Sister Carrie by William H Coles is a psychological thriller that explores the themes of loss, grief, family, and a sister’s struggle to keep her younger sister from harm. After the loss of their parents, none of the siblings wanted Carrie, so Jessie had no choice but to take in her younger sister, determined to bring Carrie up with their parents’ Christian principles and keep her innocent. As Carrie settles in, Jessie’s dream of a loving husband and a happy brood of her own children is forgotten and she knows deep down that Carrie will never leave. But when Jessie realizes that her sister has been having an affair with a political activist, with whom she has bonded over the internet, Jessie rejects her. She can’t imagine how Carrie can have a genuine relationship with someone much older than her and someone she spends time with mostly over the internet. But Carrie sees things differently. Can Jessie win the confidence of her sister and make Carrie believe Jessie wants her own good or is Jessie about to lose someone close to her heart again?
William H Coles crafts a story that focuses on the quarrel between two sisters, a novel with strong psychological hints. The characters are well imagined and skillfully developed. The author offers terrific descriptions of the characters, allowing readers to have a clear idea of the family dynamics. From the beginning, readers get clear images of what the sisters look like. Carrie Broward is “a tall, muscular girl with pretty facial features and short-cut straw-blond hair” and her sister Jessie Broward is “a full-figured woman with a close resemblance to her sister but with pecan shell-brown hair.” The conflict is introduced right off the bat, as the siblings share the belongings of their parents and think about who will take Carrie. It is evident that Carrie is a headstrong and free-spirited character and readers quickly want to see how she develops through the narrative. Sister Carrie is beautifully written, with prose that is exciting and characters that are memorable. In this novel, the author explores what it means to be a true sister.