Ruby and her older sister Jinn live together on their own, just about making ends meet. Jinn is beautiful, with glittering blonde hair, and makes it her business to look after Ruby. They are horrified by, but try to ignore, the local newspaper stories of prostitutes who are murdered, their bodies eventually discovered underwater. Then the no-good Nathan Baird turns up on the scene - again - and Jinn starts to change. First Nathan moves in with Jinn and Ruby, making Ruby feel an outsider, and then Jinn and Nathan move out, leaving Ruby alone. Jinn no longer has time to look after Ruby. And it seems to Ruby that Jinn herself needs looking after. Her beautiful glittering hair starts to lose its shine. And then Jinn disappears. A deeply moving, chilling, and incredibly powerful thriller that celebrates the love two sisters have for each other and mourns the events beyond their control that will conspire to drive them apart.
Published April 4th 2011 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
The Elliott Review:
This book grabbed me right away with its sense of realism by using the every day events of life to convey the deep, dark themes and meanings the author wants to convey. The atmosphere is somewhat melancholy due to the relationship between the sisters and quite dark and brooding and sinister in the threat that lurks in the mysterious killer of women.
Gillian Philip's prose is stunning! I've been sitting here cycling through adjectives to try to convey how powerful it is... It's intensely beautiful in places, filled with meaningful quotes and passages that can be kept and savored later on. At the same time, it's also very realistic in terms of dialogue and Ruby's thoughts. Being an American, I loved reading the British colloquialisms in each scene. It added a little something extra for me as well.
The relationship between the Ruby and Jinn is very masterfully conveyed. As they become more and more removed from each other due to Jinn's relationship with Nathan Baird, Ruby's outlook on life becomes more dire. The complex emotions between the sisters are very spot-on realistic. The emotions of all the characters, in fact, are well-done. All of the characters in this book add something to it - even the minor ones. Each person is there for a purpose that makes the book stronger and more meaningful as a whole.
This is a solidly well-done, likable book filled with all the complexity that makes me love something!