Category Archives: The Wicked Sister

Review: The Wicked Sister by Karen Dionne

Title: The Wicked Sister by Karen Dionne
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 299 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


She thought she’d buried her past. But what if it’s been hunting her this whole time?

From the bestselling and award-winning author of The Marsh King’s Daughter comes a startling novel of psychological suspense as two generations of sisters try to unravel their tangled relationships between nature and nurture, guilt and betrayal, love and evil.

You have been cut off from society for fifteen years, shut away in a mental hospital in self-imposed exile as punishment for the terrible thing you did when you were a child.

But what if nothing about your past is as it seems?

And if you didn’t accidentally shoot and kill your mother, then whoever did is still out there. Waiting for you.

For a decade and a half, Rachel Cunningham has chosen to lock herself away in a psychiatric facility, tortured by gaps in her memory and the certainty that she is responsible for her parents’ deaths. But when she learns new details about their murders, Rachel returns, in a quest for answers, to the place where she once felt safest: her family’s sprawling log cabin in the remote forests of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

As Rachel begins to uncover what really happened on the day her parents were murdered, she learns–as her mother did years earlier–that home can be a place of unspeakable evil, and that the bond she shares with her sister might be the most poisonous of all.


The Wicked Sister by Karen Dionne is a mesmerizing mystery with an eerie setting.

Twenty-six year old Rachel Cunningham  has been in a mental institution for the past fifteen years.   She is convinced she killed her mom, Jenny, which in turn led to her father Peter killing himself in despair.  Rachel’s memories of the day of their deaths is fragmented and there are also questions about what happened to her in the aftermath of their deaths.  But when aspiring journalist Trevor Lehto asks her for an interview, Rachel learns shocking information that turns her perception of what happened upside down. Determined to find answers, Rachel checks herself out of the mental hospital and returns to the family’s isolated lodge in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Will Rachel finally remember what happened to that fateful day?

Years earlier, Jenny convinces Peter to leave his teaching position to live on his family’s 4000 acre lodge.  With their daughter Diana in tow, they soon settle into their new life. Jenny is a biologist who studies the bears the that roam  through their woods.  But all is not well in their household because Diana is not your typical child. But Jenny and Peter hope the isolation will help them manage their willful daughter.

After Rachel’s birth, Jenny’s sister Charlotte moves in with them to help care for her nieces. She is soon quite close to Diana and Jenny completely trusts her sister is following their wishes regarding her care. However, Charlotte secretly gives the girls much more freedom than either of their parents would approve of. And when Jenny make a stunning discovery about Diana, what will she and Peter decide to do?

Rachel is correct in her supposition that returning home will help fill in her memory gaps. With help from unexpected sources,  she tries to understand what these new recollections mean. Rachel is also trying to fly under the radar, but can she outwit her sister and aunt?

Seamlessly moving back and forth in time,  The Wicked Sister is a riveting mystery with a chilling storyline.  The characters are well-developed but some are more likable than others. The setting is incredibly atmospheric and springs vibrantly to life. With diabolical twists and turns, Karen Dionne brings this clever mystery to an exciting conclusion. Absolutely loved and HIGHLY recommend this engrossing mystery to fans of the genre.

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Filed under Contemporary, GP Putnams Sons, Karen Dionne, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Suspense, The Wicked Sister