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Book Review

My Sister, Victoria by Charlotte Moore - Book Review

Title
Author
Publisher

My Sister, Victoria
Charlotte Moore
Penguin

Fiction-Net Rating 1 Star Rated Book

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Cover Story

Ruth's greatest friend is her beautiful cousin, Victoria. From summer holidays by the sea, when they first swear eternal friendship, through school and university, they are as close as any sisters. Ruthie ever happy to give, Vicky always happy to take.

As Ruth grows up and their lives diverge, she becomes aware that her relationship with Victoria has undermined her life but she doesn't realise quite how much until she is betrayed one final, terrible time.

We Say

This is a tale that's been told many, many times. It follows the relationship between two quite different women - Ruth (plain and overlooked) and Victoria (beautiful and adored) - from their shared childhood to estranged adulthood. You're introduced to them on Ruth's 37th birthday as she receives an unexpected, and unwelcome, letter which causes her to review her life.

You will be expected to be swept into their lives, desperate to know what awful thing Victoria has done but you won't be. In fact, I very quickly stopped caring what happened to either woman.

Victoria is - to borrow a phrase from my mother - a spoiled little madam. We are told constantly how beautiful, talented, enchanting and adored she is and how easy it is to fall in love with her. I couldn't see it myself. I didn't like her, never mind love her and I can't imagine anyone who would. Perhaps if Ruth hadn't mentioned early on, "Mine was a birthday that people found easy to forget, not like Victoria" it might have been different but I doubt it.

Why do so many people put up with Victoria's increasingly appalling behaviour? Apparently because she's stunning and the beautiful people have a different set of rules. These rules seems to involve being self centred and manipulative and nobody minding.

Telling the tale in this novel from Charlotte Moore is our heroine, Ruth. I wanted to care about her, I really did, but I couldn't. She's wet, needy and pathetic. She spends the entire book doing exactly as Victoria wants, including taking an ex-boyfriend off her hands when she's finished with him! I'm afraid that sympathy for a character so malleable is impossible.

Despite not giving a damn, I struggled through to the unsatisfactory ending. My Sister, Victoria is supposed to be a character-driven novel but the main characters are so dismal, it just doesn't work. When you finally get to Victoria's betrayal (page 363 for anyone who wants to skip straight to it), you've already worked it out. The betrayal is obvious and inevitable, a bit like the book itself.

Review by: Kate Gordon

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