Writing all of these character blogs for this year's A-Z challenge I've realised how many of the novels I've included are debuts. And today's is no exception. Sworn Secret is the first novel from Amanda Jennings and it's very powerful indeed. With three narrators, John, Kate and Lizzie, the story tells of a family's grief, anger and confusion after the sudden death of a beloved daughter and sister.
Lizzie is the teenage narrator who has lost her elder sister, Anna. The sister she always looked up to, the sister she is devastated to have lost, but also the sister she wants to leave behind in the past while she gets on with growing up. Lizzie has also lost her mother as she has been so caught up in her grief over Anna's death she has shown no interest in the daughter that she still has. Until secrets from Anna's life are revealed that tarnish the memories everyone has of her, and prompt Lizzie's parents into becoming smothering and over protective of her.
To escape from the misery of her home life Lizzie focuses all of her energies on the fact that she is falling in love for the first time. But she's falling in love with the wrong person and when her secret love affair is revealed it threatens to send the family even further off track. Despite everything that life throws at her, Lizzie blossoms into a confident and smart young woman who finally steps out from Anna's shadow without ever letting go of her love for her. Lizzie made me laugh, she made me cry, and I got angry on her behalf but she also made me wish I could have dealt with life so well at that age.