The Better Sister
by Alafair Burke
Publication Date : April 16, 2019
Pages : 336
Synopsis From Publisher :
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.
As a sole reader of crime fiction, I often see the same authors pop up when I am book browsing. Alafair Burke is one of those names. I read stellar reviews for other books by Burke such as The Wife and The Ex and vowed to read Burke’s next release. I finally got the opportunity to read The Better Sister, Burke’s latest release and I could kick myself for not discovering this author sooner. The Better Sister is indeed a murder mystery but so much more. Burke gives readers a twisty and embroiling mystery, as well as an examination of family bonds and how these bonds can be broken but are not beyond repair.
As soon as Chloe Taylor could leave her family home in Cleveland Ohio she did and rarely looked back. In New York City, Chloe begins to climb the ladder in magazine publishing while her sister Nicky back in Cleveland struggles with her demons, supporting her husband, and raising her son. One evening Chloe gets a call from Nicky’s husband Adam. Something terrible has happened which changes Nicky’s, Adam’s, and Chloe’s lives permanently. Fifteen years pass by, Chloe and Adam are now married raising he and Nicky’s son. Chloe and Nicky are now estranged but are brought together again when Adam is murdered and Ethan becomes the prime suspect. Can Chloe and Nicky put aside their past issues and mutual dislike of each other to save their son?
I do not have a sister but I imagine the relationship between sisters is very complex, especially when they are close in age. I imagine there is fierce love and loyalty but also jealousy and rivalry. These emotions along with family issues can become all consuming for sisters. It was very clear to me that Nicky and Chloe loved each other, however many walls have built up between them. Walls of assumptions and untold truths. Ethan’s circumstances and Adam’s death force them to reunite but their reconnection is slow moving. Burke’s illustration of Chloe’s and Nicky’s attempts at reconnection are heartfelt and painful. As adults they both strived to be different from their parents. As they get to know each other as adults they begin to realize the cycles they so badly wanted to break are continuing.
Chloe is the Editor and Chief of Eve, a political magazine primarily targeted towards women. She is also the founder of the #themtoo movement. #themtoo serves to give voices to victims of sexual assault and harassment much like the #metoo movement. However the voices behind #themtoo are your everyday women; those who are not celebrities or pubic figures. In Chloe’s position at Eve and within #themtoo, she is the subject of many abusive tweets and blogs. However Chloe uses the hate filled tweets and blogs to fuel the #themtoo movement. I enjoyed reading Chloe’s way of using the hate to her advantage but I was also a little disturbed because she had so many horrible tweets and blogs to choose from. She is able to shuffle through thousands of tweets to select the ones which would have the most impact. I love nothing more than calling out a bully. Although the tweets, blogs, and Chloe are fictional, I found this portion of the story unsettling. Unsettling because the #themtoo movement and internet bullying are based on a very sad and very realistic truth.
Over the last few months there have been a slew of new domestic suspense releases. For many reasons The Better Sister stands apart. A male is a key part of the story but he is not the center. At the center are two strong yet flawed women who are able to put all resentments to the side to serve a greater purpose. What an ideal concept…
*Thanks to Harper Books for my free review copy of The Better Sister*
Murder and Moore Rating :
5 out of 5 Stars