This month’s choice. By John Koski

The Mail on Sunday - You - - In This Issue - MY SISTER’S BONES BY NUALA ELLWOOD

This month’s book choice

Grip­ping, en­gross­ing and sur­pris­ing at ev­ery turn ROWAN COLEMAN


Kate Rafter, a cel­e­brated war re­porter, is a woman on the verge. Ap­proach­ing 40, newly dumped by her mar­ried lover of ten years and just back from a har­row­ing as­sign­ment in Syria, she is in dan­ger of los­ing her mind. She finds no respite from her prob­lems when she re­turns to her child­hood home on the Kent coast fol­low­ing the death of her mother. It’s a place Kate couldn’t wait to es­cape from as a teenager and go­ing back re­vives painful mem­o­ries of her drunk­enly vi­o­lent fa­ther, a baby brother who drowned and an al­co­holic younger sister who still lives in the town, but has cut off con­tact. Only her brother-in-law shows any sym­pa­thy.

Suf­fer­ing from post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der, Kate copes by dos­ing her­self with sleep­ing pills and wine, which only make mat­ters worse. She be­comes con­vinced that a child in the house next door is be­ing abused, even though ev­ery­one in­sists there are no chil­dren liv­ing there. What un­folds in this grip­ping psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller is a truly shock­ing story which echoes Kate’s dam­aged child­hood and war-zone night­mares.


‘She is safe now. Free from her demons. Her fi­nal rest­ing place is still and tran­quil, a lit­tle wa­tery pocket of calm. She would have liked that, I think to my­self, as I watch a plea­sure boat sail into the dock. She would have thought it ap­pro­pri­ate. But as I watch her go, I am struck once again by the thought that’s been haunt­ing me ever since she died. Of the two of us, how is it pos­si­ble that I am the one who sur­vived?’


After giv­ing up am­bi­tions of a ca­reer in mu­sic, Nuala Ellwood’s first novel, Soho 4am, about the af­ter­math of the Lon­don 7/7 bomb­ings, was pub­lished in 2013 un­der her maiden name Nuala Casey (£7.99, Quer­cus). She comes from a fam­ily of jour­nal­ists and My Sister’s Bones is ded­i­cated to her fa­ther, Luke Casey, a for­mer BBC pre­sen­ter. Nuala re­veals more about the back­ground to the novel at youread­ing­, where you will also find sug­gested top­ics for your own book club dis­cus­sion.

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