50's, where the homage to Hitchcock blo
Amy Imogene Reads
I was conflicted about how to rate The Night Sister, and to be honest, I'm still not happy with the 3 stars that I've settled on.

Writing: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★
Plot: ★★★

Jennifer McMahon is a beautiful writer. Her style hooks you, and it's easy to get lost in her lyrical Grimm's fairy tale version of Vermont. I loved her descriptions, her dialogue, and her ethereal manner in describing the spooky elements. However, The Night Sister failed to follow through with its engaging and sp
Doubleday  Books
"Sometimes all you need is to hide away in bed and lose yourself in the thrill of a truly scary book. The Night Sister, I assure you, is the perfect book to immerse yourself in. I raced through the book at breakneck speed, desperate to unravel the decades-long mystery that Jennifer McMahon so expertly crafts.

The book opens from the point of view of Amy, a lifelong inhabitant of the Tower Motel and a woman preparing to kill herself and her family. What pushed her to this desperate extreme? She l
Thomas Strömquist
Dec 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My best surprise read of 2017! My first book by the author was “The Winter People” and I found that an OK read, but not without problems and not terribly exciting. So I’ve had this one on the tbr for quite some time, but never got around to it. The mid-ratings and reviews on Goodreads did not spur me on either. When I finally picked it up, I kind of think those readers read something else. Not to reveal to much, I’m going to limit myself to saying that it’s a story told from multiple viewpoints ...more
4.5 stars.

THE NIGHT SISTER, by Jennifer McMahon was so much more than I was expecting it to be. I had read nearly 75% in one sitting, the suspense and smooth writing style pulling me in completely.

In the 1950's, the Tower Motel was home to two sisters, Sylvie and Rose. After Sylvie supposedly left for Hollywood to make her fortune on the big screen, life there was never the same. In the 80's, a beautiful, willful girl named Amy lives there with her Grandmother. Her best friend, Piper, and Piper
Jul 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5 good story, not very scarey...I enjoyed her novel The Winter People much more
 Reading Reindeer Cobwebbed

Jennifer McMahon is a must-read author for me, and proves herself once again in this electrifying novel in which she juggles contemporary present, plus not one but two different but essential past eras. Even more, she interweaves themes not usually unearthed in mainstream novels--and makes those themes utterly believable. THE NIGHT SISTER is most definitely a must-read and reread.
Alright, this was great. I think I could see some of this coming, but some of it had me fooled. I love the mystery element mixed in with the supernatural in her books.
This one went from different viewpoints and different times to give you a complete picture that began to add up. Sometimes that method works, and other times it does not. Here it did and I didn’t find myself getting confused about what time I was in or forget whose point of view I was reading at all. The characters were so establi
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-read-and-own
I was looking for a spooky read and this was perfect! This does cover 3 different timelines but does it in a way that is easy to follow.
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wow, this was really good. I’ve had no urge to read this author in the past and it appears I may have judged her work merely by the titles and covers. I should know better. This was written extremely well with excellent pacing and character development and an appropriate growing sense of unease as the tale of the Tower Motel unfolded.

If the rest of this authors stuff is as well written as this one, then I am looking forward to checking it out.
Jul 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Whenever I can read a book in 2 days, you know it's either an extremely short book or a page turner. This one is a page turner.

At the beginning of the story we are introduced to a lot of characters and it's not initially clear what the relationships are so I took notes. It didn't help that the narrative flashes back and forth in time but eventually the characters took root in my mind. For a while I thought Piper and Margot were Amy's sisters.

Another point of confusion was the term "mare", which
Sep 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The mysterious Tower Motel, which harbours a dark dark secret. The story unfolds, slowly, as we follow the events in three different time periods. We begin to piece together the bits of information we've gathered about the motel's past and the family that owns it. But there's always something lurking in the shadows, we can never be sure of what we think we know. What secrets lie hidden in the dusty abandoned rooms of the once thriving motel? Do we dare go into the tower, where the rotten stairs ...more
Nicole Chinnici
The Night Sister is a supernatural mystery thriller that explores the relationships between sisters and friends.

“Do you believe in monsters?”

Told over three different timelines and three different perspectives, this was cleverly plotted and well executed. What could have been convoluted was clear and it was easy to follow. I enjoyed McMahon’s writing style, and she created a creepy atmosphere that worked well with the story. The pacing was on point, unfolding at just the right rate to keep me in
Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
I get so frustrated when I read mystery novels and thrillers because this truly was a book that was written remarkably well. It was eerie and built this slow dread that I loved, plus the first half really reminded me of The Shining and The Haunting of Hill House (the adaptations of both, I haven't had the chance to read either original work). But what fails here is what has failed for nearly every thriller I've ever read: the ending. It is rushed, it completely takes the wind out of the build u ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Home Before Dark
  • The Sun Down Motel
  • The Vanishing
  • The Twisted Ones
  • Lock Every Door
  • The Broken Girls
  • The Fate of Mercy Alban
  • One by One
  • The Turn of the Key
  • The Family Upstairs
  • The Shadows
  • Imaginary Friend
  • The Whisper Man
  • The Family Plot
  • The Haunting of Ashburn House
  • Final Girls
  • The Chrysalis
  • A Head Full of Ghosts
See similar books…
I'm the author of nine suspense novels, including Promise Not to Telll, The Winter People, and most recently, The Invited. I live in central Vermont with my partner and daughter, in an old Victorian that some neighbors call The Addams Family house.

News & Interviews

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...
9 likes · 7 comments
“For some people, Rose, it’s easier to pretend the things that frighten us most don’t exist at all.” 4 likes
“she swore she was breathing 1971 air—it smelled like dust and cigarettes and long-faded perfume. Like ghosts, if ghosts had a smell.” 3 likes
More quotes…