A Sister’s Secret - Two Sisters. A Harrowing Secret. One Fight For Justice.

by Debbie Grafham

Read time: about 3 minutes

She was the elder one. She was meant to protect her younger siblings. So when she saw her sister being assaulted by the neighbor she wanted to do everything to keep the offender away from her sister. It was okay that he asked her to take his sister’s place instead.

This is a horrifying story of two siblings, everything they went through and the justice that came to them late but still helped.

Cover page

The cover page is kept simple, as in most of the memoirs addressing similar issues.

See Don’t tell Mummy: A true story of ultimate betrayal.

It segregates the book well into the genre. It is easy to identify. Though it is not catchy enough to stand out, the cover page is a great composition. Thus, pleasing to look at.


It is the story of two sisters. One of them is the narrator. She is a woman of 45 and a recovering alcoholic. The narrator refuses to be called a self-sacrificial victim in the story. During the course of the book, one may understand the change in the characteristics of the two sisters and how circumstances played a major role in their making.

They are both strong willed, that is a constant.


The author comes to an understanding with her offender. He promises to leave her sister alone if Debbie offers herself instead. And that is exactly what she does. Previously raped by her own father, Debbie is aware of the ordeal and refuses to let her sister go through the same, thus taking her place. The abuse goes on for several years before their family leaves to a different locality.

In the book, the author goes back down the memory lane and describes her life prior to her father being jailed, after the abuse and the struggle to get justice.

The author talks about the changes that were the result of the abuse and how she eventually got over them to get married. But ghosts seldom leave.

Continuously haunted by the ghost of the past she finally decides to fight for justice.

It is an overwhelming story of the two sisters. It is also written as a message, to other people going through it, to provide them strength, to not lose faith in the judiciary. It is also to make others aware of child abuse, to help them identify it and fight it.

A great read definitely.


The book is written as first person narration, in colloquial language. The words and sentences are often repeated, which are annoying at times, especially when you deviate from the core story. It is a great story which could have been narrated better.

Good points

The cover page is a great composition. The two sisters are wonderful to read about. Their struggle for justice is commendable. The story is heart touching. It makes you angry and you keep praying for the siblings in your heart. This is a story which is meant to be told.

Bad points

The language gets little upsetting at times. The repeated sentences don’t help the narration much.


The book is an interesting read. I regret putting it off for this long.

Who do I recommend it to

This book is for those who like memoirs. Those who want to learn more about child abuse and how to fight it are going to find this quite helpful.

Quotable quotes

I was nine and the big sister. I wanted to keep her safe. He basically promise me that if I let him abuse me, he won’t touch my sister again.

The thought of it made me sick but if it was either me or Larain, I knew what I had to do: I would have to sacrifice myself to save my sister.

‘There’s no point lying to you, Debbie. It’s going to be hard and at times it might feel as if you’re the one on trial and not Ryan.’

I received the review copy from the publisher. The opinion here is my own, completely uninfluenced.

Veena Choudhary

An avid reader and history fanatic.

Mumbai, MH merakipost.com