Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The Better Sister by Alafair Burke (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"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."

My Thoughts:

I've enjoyed previous books by this author so I jumped at the chance to read this one.  The Better Sister was a definite page turner that I couldn't stop reading! The setup of this book is a bit unique in the fact that Chloe is raising her sister's son with her ex-husband.  But when she finds her husband murdered in their beach house, her entire life is turned upside down.  What I loved about this book was that it was so completely different from what I expected it to be.  I always read the summary of a book before starting it but this book ended up being very unexpected (but in a good way).  I guess I went into it with notions of what was going to happen and how the book was going to go - and was completely wrong!  Go figure!  It helped make this book even more of a thrilling read for me though because I couldn't figure out what was going to happen and how everything was going to turn out.  Chloe doesn't have many positive feelings towards her sister at first so I was all prepared not to care for Nicky as well.  I honestly don't want to say more than that because this is a book to be experienced for yourself.  Just check those expectations at the door and enjoy the ride that this author is going to take you on.  It is completely worth it in my opinion!  One of the other things that I really liked about this book was the author's portrayal of commenters on the Internet.  A person can see this type of thing all over the Internet - just look at news stories and the comments that follow.  The comments can range between sympathetic to absolutely nasty - and all on a topic or individual that they might not have any background knowledge of.  I just felt like those parts of the book sadly rang very true to real life.  I honestly was kept guessing throughout the entirety of this book.  It's funny because I did at one point guess Adam's murderer but dismissed my guess early on.  It wasn't until the very last pages that I fully understood and realized I had been correct without knowing it. I'm curious to see how other readers felt about the ending but I really don't want to say more than that.  It worked for me if you are curious as to how I felt.

Overall, I enjoyed this book a ton and I think that this may be my favorite book by her so far!  I would really like to work on catching up with her backlist as well (but if I keep saying that with every author I read it won't happen).  Ha!  But seriously, I have yet to read a "bad" book by her and actually I believe that  I've rated all of her books at least four stars.  She is definitely an author to check out if you haven't yet!  I appreciated so much about this book that I didn't even share about as it might be considered a spoiler but if you want to discuss further just let me know.  This felt like a refreshing read and change of pace from all of the other thrillers that I've been reading lately - I can say that!  I would recommend this book to fans of both mysteries and thrillers.  I also think if you just enjoy suspenseful reads that this book would work for you!  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  A refreshing mystery that kept me guessing until the very end!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher.  Thoughts are my own!


  1. Alafair Burke is an author I've been wanting to try and this sounds good! I like that it isn't what you expected!

  2. Sam, it sounds like you relished this mystery. I enjoyed reading your review.

    I haven't posted a review in a while, but I continue to greatly enjoy my reading.


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