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My Sister's Bones

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  4,811 ratings  ·  767 reviews
Are You Brave Enough To Go Back?

Kate Rafter is a successful war reporter. She's the strong one. The one who escaped Herne Bay and the memories it holds. Her sister Sally didn't. Instead, she drinks. But when their mother dies, Kate is forced to return to the old family home. And on her first night she is woken by a terrifying scream.

What secret has Kate stumbled upon?

And i
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published February 9th 2017 by Penguin
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Courtney Things like that bother me also! One book I was reading, in the same two sentences a father had gone from being asleep when someone walked into the ro…moreThings like that bother me also! One book I was reading, in the same two sentences a father had gone from being asleep when someone walked into the room to standing over his son and watching him sleep. (less)

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Average rating 3.90  · 
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 ·  4,811 ratings  ·  767 reviews

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Will Byrnes
Dec 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller, mystery, fiction
‘And would you say these bad dreams have gotten worse since you’ve returned to Herne Bay?’
I put the beaker back on to the table and sit up in my chair. I have to stop letting my mind wander; I have to be alert, careful. Every word I say here can be used against me.
‘No, they haven’t gotten worse,’ I say, trying to keep my voice steady: ‘They’ve just become real.’
Kate Rafter is a world class conflict correspondent. She has been there and seen that far too many times. Her latest experiences,
My Sister’s Bones by Nuala Ellwood is a 2017 William Morrow Paperbacks publication.

Bleak, atmospheric, somber-

Psychological thrillers are not all created equal. They can come in all shapes, sizes and forms and still solidly fall within the specifications applied to this genre, but with various degrees of success.

While this book adheres to the standard requirements, the author turns the genre on its ear by producing a multi-layered literary piece told from the first -person perspectives of two
MY SISTER”S BONES is a tension filled psychological debut thriller by author Nuala Ellwood.

This is the story of two sisters, Kate and Sally, different in every way. They had come from a dysfunctional family, and had the scars and memories to show for it. Both chose different paths; Kate left home, Herne Bay in Kent, and was a successful war reporter and had been witness to the murders taking place in Syria, while Sally never left home but resorted to the bottle.

But when their mother dies, Kate
Aug 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing

This was all it said it would be and more.

I received my copy through the post from the authors PA. I was that desperate to continue reading I was frantic on the evening as I was laying in bed. I am used to reading on my Kindle paperwhite, it has a backlight! oh no, what do I do with a paperback and not disturb my husband from sleeping? I delved into my bedside cabinet to find a light I used to have before Kindle days, found it! but will it light up? YES! ureka! I could continue to read this.

If n
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
What a truly brilliant novel. I could not find enough hours in the day to keep reading this, I knew from page one it was going to be good and it ended up exceeding my expectations. This will be a big hit in 2017, of that I am sure.

I commend the author Nuala Ellwood for writing a novel that has parts of it set in, and about the terrible humanitarian crisis and war happening today in Aleppo, Syria. Events that I watch on the news that I feel so helpless to do anything about but want to. The autho
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book about a war reporter and the horrors she endured on her last assignment. When she returned home she tried to connect with her estranged sister after their mother funeral. There was so much going on in their story that I could not put the book down and read it in one day. I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
Dec 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Thomas by: Goodreads
Shelves: giveaways, uk-crime
3 stars
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. Thanks to the publisher and author for sending me this book. The book is about a reporter, Kate Rafter, who has returned to England from Syria to settle her deceased mother's affairs. She suffers from PTSD and has recurring nightmares caused by horrific memories of people blown up and shot. One especially terrible memory is of a child who is shot in the head when he runs out into the street to get his football.
While she is staying in her mother's h
War reporter Kate Rafter had no inclination to return to her home town – but her mother’s recent death meant she needed to put some affairs in order. Her sister Sally was there, but Sally had fallen to pieces after their father died, and spent her days in an alcoholic haze. Her husband Paul despaired of being able to bring her out of it. Sally’s daughter Hannah had left home as well, unable to abide by her mother’s drinking and rages any longer.

Though Kate was a tough reporter, able to report on
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. I'm in a state of shock right now. This book was just mind-boggling. As well as slightly traumatising.

I'm going to try and review it.

Trigger warnings: rape, panic and anxiety attacks.

The story follows Kate, a journalist who actively reports about Syria and also travels to the country and experiences the war first hand. It also follows the narrative of her sister Sally, which I wasn't expecting, but added the different perspective, the other side of the story that was needed. That's all I
Sep 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Exceptionally written, this is a thriller that gets properly under your skin. The mix of PTSD, childhood trauma, and bereavement in the main character Kate was very well done. Her background as a war reporter, most recently in Aleppo, Syria was timely and harrowing. Unlike so many of the other female protagonists in psychological thrillers, she felt real and strong, desperately fighting against a tide of emotion and memory. Even her sister, Sally, who isn’t as immediately sympathetic, did not ma ...more
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
3.5 stars
My Sister’s Bones opens with a hooking premise. The key player in this novel, finds herself in a police station being interviewed by a police psychologist. The psychologist is trying to determine if the book’s lead character Kate needs to be sectioned for her own health and safety, as part of the mental health act. We learn Kate is a war correspondent, who has witnessed many atrocities and these seem to have surfaced upon her return home. It is a qu
Natalie Richards
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-book
Firstly thank you to goodreads for me winning this in a giveaway. I really enjoyed this book and specifically Kate, the main character. She is a journalist and seen some terrible things in war torn countries, which have affected her deeply. The story has a lot of twists and while I suspected these fairly early on this did not detract from my enjoyment of the book.
I recommend this to readers who enjoy thrillers.
Linda Strong
Aug 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Kate Rafter was part of a dysfunctional family and the only one who escaped. Her father was a drunk who beat her and her mother. She had a younger brother who drowned when he was young ... Kate's mother has always felt guilty about that. Her younger sister, Sally, is following in their father's footsteps. Sally has already driven her own daughter away .. she's not had anything to do with Kate, and even Sally's husband is about to wash his hands of her.

When their mother died, Kate came home. She'
Dannii Elle
The book contains a multitude of disparate mysteries that all are seemingly unconnected... until they aren't. Linked only by the protagonist they centre around, this is a thriller on a large global and political scale, the likes of which I have not encountered in a mystery novel, for quite some time.

This begun at a relatively slow pace and fooled me into believing I was aware of where this book was taking me. Falling into this trap of presupposed assumptions proved to intensify the shock I felt
Louise Wilson
Apr 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Kate Rafter is a successful war reporter. She's the strong one. Her sister Sally drinks. But when their mother dies, Kate is forced to return to the old family home. On her first night she is woken by a scream. What secret has Kate stumbled upon?

This is quite a heavy read as it deals with some dark depressing subjects: mental health issues, rape, child abuse and alcoholism to mention just a few. In fact, it's quite a distressing story. Kate and her sister Sally are both pretty damaged individual
Zuky the BookBum
Sep 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, 4-stars, made-me-cry
Also read my review here:


Trigger warnings are noted in the first paragraph.

We’re all of us, every day, just a hairbreadth away from evil. If I’ve learnt anything from fifteen years of reporting, it’s that. But I couldn’t expect these people to understand.

This is a really heavy read as it deals with some really dark and depressing subjects, such as the war and refugees in Syria, domestic & child abuse, rape, death, mental illnes
Joanne Robertson
Oct 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow! This was so NOT what I was expecting. I think because my review copy didn't have any blurb on it, I kind of went in blind to this one and it came across all the better for it. I'm still reeling from all the the twists that popped to the surface to this bubbling cauldron of suspense to be honest but I don't want that feeling to end quite yet!

This noticeably has a very topical feel to it from the start as we meet journalist Kate and realise she has been a witness to the atrocities taking pla
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wow this was an intense read. I don’t know what I expected but I did not expect THAT.

There is much going on in this book. I struggled a bit to get into the story. I was confused about the chapters about Kate being interviewed by a doctor. Something happened and we don’t know what for quite a long time. Kate is a war reporter and she has seen a lot of horrible things. She is haunted by the vision of a boy who was killed in Aleppo. She has a massive PTSD problem which she somehow denies. I was a b
The Book Review Café
Oct 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
When I first saw the title of this book I conjured up so many different scenarios but oh my god I couldn’t have been more wrong! New author on the block Nuala Ellwood has certainly written a disturbing and spine chilling tale that I found impossible to put down once I started reading. Kate Rafter is a war reporter it’s clear from the start that she has seen terrible things during her time reporting from war zones, so much so she is having horrendous flashbacks that torment her day and night. Kat ...more
Kim Ebner
Mar 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Please see all my reviews at:

The first thing that struck me about this book was how emotional I found the first quarter of the story. I wasn't expecting that. When Kate returns home after the death of her mother, she can't help but think back over her childhood and the time she spent with her Mom, to the close bond that they had and to the abuse that she and her mother endured at the hands of her father. The author definitely manages to pull the reader in with the emot
Mandy White
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kobo-audio
Fantastic book!! Didn't see that twist coming at all! listened to the audio book and one of my favourite narrators Imogen Church.
Nov 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Experienced journalist Kate returns home early from an assignment in Syria following her mother’s death. It soon becomes clear that Kate’s family life has not been a happy one and despite the fact that the only family remaining are Kate and her sister Sally, they do not get on at all. Sally is an alcoholic and her husband Paul is the go-between, trying to support Kate whilst trying to keep his wife sober.

Kate’s experiences in Syria have had a severe effect on her mental health and it appears tha
Maureen DeLuca
Mar 30, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 - The first part of the book it was a 4 star reading for sure. Then the second went down just a tad. Having said that - I'm glad I picked up the book. While reading this book, you have no idea what is real or what the person THINKS is real. An enjoyable psychological thriller type book, with lots of OMG'S!! If you enjoy thriller mysteries with psychological twists and turns, I think you should enjoy this book .
Nov 27, 2016 rated it liked it
As much as I seek to actively avoid thrillers with the merest whiff of domestic noir about them, I was intrigued to read My Sister’s Bones, a debut psychological thriller by Nuala Ellwood with its blend of emotional domesticity combined with more global concerns. Effectively marrying the usual tropes of domestic noir and familial conflict, with more salient humanitarian issues,  Ellwood has produced a thriller that is a curious blend of the intensely satisfying and the slightly frustrating…
The a
Jess The Bookworm
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Kate returns to her home town, for the first time many many years, following her mother's death. Kate has been stationed in Syria as a war reporter, and is not coping very well with all of the death and destruction she's seen over there.

Returning home to her childhood memories, and a mean drunk sister, are very difficult things for her to do as it is, and then she starts to hear a little boy screaming and crying. Her mental health issues and drinking mean that no one really believes her, but sh
Laura Rash
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
With a slow build up this one ends with a racing dynamite finish! Covering so many topics including PTSD, horrific dysfunctional families & alcoholism. Brilliantly written! ...more
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a dark and disturbing debut novel from Ellwood! I love that the blurb doesn’t give much away all, it gives no indication of just how dark this novel is, had I known, I might have reconsidered started it at midnight!

Part one is narrated by Kate and this, for me, was the darkest part of the novel, and the part that had me most unsettled. Kate is a war correspondent – a journalist who covers stories first-hand from war zones; as result of this, she is suffering from PTSD; through the use of Ka
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
4 not-what-I-expected stars!!

My Sister’s Bones turned out to be much more than I thought it would be. I went into this one expecting a psychological thriller-ish type book. Instead, I ended up getting a suspenseful tale that not only kept me on the edge of my seat, but drew me into an emotional, hard story. This book takes on so much: abuse, alcoholism, worldly issues, PTSD, as well as a mystery that keeps the reader guessing until the very end. And at about 70% into the book, it takes a hard ri
Tracy Fenton
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Firstly any book that I read in a day and keeps me up past my bedtime is obviously one I would recommend. My Sister's Bones is so much more than your average psychological thriller. The main character Kate, a wartime journalist who has just returned from Aleppo and is battling her own demons and her sister Sally an alcoholic with major issues are brought together after years apart to deal with the sale of their mother's home after her death. There is so much more to this story and you need to re ...more
Sue Wallace
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My Sister's Bones by Nuala Ellwood is a mystery and thriller and general fiction (adult) read.
Kate Rafter is a high-flying war reporter. She's the strong one. The one who escaped their father. Her sister Sally didn't. Instead, she drinks. But when their mother dies, Kate is forced to return to the old family home. And on her very first night she is woken by a terrifying scream. At first she tells herself it's just a nightmare, a legacy of her time in Syria. But then she hears it again. And this
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Nuala Ellwood is the daughter of an award-winning journalist. She was inspired by his experiences and those of foreign correspondents such as Marie Colvin and Martha Gellhorn to secure Arts Council funding for her research into PTSD for her debut psychological thriller MY SISTER’S BONES.

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