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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Meeting Karin Slaughter and Alafair Burke!!!

Last night, I got to attend an author talk and book signing featuring Karin Slaughter and Alafair Burke!! Yes, KARIN SLAUGHTER!! If you are new to my blog, I love Karin Slaughter! She is one of my favourite authors, she takes a mystery and then takes it one step further (mostly in a creepy and disturbing way).

A few weeks ago, as soon as I heard about the event I quickly bought tickets for both my husband, Kevin, and I! Kevin is a bit of a reader and he really enjoys Karin Slaughter novels! We made a pact that we could only read her books together, so currently he is in the middle of Faithless, which I read 2 weeks ago (my review – Faithless (Grant County #5) by Karin Slaughter).

The event was held in Uxbridge, which is a small town about 1 hour north of Toronto. I was surprised that the event was held there, but it ended up being a small crowd, which I loved. Blue Heron Books held the event and they were such an amazing host. Tickets were $25 and each ticket comes with a $20 voucher to the book store. It was such an amazing deal!

I brought these books and also got a free bookmark!

I think I’ve mentioned Karin Slaughter to you enough, so I want to spend a minute talking about Alafair Burke. She is the daughter of best selling author, James Lee Burke, and has written 16 books, including a series with Mary Higgins Clark. I really enjoy her books and would highly recommend her newest book The Wife and her Ellie Hatcher series (starting with Dead Connection).

The book talk portion of the evening was lead by Deborah Dundas who is the Book Review Editor for The Toronto Star. She asked both authors lots of insightful questions and then opened the floor up for other questions. Both authors seemed to be at ease and happy to answer questions. Slaughter is super quick on her feet with witty comments.

Some highlights:

  • Slaughter writes in 2 weeks periods at her cabin which is a hour away from her home in Atlanta. I wonder how creepy this cabin is…
  • In Burke’s collaborations with Mary Higgins Clark, before they write a word, they spend a few hours together talking about the different characters. The book is driven more by the characters than the story. This is different than how Burke writes on her own (more story focused).
  • Slaughter’s favourite book of hers is The Good Daughter and her favourite Burke novel is 212 (Ellie Hatcher #3).
  • Burke’s favourite book of hers is The Wife and her favourite Slaughter novel is The Good Daughter.

Alafair Burke (L), Karin Slaughter (centre), and Deborah Dundas (R). 

Next was the book signing! I brought a bunch of books from home that the authors happily signed. The authors were very nice and engaged in conversations during the book signings! Kevin mentioned to Slaughter that he was in the middle of Faithless and he was rooting for Sara and Jeffrey!

My signed copies of The Wife and Pretty Girls!

Kevin and I with Karin Slaughter!

Well that was my first book event and I really enjoyed it! I liked how the event was held in a smaller store since it had a more intimate feeling and there wasn’t a big line when meeting the authors. I loved that part of my ticket went towards buying more books to add to my collection. Great job Blue Heron Books!

Have you been to any book events/author signings? Which author would you love to meet? 

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