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All booksThrillerThe Winter Sister
The Winter Sister by Megan Collins

The Winter Sister

We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Megan Collins, on your first book!

by Megan Collins

Quick take

Sixteen years after the unsolved murder of her sister, a woman revisits the events of that deadly night.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FamilyDrama

    Family drama

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  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Movieish


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Creepy


Why I love it

Brianna Goodman
BOTM Editorial Team

We take our thrillers seriously here at BOTM because a) we know how much our readers love them, and b) we want to offer the best of the best. We start with a massive list and review them one by one until we find a book that boasts the magical trifecta: believable characters, a hefty dose of suspense, and a story that keeps you guessing till the end. The Winter Sister, I am pleased to say, checks all of these boxes.

Sixteen years after the unsolved murder of her sister, Sylvie is making ends meet as a tattoo artist when she’s called home to care for her estranged mother. When Sylvie learns that her mother’s cancer nurse is Ben, the forbidden boyfriend whom her sister was out with the night she was murdered, Sylvie finds herself thrown back into the events of her past.

With mysteries, it’s tempting to skip ahead and find out whodunit, but here I found myself far more invested in experiencing the characters’ lives in real time. I sympathized with Sylvie, still riddled with guilt over her sister’s fate. I felt the tense reunion of a mother and daughter whose relationship was destroyed by their mutual loss. I watched with suspicion as Sylvie encountered unsettling figures from her past, and I relished one clue after another until this ice-cold case was put to bed. This is a skillful debut from a new voice in suspense—one whose story will haunt you for days.

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Sixteen years ago, Sylvie’s sister Persephone never came home. Out too late with the boyfriend she was forbidden to see, Persephone was missing for three days before her body was found—and years later, her murder remains unsolved.

In the present day, Sylvie returns home to care for her estranged mother, Annie, as she undergoes treatment for cancer. Prone to unexplained “Dark Days” even before Persephone’s death, Annie’s once-close bond with Sylvie dissolved in the weeks after their loss, making for an uncomfortable reunion all these years later. Worse, Persephone’s former boyfriend, Ben, is now a nurse at the cancer center where Annie is being treated. Sylvie’s always believed Ben was responsible for the murder—but she carries her own guilt about that night, guilt that traps her in the past while the world goes on around her.

As she navigates the complicated relationship with her mother, Sylvie begins to uncover the secrets that fill their house—and what really happened the night Persephone died. As it turns out, the truth really will set you free, once you can bear to look at it.

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Get an early look from the first pages of The Winter Sister.

Member thoughts

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11210 ratings
  • 39% Love
  • 53% Like
  • 6% Dislike
  • Cibolo, TX

    With the weight of her sister’s disappearance on her shoulders, Sylvie sets out for answers she’s always longed for.Her strength, resilience, & loyalty to her family are characteristics to be admired.

  • Eden , NY

    Predictable, but so well written that I didn’t mind. My heart ached for the main character through the entire book. I couldn’t stop turning the pages, I needed to find out how the story would resolve.

  • Seminary, MS

    This book shows the real human emotions of guilt, betrayal, and trust we all feel within us, even when we sometimes shouldn’t. While the ending was satisfying, I didn’t want it to end! Worth the read.

  • Wilmington, DE

    This book described what it’s like to lose a family member in a traumatic way, with such depth. You could still feel sylvie’s pain from the loss and pain that comes with her relationship with her mom.

  • Piedmont, CA

    While I did enjoy this read, I felt a bit weary about how naive Sylvie was at times. This is a book that’s easy to put the pieces together, and will give you an emotional ride. Disgust, relief, sorrow

  • Tampa, FL

    I truly enjoyed this debut novel from Megan Collins. I loved the way she built intrigue, suspense, and suspicion throughout. This was a fast paced read for me and I’m eager to read more from Collins.

  • Cheney, WA

    I loved this book, but for different reasons than other times that I may have, “loved a book” before. It kept me interested, but not obsessive. The story was powerful, and never boring. Much love <3

  • Oak Brook, IL

    A pageturner. Sylvia’s sister was murdered. Her boyfriend Ben was the main suspect. Now Sylvia had returned to town to visit her mother who is hospitalized. Ben is her nurse. Can Sylvia trust him?

  • Somerset, NJ

    I really enjoyed this book. There were so many twists & turns that you wouldn’t expect & I loved every minute of it. I couldn’t put this book down! I finished it in 2 days & I highly recommend it!!

  • Austin, TX

    Great twists! It's not completely unique, I've had some similar parts in other stories (window latch, anyone?) but the twists were FANTASTIC! I was completely surprised by whodunit, but it made sense!

  • Hilliard, OH

    A bit of twist and turning, as you'd expect in a thriller, with an emotionally guarded protagonist that sometimes makes you roll your eyes. As secrets are revealed, you aren't quite sure who to trust.

  • Mesquite, NV

    Megan Collins has a way of making the characters seem so real. Each person was dealing with their own feelings. When it all came together the feelings just popped out of the book. Ended with a twist.

  • Clinton , MA

    This book was great! Kept me on the edge of my seat quite a bit. A really well written suspense/thriller! Can’t wait to read more from this new author. So glad i picked this as my book of the month!

  • Colonial Beach , VA

    Loved this book! Everything built up to a big reveal ending. I enjoyed the feeling of not knowing what would come next. Very suspenseful, tried to predict who the killer was and got a shocking ending.

  • Crozet, VA

    I have never read anything from this author before. I enjoyed the way she wrote the story. I liked that Sylivie took it upon herself to go looking for the answers she needed. Quick read, exciting too.

  • East Boston , MA

    I have so many feelings and thoughts to share with this one, but to start this book for me was the exact new twist I've been looking for since reading The Silent Patient I have been left in complete a

  • Hanover, PA

    I liked this book because while bringing you a case that you need to solve, you also get so entangled in the true emotions of the characters. A great read with good character development. I enjoyed it

  • East Peoria , IL

    While I kind of figured out what happened, it was still a great read. There were some definite twists I didn't see coming. One of those books where you're satisfied w/the ending, but still wanted more

  • Naples , FL

    This book had me hooked. From beginning until the end. I finished this book within 3 days. I just couldn't stop reading!! Just when you think you know...BOOM another twist. So well written!! Loved it!

  • Pequannock, NJ

    I really liked this book although it did make me sad at times for the way the mother acted towards her daughter. I wasn't completely surprised at the turn of events as I already suspected some of it.

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