Three sisters, one deadly secret. Deeley is the fake wife of a gay Hollywood hunk. But now her contract is up, and Deeley is left penniless and alone. Devon is married to rugby-hunk Matt, and hosts her own TV cookery show. But behind her buxom facade, Devon is desperately lonely. Maxie is politician’s wife, and fiercely ambitious. So when Deeley threatens to expose their past, just how far will Maxie go to keep it hidden?
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I recently had the opportunity to hear Rebecca Chance speak at the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival in New Orleans, and walked directly to the bookshop right after the panel ended. She was - in a word - hysterical.
Like many, I read Sidney Sheldon's If Tomorrow Comes and fell in love with the idea of a woman taking back the reins of her life after someone had destroyed it - and having delicious sex to boot. Rebecca Chance was described as “Jackie Collins meets Sidney Sheldon in a gay bar in St Tropez.” That description had me fully aware I not only needed to find her books - stat - but that I was about to have one of those magical moments that come to readers far too infrequently: I was going to discover a whole new favourite.
So - Bad Sisters. I'm a huge lover of audiobooks, so I nabbed this one and it's been my companion through chores for the last couple of weeks. By the time I was in the last third, I was doing as much laundry as I could, taking the dog for extra-long walks, and finding any reason at all to keep listening while I went about my day. It's engrossing. It's glitzy and sexy and full of family drama and dark secrets and murder. It's exactly as advertised, and I was completely engrossed.
The narrative seed is a deceptively simple one: three sisters who dragged themselves up from dirt poor nothings mostly by virtue of the eldest's uncompromising drive and skill are now living lives so far removed from their beginnings that it seems like that life belonged to other people. The eldest runs a huge business and is married to an upwardly moving politician, moving through the elite of London society. The middle child is a beautiful and curvy television cooking celebrity, happily married to a footballer who is a wall of muscled handsomeness, also living in London. The youngest is the oft-photographed and genuinely gorgeous girlfriend of a hot television star living in L.A.
But nothing is as it really seems for any of them - behind closed doors, all those relationships aren't quite what they appear to be, and when the youngest's relationship ends and she's forced back to London, the three sisters are once again put into each other's orbit and a deadly secret from their past is threatened. Glamour, cocktails, high fashion, sex, money, political power - nothing is safe when there's a secret that might not remain buried.
The story is so lavishly written - I could feel the textures, taste the drinks, imagine every glint of light on every piece of jewellery - and the depth isn't sacrificed in the slightest. Dipping into the heads of the three sisters in turn, you walk a mile in their stilettos, and even when they make poor choices, your empathy is evoked. By the end, I was so worked up about some of the characters and wondering who might make it out unscathed that I quite literally was walking circles with my dog to draw out my listening time just that little bit longer.
I should also note that the audio performance was absolutely top-notch. I have a few audio performers that, frankly, nudge me toward purchasing an audiobook even when the blurb might only have me mostly sold, and I shall add Lisa Milne Henderson to that short list alongside Jane Entwhistle and Jason Frazier. It's likely no surprise - as an actress, Henderson doesn't just read this book so much as perform it - but more than that, the voices and accents and characters came across brilliantly distinct. Obviously the writing has to be there for the foundation, but in Henderson's tones, the characters burst completely into life. That Lisa Milne Henderson is Rebecca Chance's sister just adds to the joy of it (and, frankly, I can just imagine some of the fun and not-just-a-little-bit-awkward conversations between the two when it was time to go over the scorching sex scenes.)
If you're looking for a new audiobook, and have even a passing interest in a gripping character-driven mystery with high society glamour and glitz, grab this. You won't be sorry.