New Release Book Review: The Wrong Sister by Fiona Palmer

New Release Book Review: The Wrong Sister by Fiona Palmer

Title: The Wrong Sister

Author: Fiona Palmer

Published: November 30th 2022

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Pages: 352

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Romance

RRP: $32.99

Rating: 4.5 stars

Sometimes, your heart knows the truth even before you do. The new page-turning family drama from one of Australia’s most popular storytellers.

As she approaches thirty, dedicated nurse Ellen Sutton‘s life is how she wants it – well, almost. Her younger sister, Carrie, seems to have it all sorted though: a successful hair business, a devoted new boyfriend and a rosy future together. Even Ellen’s brother, Bodhi, is settled with his petite, super-chill chef girlfriend, Ingrid. So why does Ellen suddenly give up her career and family for the red dust and toil of an outback cattle station? She’s never run from anything before – it’s new territory in more ways than one.

But Ellen can’t run forever. And a family camping trip to Western Australia’s beautiful Karijini country brings the three women together once again.

This trip won’t be the dream camping holiday for any of them. But one way or another, it will show them the truth. The Wrong Sister is a heartfelt story about dreams, the importance of family and finding your true self.


Fiona Palmer is one of my favourite home-grown authors. As a fellow West Aussie I’ve been reading Fiona Palmer’s books for a number of years. The Wrong Sister is Palmer’s latest contemporary romance. It is a story that I devoured in just two days, thanks to the relatable characters, vivid landscape descriptions and meaningful narrative connections.

The Wrong Sister is the latest contemporary fiction release with rural WA elements from Fiona Palmer. Ellen is almost thirty years old, she is a hardworking nurse and she is close to her siblings. Ellen’s sister Carrie seems to be happy and successful. With her own hairdressing business and a supportive boyfriend by her side, Carrie appears to have it all. Ellen’s brother Bodhi is much the same, he is in a loving and committed relationship with his adorable girlfriend Ingrid. But Ellen surprises her family, friends and colleagues by sacrificing her successful career for a jaunt in the outback. But why is Ellen escaping? Ellen has her loved ones worried and they come to her rescue at the stunning tourist spot of Karijini, where they might finally discover why Ellen is running away from it all.

The Wrong Sister is one of my first books of 2023. It was so nice to start the new year with such a moving and easy to absorb novel. A story about life in general from family, siblings, relationships, love, drama, secrets, work, dreams and commitments, this one had all the feels. I really embraced this new Fiona Palmer release.

Told via multiple viewpoints and a past to present storyline frame, The Wrong Sister is a wonderful family drama with rural undertones. I soon got swept up in the emotion of main character Ellen’s life, work and love situation. Her beginning hook up which kicks starts a big life change is what urged me to stay completely committed to this one. Ellen is an easy character to like and relate to, along with her siblings. I really loved Bodhi, he had some similar qualities to my own brother. Whilst I don’t have a sister myself, I felt drawn to Ellen and Carrie’s sisterly bond. It was one of the highlights of the novel. Palmer also fills the pages of The Wrong Sister with secondary characters that are engaging and authentic. I particularly warmed to Ingrid, Bodhi’s better half. Ingrid’s family background was really interesting but sad too. Hans the backpacker was a fabulous addition to the storyline. Fin/Murray was a vital part of the storyline and without this male lead the plot wouldn’t have been quite so juicy! Palmer has generated some real stars in this one!

The Wrong Sister offers readers a wonderful postcard of Western Australia’s unique landscape. The setting sparkles in this novel, from the beautiful beaches of the Albay area, through to the cattle station segments and the dangerous beauty of Karijini. The storyline seems to sing thanks to the landscape features and I found myself completely lost in this one. The beautiful backdrop and emotions that this story evokes made me think twice about my own hopes, dreams, choices and direction in life. I really examined my own life choices and Ellen’s story in particular hit me hard. Palmer mentions that Ellen’s storyline may induce possible triggers for some readers, but I honestly thought she treated this section of the narrative with a great deal of dignity. With other contemporary themes around loss, illness, care, mental health, friendship and aspirations, Palmer has crafted a truly fabulous read.

It was honestly a true pleasure to be in the company of siblings Ellen, Carrie, Bodhi and the important people in their lives. The Wrong Sister is an amazing read and one of my favourites by Fiona Palmer. I truly wish Fiona Palmer the very best as she takes a well-earned sabbatical from writing for now.  

The Wrong Sister by Fiona Palmer is published by Hachette Australia on November 30th 2022. $32.99.

*Thanks is extended to Hachette Australia for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.

To learn more about the author of The Wrong Sister Fiona Palmer, visit here.


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