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Author: Sandy Hogarth

Reviewer: Florence Osmund

The Hook



An absent father and detached mother shape the future of sisters Helen and Clemmy in this impactful novel set in the North of England. Rich in characterization and heartfelt moments, THE OTHER weaves together an intriguing plot, thought-provoking prose, and strong dramatic content.



Plot Summary


When twins Helen and Clytemnestra (Clemmy) are born, their father abandons them and their mother to fend for themselves in a run-down English cottage nestled in the woods. The girls grow up extremely close, and because they find it difficult to connect with their mother, they rely solely on each other for support. Helen, a minimalist, is drawn to the sights, sounds, and smells of the forest. Once she discovers her father is a painter, she wants to meet him, be like him. Headstrong and rebellious, Clemmy is the “wild child” of the two and wants nothing to do with their father or anything having to do with nature.


When their mother leaves the girls at age sixteen, they embark upon separate journeys trying to understand who they are. In time, they completely lose touch with one another, and while they manage the consequences of their separation in disparate ways, they similarly realize the power of their early attachment.





The plot in THE OTHER is creative, interesting, and compelling. A strong narrative arc results in a progression of events that will keep readers engaged at each stage of the story. Appropriate pacing creates the right mood for the moment and perpetuates a connection to the characters and the situations that surround them.


Hogarth does an exemplary job at delving deeply into the characterization of Helen and Clemmy, creating believable, memorable individuals that come to life on the page...warts and all. Layers of personality combine with effective internalizations and diverse relationships that result in the creation of consistent, three-dimensional protagonists deserving of empathy from readers who care what happens to them.


Beautifully written, the book’s narrative is well-structured and easy to follow. Hogarth’s writing style is fluid, with a unique voice and good balance of description, back story, action, and dialogue. The manner in which she weaves together the plot threads makes for a cohesive, dynamic, and engaging narrative. Vivid descriptive detail draws readers into the scenes and adds significant dramatic impact.





On a scale of 1 to 5, THE OTHER is rated 4.8 by Direct Book Reviews.

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