Roxanne Callahan has always been her younger sister's caretaker. Now married, her happiness is threatened when beautiful and emotionally unstable Simone, suffering from crippling postpartum depression, commits an unforgivable crime for which Roxanne comes to believe she is partially responsible. In the glare of national media attention brought on her sister, Roxanne fights to hold her marriage together as she is drawn back into the pain of her troubled past and relives the fraught relationship she and Simone shared with their narcissistic mother. At the same time, only she can help Simone's nine year old daughter, Merell, make sense of the family's tragedy. Cathartic, lyrical, and unflinchingly honest, THE GOOD SISTER is a novel of four generations of women struggling to overcome a legacy of violence, lies and secrecy, ultimately finding strength and courage in their love for each other.
A mother on trial for the attempted murder of her children opens Campbell's piercing latest. The story shifts back in time to explore Simone Duran's childhood with her sister, Roxanne, and their self-absorbed mother and also Simone's life as a stay-at-home mom suffering from post-partum depression. Simone's neglect of infant daughter Olivia, who she lets lie in her crib crying for hours on end, tears at the heart, but while Simone's mothering is disturbing, Campbell highlights the underlying factors that have pushed Simone to this edge, giving the story balance. Simone's macho husband prevents her seeking treatment while he imposes pregnancy after pregnancy on her in his desire to finally have a son. Add Roxanne's overprotectiveness of Simone, and you have a completely dependent woman. Campbell burns through Simone's struggles and also those of Roxanne in haunting, graphic detail. This portrait of the inner life of a woman whose psychotic state led her to believe that killing her children and herself would have been best for all of them should be on everyone's book club list