Being one of a set of twins if often portrayed as always having someone who understands you near by. But what if twins are separated very soon after birth? How does that affect each life? What if both sisters fall in love with the same man before knowing and/or meeting each other? Rebecca Winters’ book tells this compelling story.
Catherine Casey is a successful architect and one of four adopted children of loving parents. When she has to leave her brother Jack’s NASCAR race early for an appointment, she bumps into a gorgeous man. He looks at her with recognition and revulsion and calls her by the name of Shannon. She tells him she is not Shannon and hurries away.
David Britton is stunned when he realizes that the woman was not Shannon White. Before he can catch her, she has driven away. He realizes that she has to be Shannon White’s missing twin. David runs a research institute that studies twins. One of the studies is about twins who were separated before they remember each other. Shannon had come to the institute after seeing one of its ads. Just before her adoptive mother died, she told Shannon that she was a twin. She hopes that her twin has also been looking for her, too, so she leaves information with the institute.
David was quickly attracted to Shannon and took her out to dinner, but before the evening was over, even before the kiss he gave her, he knew that she was not what he wanted. She, however, does not want to take no for an answer.
David sets out to find Catherine. Because of the institute’s policies, he cannot ethically tell Catherine about Shannon unless Catherine comes to the institute looking for her twin. Since Catherine doesn’t even know she is a twin, it seems unlikely that she will begin a search.
When David and Catherine do meet, they quickly fall in love. Then Shannon discovers some information about Catherine and wants to meet her with David’s help. Neither of the women know how David is connected to the other and finding out changes all of their lives.
Having separated, twin sisters both fall for the same man is an unusual plot twist, but it works. I wanted to completely dislike Shannon, but the reasons for her needy attraction to David are explained and she does grow. David is a caring, compassionate, honest man with a strong ethical code.
Although he falls into deep love with Catherine a bit too fast to be realistic, his other reactions ring true. Catherine’s world is so completely rocked by the revelation that she has a sister and that the sister is in love with David that she flies off in many directions. While understandable, I did want her to stop hurting David sooner than she did.
Several of the secondary characters are important to the story and are well drawn. Catherine’s brother Jack supports her and becomes a good friend and supporter of David as well. David’s brother Mitch, his mother, Catherine’s parents, and Jack’s girlfriend Melanie are all important to the main characters.
The psychological explanations and situations are both the good and the not so good of this story. It is good to see male characters pursue the help of a psychologist as when David convinces his brother that they should seek counseling to help their mother with her grief and fears since being widowed. The not so good are the long speeches several different characters give explaining the psychology behind the actions of others in the story. While the information is important, it sometimes sounds like a paragraph or two out a psychology book. Changing some of this into more dialogue between the characters would have revealed the information without making it dry.
The Unknown Sister is an intriguing story with strong characters. While bogged down a bit by too much verbiage, it was still unusual enough to keep my attention.
--B. Kathy Leitle