The Better Sister by Alafair Burke

The Better Sister

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.

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The big question is who is the better sister? All signs lead to Chloe, who is the more put together sister. She is very successful and has it all together including a husband and son. But can you really be the better sister if that husband of yours is your sister’s ex-husband? And that son, yeah that’s your biological nephew. So, so weird.

I really enjoyed Alafair Burke’s novels, especially her last novel, The Wife. I’m putting The Better Sister in more a middle range, because it was good, but not great. What I love most about Burke’s novels is that they are easy to read and hard to put down. You just want to know what happens and you keep reading to find out.

What lost me was just the weirdness of the novel. I feel like the two sisters really never addressed the elephant in the room – that they were married to the same guy. I liked the sisters, especially Nicky, but I felt that some of their conflict was pushed to the side. I loved that they rallied together to support Ethan (son/nephew) and found common ground.

The mystery was ok. I didn’t see a lot of things coming, which I always enjoy in a mystery. However, it seems that the big reveal was kind of thrown together as a ta da moment. There was also a lot of serious plot points that were introduced, but never really discussed or looked into deeper. It seemed that they were just done to add more shocking moments.

3 calculators out of a potential 5. I could see this as a good summertime read, when you are looking for some family drama with a side of mystery.


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