My Sister, Myself by Jill Treseder #BookReview #BlogTour

Hungary, 1956. Russian tanks brutally crush the revolution against the Communist regime. Sisters Katalin and Marika escape Budapest with their family and settle in London.
However, the past is not so easily left behind. Their father is a wanted man, and the sisters’ relationship hangs in the balance. Their futures are shaped by loss. For Katalin, this means the failure of her ambition and a devastating discovery; for Marika, an equally heart-breaking experience.
Caught between their Hungarian heritage and their new lives in Britain, the sisters struggle to reconnect. Family secrets are exposed, jeopardising Katalin’s and Marika’s identities.
Can their relationship survive war, division and grief?

It's such a pleasure to be hosting the blog tour for My Sister, Myself today. Many thanks to the author, Silverwood Books and Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me and sending me a copy of the novel.

I have a feeling that I'll still be thinking about Katalin and Marika for a long time, so engrossed was I by their lives in this beautifully engaging novel. It's a book which is both an extraordinary tale of the two sisters' lives after they were forced to flee Hungary and an instantly relatable story about family dynamics - the secrets and lies, the words that should have been said and those that could have been left unsaid.
The novel opens in 1950 when Katalin is just six years old and dreams of becoming a ballerina. Even at this young age there already seems to be tension between her and her little sister, Marika and in the early parts of the book I felt really sorry for Katalin as their mother clearly appears to favour her tempestuous younger sibling. She is much closer to her beloved Papa but post-war Hungary is a dangerous place to live for somebody with Lázló's political beliefs. Having miraculously survived both the war on the Russian Front and imprisonment after the rise of Communism in the country, he finally acknowledges that he must move his family to London after the Communists brutally crush the revolution in 1956. These scenes are shown through the eyes of the twelve-year-old Katalin; they are starkly affecting and a reminder of the horrific sights that so many young refugees may witness before they are displaced from their homes. Eventually, the family do manage to flee the country - Marika and Mama having the easier time of it as they manage to escape to Vienna by train whereas Katalin and her Papa have a much riskier journey across the border by foot. They move to London but their lives don't become any less fraught in their adopted country and years of heartbreak follow for the sisters.
At first, I thought the book was just going to be told in the third person, following Katalin's experiences but as it progresses the focus shifts between her, Marika and their Aunt Klára. Marika's story is the only one told in the first person and I found my initial impressions of her softened considerably during the course of the novel as I grew to understand more about this complicated young woman. Indeed, my feelings about both sisters changed several times throughout the book as I was made to reassess my opinions as to why they behaved as they did on several occasions. They are forced to move to Devon to stay with Klára and it is their response to this upheaval which eventually shapes much of their young adult lives and their relationship with one another.
Although I had conflicting feelings about the sisters, the one constant character I loved is Klára who despite not having maternal feelings, is suddenly expected to provide a home for two very troubled teenage girls. The two sisters respond very differently to their new life and over the years, one is the more successful in coming to terms with their tragic losses than the other, who becomes embittered by the shocking secrets she learns. I became so invested in the lives of both sisters and my emotions were constantly challenged by their actions and decisions. If I pitied one sister in one chapter, then in another I'd be angry or frustrated with her. I grew to really like one of them in particular as she grew into a strong and self-aware young woman but although I found the other a less sympathetic character, I still desperately hoped that she would eventually begin to accept her past and find some peace.
The historical details in My Sister, Myself are vividly and authentically brought to life but although this is a novel set in the past, it still feels heartbreakingly current. There is a parallel drawn in the book between refugees and evacuees and the issues that face both, and with the ongoing refugee crisis throughout the world, there are still millions of displaced people who experience similar psychological damage due to the complex nature of their losses as even those who are not bereaved must leave behind their homes, their country and their culture. My Sister, Myself is an emotive and captivating story about the troubled lives of two sisters divided by the experiences they share which leads into a thoughtful and fascinating examination of belonging and attachment. This wonderful book was a sheer pleasure to read from start to finish and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

My Sister, Myself is published by SilverWood Books and can be purchased here. Don't forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author
I started writing in a red shiny exercise book when I was seven years old. But in that time and place it was an ‘invalid’ activity, was overlooked, but never went away. It was many years before I felt able to call myself ‘writer’.
But there came a day when the phrase ‘I am a writer’ no longer sounded pretentious, but legitimate, and even necessary. Was it because I had a writing room instead of the corner of a landing? Or because I spent more time writing? Or because I’d got better at it? Or because I get miserable and bad-tempered if I don’t write? Probably a combination of all of the above.
Writing is my third career. The first was as a social worker with children and families, a job I loved, but left because I could no longer cope with the system.
This led to a freelance career as an independent management consultant, helping people to handle emotions in the work context. I worked in the IT industry, in companies large and small, as well as public organisations. Later I became involved in research projects concerned with the multi-disciplinary approach to social problems such as child abuse. So, in a sense, I had come full-circle.
All these experiences feed into the process of writing fiction, while my non-fiction book ‘The Wise Woman Within’ resulted indirectly from the consultancy work and my subsequent PhD thesis,‘Bridging Incommensurable Paradigms’, which is available from the School of Management at the University of Bath.
I live in Devon and visit Cornwall frequently and these land and seascapes are powerful influences which demand a presence in my writing.
Writers’ groups and workshops are a further invaluable source of inspiration and support and I attend various groups locally and sign up for creative courses in stunning locations whenever I can. I try doing writing practice at home but there is no substitute for the focus and discipline achieved among others in a group.
I have written some short stories and recently signed up for a short story writing course to explore this genre in more depth.
I live with my husband in South Devon and enjoy being involved in a lively local community.


  1. Thanks for this amazing blog tour support Karen. So pleased you enjoyed it x


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