Review: The Prodigal Sister by Darry Fraser

 

Title: The Prodigal Sister

Author: Darry Fraser

Published: 1st December 2021, HQ Fiction

Status: Read December 2021 courtesy Harlequin Australia

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My Thoughts:

 

The Prodigal Sister is a story of betrayal, intrigue, loyalty, and love set in Australia at the turn of the 20th century from Darry Fraser.

Though she was hoping to further study the new science of forensic investigation after completing her Master of Arts in Scotland, Prudence North heeds her father’s request to return home to Melbourne. With the health of both her mother, and younger sister, Valerie, worsening due to Huntingtons Chorea, Prudence is needed to manage the household and support her father, a busy doctor. When family friend, and high ranking police officer Everard Bankston requests an interview with her just a few weeks after her return, Prudence is hopeful of a career opportunity, instead Bankston tells her that her father has been accused of providing illegal abortions, and if Bankston is to stop him from being charged, Prudence must make the acquaintance of a Mr. Jasper Darke, and report on his activities.

There are several intrigues in The Prodigal Sister, including what truth, if any, there is in the accusations levelled at Prudence’s father, who murdered the man found in his clinic, and what Bankston’s interest is in Jasper Darke, but in general the plot is quite busy with secrets, deceptions, and betrayals. Prudence, caught in the middle, struggles to make sense of everything, drawing on the little she knows of forensic investigation, and finding support from an unexpected quarter.

In addition to the mysteries, there is the development of a romance for Prudence, which is complicated by a number of issues, including her belief that she too will develop Huntington’s, of which little is known at the time, except that it runs in families and is always fatal.

Prudence is an appealing heroine, bright, strong and resourceful, though still constrained by the societal expectations of her time. In mourning, subject to blackmail from Bankston, concerned about the health of her sister and her self, and fighting her attraction to Jasper, she is under an extraordinary amount of pressure.

There really is a lot of drama in The Prodigal Sister, and I think overall perhaps a little too much. While Fraser manages it all well, and the various threads converge neatly, the pacing was a little off, and the author’s twists, though clever, didn’t have the impact they could have.

Nevertheless, The Prodigal Sister is an entertaining and engaging work of historical fiction.

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Available from Harlequin Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

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