The Silent Sister ReadAlong Week 1 (Spoilers and Discussion)

The silent sister readalong

Hey ya’ll! So today is the first day of THE SILENT SISTER Readalong. We’ll be discussing and spoiling pages 1-104 of the book. I know, I know- you may be thinking “what?!” Don’t worry- we’ll be giving plenty of notice before we got to the spoilers portion of today’s program. If you are just now hearing about this readalong- don’t fret! You can join in at anytime- but we’ll only be discussing Part 1 (pages 1-104) in this post. October 24th we’ll discuss Part 2 (pages 107-233). October 31st will be Part 3 (pages 237-343). Join in the fun- we want to hear what you think!

Ok, well it’s time to start the discussion and start spoiling some things- so if you haven’t read yet and don’t want to be spoiled……. STOP HERE. Do not read further. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Come back when you’ve read pages 1-104!

Before we get into spoiler/discussion……………..

As an extra special treat for those participating in the readalong, thanks to St. Martin’s, we will be having a giveaway of THE SILENT SISTER. The winner will be randomly chosen from the comments in this post. Winner of THE SILENT SISTER will be selected October 24th- and must be US only (I’m sorry for the limitations!)

On to the discussion/spoilers:

The Prologue:

Erin from Deep South Magazine: Prologue immediately lets you in on the secret that Lisa (the “silent sister”) may not be dead. From the start, we know something that main character Riley doesn’t and are along for the wild ride Diane Chamberlain is taking us on.

T @ Traveling With T: “Because the seventeen year old girl- the seventeen year old murderer- most were sure-now rested somewhere beneath that rocky expanse of ice.”

“Although a yellow kayak stranded in ice proved nothing. They were fools if they thought it did.”

Ahh, the start- the prologue- it gave me chills. Listen, it was no secret if you read the back of the book that Lisa was alive. What the draw was… Why did people think she committed suicide? What happened to make people think that? And, to not put too fine a point on word choice, Diane writes “Riley believed that Lisa committed suicide.” That plus the 2 quotes in prologue made my spidey senses tingle!


The Adoption Angle:

Erin from Deep South Magazine: I wasn’t paying that much attention to the adoption theory since Riley has no proof, but it is a major clue Diane is giving us. If you can figure out how it fits into the rest of the story, then pat yourself on the back for being an insightful reader (like T).

T @ Traveling With T: Aww, thank you E for that compliment! To me, I considered writing off Verniece’s statements to Riley about adoption as being just the mixup talk from an older lady. But, the more I got to thinking about it-and the mention of a picture of Riley with Danny and Lisa- well, the differences in their coloring was just another clue to consider about the adoption angle. I have MANY more thoughts on that- but, they will have to wait for next week’s discussion!


Part 1 Thoughts:

Erin from Deep South Magazine:

We are also introduced to a cast of characters who are not what they appear to be. It doesn’t take long to discover that Riley can trust no one, not even herself, because the life she’s lived this far has been built on lies.Lots of questions are left unanswered in this section, like is Riley adopted, was Lisa unstable, were their parents bad for trying to protect them at all costs and, most importantly, what the heck happened to Lisa? Did she kill someone on purpose, commit suicide or fake her death?

The section ends with a bombshell for Riley from Tom Kyle, who tells her that Lisa didn’t kill herself. Tom’s wife, Verniece, has already hit Riley with the fact that she might be adopted, but we don’t know whether the Kyles are telling truth or just bitter about not getting the RV park and trying to upset Riley.

T @ Traveling With T says:

Secrets. Secrets. And more secrets. Riley spends most of the first part of the book trying to decide who to trust- if anyone.

I remember emailing Erin and theorizing that Riley became a counselor because she was searching out ways to help families- especially after growing up in one where secrets were abundant.

I did not like Tom and Verniece.

The Danny angle with him expressing so much anger about being asked to clean the house and his anger about Lisa- I felt sympathy for him- BUT, I did find him unlikeable at times. And I wish he would have been able to help Riley clean and sort through stuff from their father’s death.


Overall Thoughts:

Erin from Deep South Mag:

Overall, I really enjoyed Part One. It drew me in and made me think about what it would be like to go through your parents’ personal belongings and discover all those family secrets they’ve tried to keep hidden from you. Every family has them and if our parents do a good enough job of keeping them buried, we may never discover them. In fact, as a little preview to our interview with Diane, she said her overall message of the book would be about the destructive nature of secrets in a family.


T @ Traveling With T:


Part 1 really sets the readers up for something- a good story. The secrets, Riley finding out about things about her father (writing Tom checks for $500 dollars and being involved with Jeannie) and Danny saying “There are all kinds of abuse” make me wonder what Part 2 will bring!

Questions to consider about Part 1:

Do you think Riley is adopted?

Why would Tom ask if there is any more in the will to be left to him besides the pipe collection?

And why was Jeannie pushing Riley so hard on letting her help with the clean-up of the house?

Thanks for joining in Week 1! Can’t wait to read your comments!


Stay Bookishly Cool,

T @ Traveling With T & Erin from Deep South Magazine

21 thoughts on “The Silent Sister ReadAlong Week 1 (Spoilers and Discussion)

  1. I’m not going to do posts since I’ve already posted a review, but I’ll definitely following along with you in the comments and won’t include spoilers past where the discussion is πŸ™‚ I didn’t like Tom and Verniece either, but I did believe Verniece about Riley being adopted because she seemed so surprised Riley didn’t know. I definitely didn’t see where the adoption thing was going yet though. I suspected Tom of being up to no good (blackmail?) but mostly because I didn’t like him. Definitely lots of secrets in this one!

    • I just read your review- so good and you nailed it. I’m waiting to post my review till all this is over- but I got lots to say!

      I did not like Tom and Verniece. Tom, I really didn’t like, but Verniece- she had something odd that made me not trust her. I wondered blackmail, too. It seemed to be a logical thought process since he was getting 500 bucks in regular intervals from Riley’s dad.
      Yes! Secrets a-plenty!

  2. Oh gosh, I feel like I’m cheating because I read the whole book already – and LOVED it btw. Okay, so what did I think at this point in the book:

    Riley adopted….I knew something was going on but couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

    Tom I thought was just trying to take advantage of Riley’s good nature by insisting her father had promised him more than the pipes.

    Jeannie…wow how I didn’t like this woman at that point in the story. She came across as a busy body, deep down I thought she was doing what she thought was best for Riley, and also what she thought Riley’s father would want her to do.

    • It’s ok! Reading ahead (or finishing!) is ok πŸ™‚

      I wondered if he was trying to take advantage of her good nature OR the fact that he knew that no one would be around to help and probably her desire to go back to her life!

      Jeannie- good grief was she pushy! I wanted to tell her to “CALM DOWN!”

      I had wondered if she wasn’t exaggerating their relationship to see if she could get more from Riley!

  3. k2reader says:

    First, I am loving this book…it’s so engaging and has kept me glued to the pages. I had to force myself to stop at the end of Part 1 so I wouldn’t learn anymore before participating! So many secrets that I hope are all revealed by the end of the book…Yes, I do believe Riley is adopted. I didn’t pick up on the clue with the picture, but once Verniece mentioned it and then kept harping on it, I realized it must be true. Why wouldn’t her parents tell her? I definitely think there’s more to Tom’s relationship with Riley’s father than he’s letting on. His asking if there was more left to him than just the pipes is very curious and has me very suspicious of him. I haven’t decided whether there’s more to Jeanine or if she’s just trying to help.

    I can’t wait to continue reading…hope Part 2 is just as good as Part 1 was!!!

  4. So excited we have some discussion going!

    I thought Jeannie was very strange at first and trying to compete with Riley to show she knew her father better. And Jeannie’s daughter Christine is a piece of work as well, but these two eventually mean well I think.

    Can’t wait to start talking about part 2 later this week and share Diane’s interview with y’all at the end. She does shed some light on those unresolved secrets Tamara mentions!

  5. Danny’s anger seems to be a bit misplaced. I can understand why he would blame his parents for basically ruining his childhood and making him feel like he was crazy, but his grudge against Lisa is pretty harsh. I guess he views her as a murderer and no longer a sister. I do feel sorry for him, especially after finding out his mom told him his memories were just his imagination, but he needs to grow up.

    • Diane does a very good job with Danny- while most times I feel frustrated with him or just want to tell him to suck it up and help Riley- you can tell he has scars-I just wish I knew more of his story.

      I did hate that his mom minimized his “memories” like that- I know she thought she was doing the right thing- but I wonder if a few less secrets had been about- would Danny have different feelings about Lisa?

      Food for thought: Does he hate Lisa because she got to keep on being the “perfect” child after her “suicide” and he went on to live a hellish life- especially his wartime injuries?

  6. momssmallvictories says:

    Ok so I am totally late to the readalong discussion but wanted to post my review first.

    I thought Riley was adopted. I really disliked Tom, Verneice and Jennine. I just couldn’t trust them and my mama bear instinct was kicking in with Riley. She was just so naive to me.

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