All for a Sister
Tyndale House Publishers (2014)
Reviewed by M.Cristina Lanzi for Reader Views (08/14)
I read “All for a Sister” by Allison Pittman during my summer holidays and I must say that it was the perfect accompaniment for my afternoons at the beach.
The plot of this twisty novel, written in past and present tense, is very enthralling. Dana Lundgren, the daughter of a housekeeper was put into prison as a child for the murder of the DuFrane’s baby. By the time of her discharge, she is in her 30′s and she finds out that she is the co-heir of the DuFrane’s property in Hollywood. Dana soon discovers that she shares the estate with Celeste DuFrane, a vivacious young woman who is hoping to become a famous actress. As for Celeste, she has all she could ever want and her dream of becoming a movie star is about to come true; then, all of a sudden, she finds out that her mother has left half of their possessions to Dana Lundgren, the woman who was accused of killing her baby sister. Why would her mother do this?
The mystery of the baby’s death, together with the story evolution is very intriguing. The characters in this book are well developed and drama is always there; however the reader must be on the ball because each chapter switches from Celeste’s memories to Dana’s memories to Mrs. DuFrane’s written confessions, to the present 1920’s.
“All for a Sister,” though written from various voices, and told in as many different styles flows fairly smoothly. I found the multiple perspectives on the same story and the contrasting tones to be a bit confusing at first, but I think the author deserves a lot of credit for being able to score a success. “All for a Sister” was definitely a page turner and I had trouble putting it down.
I love Allison Pittman's style of writing: she has assembled a unique and well developed cast of characters, so that the reader will have strong opinions about each of them. As you read this book you will not want to put it down until you see how the story unfolds and the truth is discovered.
As I said the mystery is engrossing, however I believe that at some point the author gives a hint that could lead the reader to a different conclusion and that actually is never explained. I am talking about the night of little Mary’s death: why did Mr. DuFrane leave his bed? Why was Dana’s dress ripped off? Those are some details that apparently don’t have an answer and might leave you puzzled.
Overall, I would recommend “All for a Sister” by Allison Pittman because it is a great blend of fiction and history, there is suspense, and it is a compelling page-turner. You will not be able to put this book down.