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The Better Sister: A Novel by Alafair Burke
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The Better Sister: A Novel (2019)

by Alafair Burke

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12315150,571 (3.66)10
"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 attorneyAdam 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"--"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"--… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
Quick read. Good characters good plot. Good twist. ( )
  Alphawoman | Aug 9, 2019 |
This was a page-turner for me, although it all got a bit much by the end. None the characters was particularly likeable (and I especially disliked what Chloe did to Jake), but the author made each sympathetic in part. ( )
  pgchuis | Jun 28, 2019 |
Really? Seriously?? A long involved courtroom drama centered around the trial of a 16-year-old accused of murdering his father, with his bio-mom and step-mom (sisters, by the way) doing whatever it takes to see that he is not convicted. And then I get to the end to find who the real murderer is and all I can think is "this does not compute". I guess as long as you don't stop to think too hard about that, it's a fair run-of-the-mill family drama/thriller. And the shenanigans the sisters indulge in after the trial pretty much answer the question of which is "the better sister". Answer: Neither ( )
  satxreader | Jun 9, 2019 |
Another domestic mystery/thriller from Alafair Burke (The Wife) that’s full of twists and turns.

A man is murdered in his East Hampton beach house causing two estranged sisters – the dead man’s wife and his ex-wife –to come together to try and stop their son from going to prison for the murder. That alone is intense! However interesting the premise may be, it fell a little short. I wanted a bigger twist at the end and more about the sisters strained relationship.

Overall, The Better Sister is an okay read but it seems like the book market is being flooded with domestic thrillers (or maybe I’ve just read too many lately).

Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishers for providing me with an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  Lauranthalas | Jun 6, 2019 |
Which is the better sister? An interesting question, but not one their husband Adam can answer, because he’s dead. In an intriguing plot complication, both women were married to the same man, just not at the same time. Nicky married him first, almost twenty years ago, but her increasingly erratic behavior finally forced Adam to seek a divorce and custody of their toddler son Ethan. Soon he moved to Manhattan where Chloe lives, and for a number of years he worked happily and successfully as a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Chloe, now his wife, urged him into a much more lucrative job, a partnership at a white-shoe law firm. Adam hates it. Not only that, something’s gone wrong in their relationship, though you can’t quite put your finger on it—yet.
A bit of a control freak, Chloe doesn’t reveal the cracks in her armor right away. She’s also a bit of a modern hero, using her magazine to let not just media darlings, but everyday women tell their sexual abuse and harassment stories. Misogynistic Twitter trolls make her a target—an unpredictable, persistent threat lurking in the background.
When Chloe arrives home late one night, Adam has been murdered, which brings Nicky to Manhattan, hoping to reconnect with her now sixteen-year-old son and taking up residence in Chloe’s home office. These temperamentally opposite sisters circle each other like newly introduced housecats. At least Nicky has stopped the drugs and the drinking, and she’s started making jewelry to sell on Etsy. In an unexpected rebalancing of the scales of likability, you may find yourself more sympathetic to Nicky than Chloe, who works so hard at being perfect.
The police detectives clearly hope to pin Adam’s death on Chloe, but when they realize Ethan has lied about where he was the night of his father’s death, they focus laserlike on him. A third strong woman enters the story in the character of Olivia Randall, Ethan’s lawyer. Chloe would like to manage the case, Nicky would like to do something rash, but Olivia stays in charge. But if Ethan didn’t kill his father, who did?
Author Burke’s real-life experience as a prosecutor serves the story well, and the details of the trial and the strategies of the attorneys make for excellent courtroom drama. The pressures of the trial bring forth a few “I didn’t see that coming” surprises too. It’s is an engaging, well-told tale that benefits from Burke’s clear writing style. ( )
  Vicki_Weisfeld | May 28, 2019 |
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