This was a short read but I really enjoyed it. I can see why her novels are so popular. There was tension in the story line, an eerie feeling to the story, great characters yet by the time the novel finished, everything had come together and the novel ended on a positive note.
The mystery started within the first few pages when Ali found an old picture and started asking questions. Who was the other person in the photo whose name began with “T,” who was ripped out of the picture, that was with her mom and Aunt Dulcie? Why doesn’t her mother want to talk about it? The questions begin to mount when Ali discovers that they own a cottage with their Aunt Dulcie, which she has never been to.
When Aunt Dulcie arrives later in the novel, Ali is excited to see her. Ali wants to talk to her aunt about the picture and her aunt want Ali to babysit her daughter Emma, for the summer while she works. There is a major issue with this job for Ali, for Aunt Dulcie is working at the cottage this summer and that is where Ali will be babysitting Emma. Of course, mother doesn’t want Ali to go. Eventually though, mother ends up letting Ali go and I waited for the story to erupt.
I liked how slowly the story began to erode. Aunt Dulcie, Emma and Ali start to get settled into the cottage. Aunt Dulcie starts painting while the two girls spend time on the beach and hanging out together. It’s an ideal situation.
They met Sissy on the beach. Emma likes to play with Sissy as they are about the same age. Sissy pushes Emma to do and say things that Emma might not otherwise say or do. I wasn’t sure if it was because Sissy was a bit older or because Sissy was spoiled and at first, it was no big deal. These first issues were minor things but as they spent more time together, the activities became more intense. I started to think Sissy was bipolar.
I was enjoying this interaction, you could feel the energy inside the novel as Sissy started telling Emma what to do and how Emma started to question Sissy now. Ali tried to get in the middle of it and Emma wasn’t sure what to do. She wanted Sissy for a friend yet should she listen to her or should she listen to Ali, who was looking out for her?
As things escalated, events in the novel started coming together and it was fantastic how the story was evolving. I enjoyed how the story all came together in the end. A fantastic read and now, I can’t wait to read another novel by this author. I love that this is a children's book.