Rosamund LuptonNothing can break the bond between sisters ...When Beatrice gets a frantic call in the middle of Sunday lunch to say that her younger sister, Tess, is missing, she boards the first flight home to London. But as she learns about the circumstances surrounding her sister's disappearance, she is stunned to discover how little she actually knows of her sister's life - and unprepared for the terrifying truths she must now face. The police, Beatrice's fiance and even their mother accept they have lost Tess but Beatrice refuses to give up on her. So she embarks on a dangerous journey to discover the truth, no matter the cost.
This is a debut novel, but you'd never believe it. It's beautifully written, and when you read it you feel that you are truly listening to the writer's authentic voice. That's rare. You believe every word.
Two sisters, separated geographically, the elder, ambitious and sophisticated, working in New York. The younger, a hippy-ish art student, studying in London. The older sister, Bea, gets a frantic phone-call from their mother one day, saying that her sister Tess has gone missing. Bea flies back home, and rapidly becomes involved in a nightmare.
The book is written as a long letter from Bea to her lost little sister. It's a mystery, a complex thriller about a terrible crime committed in the name of genetic research. Tess, unmarried, was pregnant before her disappearance. She had told no-one except her sister. But there was Cystic Fibrosis in the family. Their brother Leo died from it as a child. And so Tess becomes part of a medical trial to find out if the baby she is carrying has the CF gene, and, if so, to see if the disease can be eradicated from her unborn foetus.
Tragedy follows, as Bea desperately searches to find out what happened to her sister; the more questions she asks, the more deeply she becomes involved in a designer-baby genetics programme gone evilly wrong. Eventually, in a thrilling denouement, her own life hangs terrifyingly in the balance.
I found the relationship between the two sisters deeply moving. Bea has a really good job in New York, a swish apartment and a preppy, successful fiancé. Tess's life in London couldn't be more different. She's an art student, living in a scruffy basement flat, with no interest in money or success. She's a free-thinker, and what's more she's got herself pregnant by a louche, married lecturer at her college. But Tess is much happier than her buttoned-up sister, who does everything by the book, never takes a risk and clings on to her stuffy, un-spontaneous fiancé only because he makes her feel safe.
And yet the love between these women is obvious from the first paragraph. Bea begins her touching, never- to- be- delivered letter to Tess, as she watches the press gather outside Tess's flat, avid for news of the missing girl.
The science is clever too. Judy and I have a personal interest in cutting-edge gene therapy, which holds so much promise for the treatment of Cystic Fibrosis, a cruel and horrible disease. So the idea of a trial aimed at pregnant women who are carrying a foetus with CF, in the hope of curing the baby in the womb, is extremely realistic. And the thought that such a miraculous search for a cure could be hijacked by a sinister bid for medical glory is very much of our time.
But above all, this is a clever crime mystery - tense, gripping, and a total page-turner.
Rosamund Lupton talks to Richard and Judy
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Richard and Judy's posts
05.07.2013 - Richard on his new novel Some Day I’ll Find You
Read the prologue and find out more about the twists and turns of Richard's debut novel here Read more
07.06.2011 - Tide Clocks and New Reads
Richard gives us a blog on his Have I Got News For You apperance and the joy of tide clocks! Read more
01.04.2011 - Eloise
For those of you wondering just what Judy has been up to the past few months, all can be revealed! Read more
22.03.2011 - New books to come and Dancing on Ice...
Richard's latest on the upcoming list of books being selected for the Summer season and Chloe's final skate on Sunday Read more
... Richard blogs on another busy week. Read more