On a cold December day in 2013 Catherine Simpson received the phone call she had feared for years. Her younger sister Tricia had been found dead in the farmhouse where she, Catherine and older sister Elizabeth were born – and where their family had lived for generations.
Tricia was 46 and had been stalked by depression all her life. Yet mental illness was a taboo subject within the family and although love was never lacking, there was a silence at its heart.
After Tricia died, Catherine found she had kept a lifetime of diaries. The words in them took her back to a past they had shared, but experienced so differently, and offered a thread to help explore the labyrinth of her sister’s suicide.
When I had a Little Sister is a searingly honest and wryly heartbreaking memoir about a Lancashire farming family, whose love of their land came hand in hand with the resilience to live off it, and whose way of life has now all but disappeared. It’s a story of sisters and sacrifice, grief and reclamation, and of the need to speak the unspeakable