HarperCollins Publishers | April 2019 | 336 pgs
The Better Sister, at its core, tells a story about sisterhood, family dynamics and what would one do to protect their loved ones.
Since young, Chloe is a girl who does her work well and dreams big. This competitive streak in her enables her to strive her way up to adulthood. Now a successful editor at Eve magazine, she's also well-known for her feminist movements which has taken the social media by storm. Her older sister, Nicky, is the polar opposite of Chloe. Restless and reckless, Nicky's attention is always fleeting no matter if it's men or jobs. However, she did find someone eventually and got married to him. Unfortunately, their marriage didn't last and it seemed after she gave birth to Ethan, she's back to living her carefree life. Adam, her ex-husband, had been tolerant until Ethan's near death (Nicky's negligence, as everyone assumes) sent him to an edge. With Adam having custody over Ethan, Chloe offered to help looking after young Ethan (this is years before when she becomes an editor) and little do they know they ended up married. Chloe's relationship with Nicky has never been close and with this complicated situation and physical distance it's no wonder they're estranged.
For a while it seems life is peaceful until Adam is found dead at their East Hampton beach house. The police suspects Ethan (now seventeen) given his timeline during his father's death is vague. Under this circumstances, Chloe knew she has to let Nicky back into their lives since she's Ethan biological mother. Plus, Ethan needs help and no matter how much Chloe despise Nicky she is forced to reunite with her; but then are they able to set aside their mistrust and old resentments from their past?
I've enjoyed Alafair Burke's previous novel, The Wife, and I've to say both her prose and the execution are very engaging. There's something about her writing that sucks you in; and she really know her stuff when it comes to legal related matters (click here for more detailed information of her profession). Although this is classified as a domestic thriller and with the mystery surrounding Adam's death, it is actually about the dynamic and the complexity relationship between two estranged sisters. As the story unfolds, you'll begin to compare and question who is the better sister once the family secrets unveil. This book is a slow burn but it is character-driven and intriguing enough to hold my attention till the end.
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