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The Winter Sister

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  10,346 ratings  ·  1,461 reviews
In this spellbinding and suspenseful debut, a young woman haunted by the past returns home to care for her ailing mother and begins to dig deeper into her sister’s unsolved murder.

Sixteen years ago, Sylvie’s sister Persephone never came home. Out too late with the boyfriend she was forbidden to see, Persephone was missing for three days before her body was found—and years
Hardcover, 326 pages
Published February 5th 2019 by Touchstone
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Virginia Ya, I thought a lot of this book was overwritten creative-writing-class sludge. To be honest it was a dnf for me.

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Is the engaging flow of an author’s words enough to overcome a tired storyline?

Chances are, readers who frequent the suspense genre with any regularity will find this plot all too familiar. It's a storyline that’s been done, redone and overdone; making this anything but memorable.

The story opens with one family’s devastation, 18-year-old Persephone never making it home after a clandestine night out with her boyfriend. Her mother and 14-year-old sister, Sylvie, in shambles when the missing person
Meredith ( on Semi-Hiatus until February)
Psychological thriller about a woman who returns to her hometown 16 years after her sister is murdered. The murder has gone unsolved and the main character is tortured over her actions the night her sister died. Estranged from her alcoholic mother, she finally faces her past and confronts her family’s demons.

Sound familiar? I have read this plot multiple times. I am getting a little sick of the trope of a child or sibling returning home after several years distanced from family due to a murde
Chelsea Humphrey
Jan 16, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chelsea by: Irina Humphrey
I'm between 3-3.5 stars on this one.

"Demeter had an only daughter, Persephone... the maiden of spring. She lost her and in her terrible grief she withheld her gifts from the earth, which turned into a frozen desert. The green and flowering land was icebound and lifeless because Persephone had disappeared." -Edith Hamilton, Mythology

While this may, at first glance, appear to be a review of a book I found to be mediocre, I assure you it's not. When you read hundreds upon hundreds of psychological
Mary Beth
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

Sylvie returns home to care for her estranged mother, Annie as she undergoes treatment for cancer. Sylvie is also dealing with her past. Sixteen years ago her sister, Persephone was murdered and she wants to find out who killed her. Her sister was missing for less than seventy-two hours until a jogger caught a glimpse of her red coat through the snow.

While her Aunt Jill was on the phone with the police, Sylvia tells her Aunt to tell them to check with her boyfriend. Persephone was not
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: edelweiss
There are secrets and then there are SECRETS!

Sylvie has returned home to care for her sick Mother. A Mother who shut her and the rest of the world out after her daughter was murdered sixteen years ago. As Sylvie attempts to care for her Mother, she must come to terms with the past, her sisters murder, her own guilt about that fateful night, the investigation and the reminders of her Mother's dark days, and her sisters secret romance.

Dealing with her Mother is hard enough but then she comes face
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)

This was really a 4/1/2 * for me. I really enjoyed this debut novel, my first mystery/thriller novel of 2019. This book reminds me of why I do like this genre. In this novel there is so much about about family interactions woven throughout. There is the passage of time, from present to past which flowed beautifully and helped to give us incredible insight into the mystery of what happened to Persephone the night that she was murdered. There are great characters whose true selv
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley

A wonderful debut mystery, this one grabbed me from the get go. Sylvie’s sister died in high school and she carries the guilt of her role in the death around like a stone around her neck. Years later, her mother, who had depression issues even before her sister’s death, is an alcoholic dying of cancer. Sylvie returns home to take care of her mother.

Sylvie is a wonderful character. I loved that after college she became a tattoo artist. “It was creative, it required thought and skill, and it gene
Larry H
Mar 06, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

Life changed completely when Sylvie was 14 years old. Her older sister, Persephone, disappeared one night, after sneaking out to meet her boyfriend, whom her mother forbade her to date. Sylvie kept lots of Persephone's secrets—because that's what sisters do—and she keeps hoping that Persephone will come home. It seems even more unfathomable when Persephone's body is found just a few days later.

Sylvie is wracked with grief and guilt, and she tries to get the police to focus on whom she
Sylvia left her hometown just as soon as she could. Rushing off to College and a new life! Leave her past behind.

Years have slipped by and her mom Annie is quite sick. It’s time for Sylvie to face her past demons, return home and try to help. No choice, really. You see, she’s now the only daughter. He sister Persephone was murdered at the age of 18. The murderer never found, the case long ago dropping from everyone’s radar.

When Sylvie returns home she immediately begins researching the det
Lying has dire consequences.

Sylvie O'Leary knows this first hand. She's been covering up for her older sister, Persephone, for some time. Persephone has been sneaking out to meet her boyfriend, Ben, at night when her mother thinks she's asleep in her room. The girls agreed upon leaving the bedroom window open a crack so that Persephone can ease the window open later.

But this night, this fateful night, Sylvie takes it upon herself to stop the deceit by fully closing the window. Her plan will for
Holly  B
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
A gripping story that highlights the hidden past of the families involved. 

A  tangled web of family secrets may have bigger repercussions than anyone could ever have imagined.

A suspenseful, character driven drama that explores a complicated relationship between a mother, Annie and her two daughters, Sylvie and Persephone.

Sylvie has plenty of reasons to feel guilty (at least in her mind) about her sister's unsolved murder. There is a reason she feels the guilt. I loved the close bond the two
A beautifully told story packed with secrets, grief, and guilt!

Megan Collins has crafted an entertaining tale with an effortless flow. Another exquisite debut, this year seems to be oozing with amazing debuts!

Sylvie has come back home after being gone for many years to take care of her estranged mother who is suffering from cancer. Over a decade ago Sylvie’s older sister Persephone went missing only to be found a few days later dead in a pile of snow. The killer is never found, Sylvie is burie
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not just another “sister” book! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

As teens, Sylvie’s sister, Persephone, was on a date with a forbidden boyfriend when she never returned home and was later found murdered. The murder is still unsolved, over sixteen years later.

Sylvie and her mother, Annie, have not been in a good place since Persephone’s death; however, when Annie is set to undergo cancer treatment, Sylvie goes home to care for her.

Ben, the once bad news boyfriend of Persephone, is now a nurse at the cancer center w
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
The Winter Sister by Megan Collins is a perfect example of a book that makes me want to continue to search out new authors for new stories. The Winter Sister is a mystery/suspense read that is a debut novel but you could never tell this is a debut.

At fourteen Sylvie and her sister Persephone were very close and shared each other’s secrets, whether they wanted to keep them or not. Persephone being almost eighteen was at that rebellious stage and would sneak out to meet with her boyfriend her moth
Diane S ☔
Mar 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Obsessive love and major dysfunction. Sylvie returns home after an absence of sixteen tears to take care of her mother who has cancer. When she was a pre teen her older sister disappeared and was found murdered. Sylvie has always believed the boyfriend Persophone snuck out to meet was her murderer. The case never solved, Sylvie finds herself once again on the trail of a killer.

Family secrets abound here, and the pace and constant revelations keep the pages turning. A good story about the repercu
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars rounded up to 4 for the imaginative drama and enjoyable prose

While this book features an all too familiar plot, it does offer something that I wasn't expecting but very much enjoyed and that is a fascinating and novel family dynamic. I would definitely categorize this one under family drama with a generous sprinkling of the thriller/mystery genre.

I enjoyed the narrator, Sylvie, who has been suffering for 20 years with the guilt she carries over her sister's unsolved murder. She bl
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, mystery
The Winter Sister wasn’t something I planned on reading straight through, or even so long before release (I read this back in November) but after downloading I was in the mood for a mystery and I thought I’d open it up and read a few pages. I ended up reading straight through until 2am to finish. I was pulled into Sylvie’s story, the mystery of her sister’s murder, and I had to find out what happened then and how it would all turn out in the present.

Sixteen years ago, eighteen-year-old Persephon
Jan 27, 2019 rated it liked it
A decent thriller which seems to have the plot already sounding familiar, however, the writing style is good and it was a quite gripping read for me. Some passages could be better edited in order to avoid some repetitions. All in all, a good read for the fans of the genre.

*Many thanks to Megan Collins, Simon & Schuster and Edelweiss for providing me with ARC in exchange for my honest review.*
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Happy pub day <3 <3.

A gripping and emotional story about a family that has webbed deep and dark secrets.

The Winter Sister by Megan Collins a strong debut that will leave you turning those pages up until the early hours in the morning.

Sylive returns home after many years following the murder of her sister Persephone to take care of her mother who is dying of cancer. The relationship between Sylvie and her mother has been dysfunctional, strained, and unpredictable over the years especially take a
Susanne  Strong
Jan 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: buddy-read, netgalley
3.5 Stars* (rounded down)

Family Dysfunction and Secrets Run Rampant!

Growing up together, Sylvie and her sister Persephone were close as they could be, thick as thieves if you must know. One night, Persephone goes missing, and is then found murdered days later, her death remaining an unsolved mystery. Thereafter, their family falls apart and Sylvie takes off, only to return when her mother is diagnosed with cancer. Upon her return, Sylvie is determined to find her sister’s killer and get justice.
Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who likes to get their heart shattered
Recommended to Tucker by: Atria Books

Many thanks to Atria Books for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

Even though no one ever saw your error, it still existed. A thing that haunted. A thing that gnawed beneath the pain.

I feel like I am on a streak of five-star reads. Wait, maybe I just jinxed it. Even three days later, my heart still hurts. Whenever I try to think about this book and its amazing characters, my heart's shattered pieces ache. When I finished this book, I felt like I had been slapped in th
Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
A solid 4 stars. A mystery/thriller book, The Winter Sister centers around main character Sylvie. As teens, Sylvie’s older sister Persephone was murdered-a crime that was never solved. Sylvie always blamed herself for her sister’s death-locking her out of the house the night of the murder, helping her cover bruises caused by her boyfriend Ben, and never telling anyone about the suppose abuse that Persephone endured but never told Sylvie about.
Fast forward to present time-Sylvie, now an adult, r
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
It is such a shame when a book that showed so much promise crashed and slowly burned after the fifty percent point.

I realize with the glut of thrillers on the market today, that authors seemed to think they need to outdo one another and therefore stretch reality creating implausible scenarios to make a book different and perhaps appealing to the reading public. It's a shame really, because in the end it is usually a simply told story with fine writing that is a winner in my estimation.

Jan and I
There was a lot about this book that was promising. I flew through the first half and read it quickly, anxious to see where the story was going. An unsolved murder, estranged dysfunctional family, obsessive love, family secrets...nothing new here but there’s only so many plots to plumb within the genre. I like family dramas and I thought the author did a terrific job conveying the emotional toll of guilt and grief that accompanies the death of a child and sister. The complicated mother-daughter ...more
Really enjoyed this thriller!
This is my February BOTM pick and it's an adult thriller that follows this girl named Sylvie. Her sister Persephone was murdered sixteen years ago and they never found out who was responsible for it, but Sylvie has always believed it was Persephone's boyfriend at the time Ben. Now, sixteen years later Sylvie moves back into her old town temporarily and uncovers many secrets from the past, and she finally discovers the truth about what happened to her sister.

I though
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fourteen year old Sylvie and her older sister Persephone were the daughters of Annie, a single mom, who would have have Dark Days (as the girls named those days) on the 15th of each month. Annie showed open affection for Sylvie while holding Persephone at arms length, which caused Persephone to resent her mom and to act out in more ways than were obvious to most onlookers. When Persephone would sneak out of the house at night to be with her boyfriend Ben, Sylvie had to keep a window unlocked so ...more
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to Touchstone for gifting me a copy of The Winter Sister. I really enjoyed this one! Family secrets, lies and betrayal ohhh yes!!

When Sylvie O’Leary was fourteen, her sister, Persephone, snuck out of the house and was found dead three days later. Their mother, Annie, took a turn for the worse. She became an alcoholic and couldn’t take care of Sylvie. Sylvie ended up moving in with her Aunt and cousin and eventually leaving her hometown to start fresh, not as “Persephone’s sister”.

The mur
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 stars for this is debut! I really enjoyed the Winter Sister, part mystery / suspense, part domestic drama. Told in a straight forward, singular timeline, we slowly start to unravel the mystery of Persephone’s death.

While the plot was nothing new (unsolved murder of a sister), the storytelling was exceptional and pulled me right in from the very beginning. Collins does a great job conjuring up all the feels for Sylvie and even makes secondary characters (Jill & Missy) seem developed even thoug
Theresa Alan
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars rounded up. This novel is comprised of a lot of little mysteries that have to be revealed to uncover the main mystery: Who killed 18-year-old Persephone 16 years ago, when her sister, Sylvie, was just 14 years old?

After the death of her oldest daughter, Annie fell into self-medicating with alcohol. Sylvie leaves town as soon as she graduates high school—it’s never easy being a poor kid in a rich community, but it’s really not easy when you’re the sister of a murdered girl and the daugh
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty solid domestic thriller that kept me entertained. I'm still wavering between 3.5 to 4 stars...this was good, but not very memorable. (I made the mistake of waiting 2 weeks to write this review and I'm paying the price now as I dig to remember the highs and lows.)

What I remember I liked:
-The mystery had me hooked
-There were some nice surprises that I didn't expect

What I remember not being crazy about:
-Sylvie's mother-too much of a stretch for things to have gone like they did without any i
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Megan Collins is the author of BEHIND THE RED DOOR and THE WINTER SISTER. She has taught creative writing at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts and Central Connecticut State University, and she is the managing editor of 3Elements Review. A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, her work has appeared in many print and online journals, including Off the Coast, Spillway, Tinderbox Poetry J ...more

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