134. The Good Sisters by Helen Phifer

1933, Mother Superior Agnes offers sanctuary to a desperate young woman fleeing for her life. Only to wake in the morning to discover a terrible fate has befallen one of the Sisters – in a room locked from the inside. Agnes can’t help but fear that she has allowed a great evil to enter the convent, but she has no idea how far reaching the consequences of that one fateful night will be…

Over 80 years later, Kate Parker, divorced, alcoholic, and broke, moves into the dilapidated old convent she dreams of turning into a bed and breakfast, whilst changing her life. Although the locals refuse to go near the place at night, Kate is determined to stay while the renovations take place. But when she starts to hear strange noises at night, and the crucifixes she had removed reappear on the walls, Kate starts to suspect she is not entirely alone in her new home.

Kindle | 297 pages

Publisher: HQ Digital (October 31st, 2016)

I was excited to read this as book to welcome me back into Helen Phifer’s writing but I found myself being disappointed as I couldn’t connect to this story as well as I wanted to and it became more of a chore to read it rather than a relaxing experience.

It was easy to read in terms of structure and language but hard to read in terms of finding Kate Parker to be a very dull character and a character that I never warmed too. It became a struggle to read her half of the story and not skim read through it.

Mother Superior Agnes was a compelling character and the story told through her eyes was gripping, intense and interesting. I found myself longing for her chapters and for her story to unfold. I enjoyed the chills that went through me as her story was told and was very much invested in the characters that partook in this telling of the past.

In comparison, I couldn’t stand Kate Parker, I didn’t find her to be a very pleasing character and I couldn’t get behind her at all. I was mostly irritated by her behaviour and her actions through the entire book and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t find anything about her that I liked. She became a thorn in my side and one I could happily have done without.

It was easy to visualise in terms of there not been a wide variety of scenes to imagine and the fact that the cast of characters was rather small. As it had become a chore to read the chapters in the present with Kate Parker, I began to visualise less and less until all I visualized in vividness was the chapters in the past with Agnes.

It’s clear that I didn’t enjoy this books, which is a shame really because I had such high hopes for the story. I think it just missed the mark for me. I found Kate to be too whiny, too pathetic and too dull. I also found some of her thoughts and actions to be quite selfish and I couldn’t find anything that would present her positively to my eye. However, I really liked the story in the past with Agnes, so it’s a complicated one.

Mediocre is the only way I can really describe my enjoyment. I gave this book a three star rating, primarily because I enjoyed the chapters with Agnes so much. Without that, I would have only given this a one star because I struggled so much with so many aspects of it. This book has had so many good reviews, I just don’t think it was the right book for me. I still enjoy Phifer’s work and this book certainly hasn’t put me off or anything. I have a couple of her other books in my Kindle library and am looking forward to reading them. This was just a dud for me.

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