The Orphan Sister by Gwendolen Gross

 As a triplet, Clementine Lord has always been a part of a set.  A quirk of biology left her sisters an identical pair and Clementine the odd one out.   When a secret their father has been harboring comes to light, the careful family fabric they have woven begins to unravel.   Clementine questions the secrets and the lives that each of her family members have lived.

Gwendolen Gross’s story takes us from Clementine’s past and the relationships she’s had with her sisters, mother, and father.  We learn about her greatest love, which was also her greatest loss.  As Clementine seeks to make sense of all that has happened, we are taken through her life as she tries to navigate an uncertain world.

I am going to be very honest here.  I wanted to like this book, I really did.  I had grand hopes for how it started out.  In the beginning, I expected Clementine to be very introspective and to be searching to find her answers and find her place.  After about 200 pages, she still hadn’t done it.  I didn’t feel like she had even gotten started moving on and taking control of her own destiny until around page 271 of 283. There were glimpses earlier that led me to think she would get there sooner.

Sadly, she didn’t.

Gross did a great job of building her story.  I just feel that the building continued for far too long.  It was like the anticipation that you feel when you are riding a roller coaster.  The cart climbs higher and higher.  The butterflies build and build, until you reach the summit and begin racing down.   This roller coaster never reached that summit.  You can only read so much “woe is me” before you look for your main character to begin to heal and move on.

Instead of getting this in the main character, you get it in Odette, one of her sisters.   Odette is the one who decides that she will no longer allow their father’s sins to dictate how she will live her own life.  She stops focusing her life on what he has done and how they will repair the damage to focusing on her new child and her own family.  Odette’s story is one I would like to read, as I prefer female characters who work to get over their struggles and tragedies and move forward.  They don’t forget the experiences, but they do work to use those experiences to become stronger.

Clementine would have gotten there.  Eventually.


Robin Gwaro is a founding book review blogger at and has generously supplied this review. She describes herself as “a woman just trying to keep it all together. Most days, I have the juggling act down! Others, I have the broom and dustpan handy to clean up the mess. My life is not always easy, it is not always neat, but it is always worth every minute!” Her personal blog is Just Wandering. Not Lost.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.