The Half Sister

The Half Sister

When she was sixteen, Diana left her unhappy family and set out to make a new life. Twenty five years later, she has arrived. Recently married to Edmund, there are just the two of them living at Wynhope, his family’s historic country home, both happy for the past to be locked away and for the future to be free from responsibility.

But when Diana hears that her mother has died, she impulsively asks estranged half-sister Valerie and her nine-year-old son to stay. The night of the funeral, fuelled by wine and years of resentment, the sisters argue and a terrible accident occurs. The foundations of a well-ordered life start to crack and the lies begin to surface, one secret after another demanding a voice. And then there’s the boy, watching, waiting.


From the author:  

“How we find a voice and how we are heard is a key theme in The Half Sister, running through the plot and the structure of the novel.   You can hear me talking about Mutism in Literature on BBC Radio 4 Open Book here.

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Some reviews on publication of the hardback

The Guardian

” A gripping family tragedy.  Whether Valerie’s death was accidental or linked to Diana provides the tension in this gripping novel, which is filled with the acute psychological insights that distinguished the author’s debut, The Well. Despite some stilted dialogue, Chanter’s gift for depicting emotional upheaval pervades this tale of crumbling families.”


The List

The Half Sister by Catherine Chanter darkly unfolds with family secrets and moral complexities and slow burning revenge within the haunting setting of Wynhope House…. The young boy’s journey of personal growth beyond the difficulties in his past is the emotional back of an eerie, page turning family thriller”

The Half Sister

And some comments from Goodreads

“The flawed characters, damaged by their history of childhood trauma, are finely portrayed in a nuanced study of moral uncertainties, leaving us to contemplate what we would have done in their place. I found this an utterly compelling read which will provide hours of discussion for reading groups!”

“A dark read but also an obsessive one. Once you pick it up you will not want to put it down!”

“An unusual novel with a distinctive edge and I could imagine watching it on our tv screens as a psychological drama.”