Review: The Better Sister by Alafair Burke


Release date: April 16, 2019

Publisher: Harper

Genre: Mystery/Thriller


From Alafair Burke—New York Times bestselling author of the runaway hit, The Wife—comes another twisty tale of domestic noir. When a prominent Manhattan lawyer is murdered, two estranged sisters—one the dead man’s widow, the other his ex—must set aside mistrust and old resentments . . . but can they escape their past?

Though Chloe was the younger of the two Taylor sisters, she always seemed to be in charge. She was the honor roll student with big dreams and an even bigger work ethic. Nicky was always restless . . . and more than a little reckless—the opposite of her ambitious little sister. She floated from job to job and man to man, and stayed close to home in Cleveland.

For a while, it seemed like both sisters had found happiness. Chloe earned a scholarship to an Ivy League school and moved to New York City, where she landed a coveted publishing job. Nicky married promising young attorney Adam Macintosh, and gave birth to a baby boy they named Ethan. The Taylor sisters became virtual strangers.

Now, more than fifteen years later, their lives are drastically different—and Chloe is married to Adam. When he’s murdered by an intruder at the couple’s East Hampton beach house, Chloe reluctantly allows her teenaged stepson’s biological mother—her estranged sister, Nicky—back into her life. But when the police begin to treat Ethan as a suspect in his father’s death, the two sisters are forced to unite . . . and to confront the truth behind family secrets they have tried to bury in the past 


Did you catch in the blurb that two sisters end up marrying the same man?! Talk about an attention grabber, that line alone made me want to read this one and when it’s also an AB book I’m alllll in. You know there has to be some juicy and complex backstory about how one woman becomes an aunt and a stepmother to the same child, something like that just doesn’t happen, right?! That’s just one of several burning questions I had almost immediately after cracking this book open and there was definitely a ton to unpack here.

Let me set you straight real quick and tell you that if you’re looking for a fast paced thriller you need to adjust your expectations a little. This is definitely more of domestic suspense, there isn’t a ton of action but it’s compelling all the same. There is a lot going on here, you have courtroom drama that moves along briskly with some chapters having a pretty large time jump between them, you have this dysfunctional family trying to pick up the pieces after a tragedy and then Chloe’s job is also interesting and very timely as a sort of spin off of the #MeToo movement. So as much as this isn’t a typical thriller it’s never boring at all, just know that it has the feel of a classic whodunnit with a contemporary edge.

Fans of the author will love this one, it felt very similar to The Wife in many ways but was also original enough not to feel stale. What makes her books standout to me is the superb writing, she really knows how to create an addictive page turner that hooks you.

The Better Sister in three words: Engrossing, Fluid and Scandalous

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

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