Review: Stepsisters by Rupert James

Stepsisters by Rupert James
Release Date: August 14, 2012
Publisher: Cleis Press
Pages: 494
Source: book provided by the publisher for review

Hell hath no fury like a stepsister scorned . . . Elizabeth Miller has brains, a trust fund and an unreliable fiancé. Rachel Hope is a young aspiring actress: beautiful, talented, seemingly sweet. Under normal circumstances they would never have met, but their parents’ marriage makes them reluctant siblings. The girls are about to discover they have another thing in common — they share the same taste in men . . . After a devastating betrayal rips their new family apart, the two women are no longer sisters, no longer even speaking. Now Rachel is on the verge of the fame she’s always craved. Elizabeth has become a gossip columnist, one who knows far too many secrets about Rachel’s past. And she’s hell-bent on getting her revenge.


Review: I’m not a big reader of “chick lit” – women’s books without romance and sex – but I within a few pages of Stepsisters, I was hooked. I couldn’t tell you exactly why except that the idea of two lonely women becoming sisters, not only by marriage but by their own ideals, then being ripped apart by the misguided actions of one of them kept me intrigued.

The story begins with Elizabeth learning of her father’s impending marriage. Their family is so fractured that she had no idea he was even dating someone let alone getting ready to marry her. Elizabeth is slightly self-centered, worried that her father’s marriage will over-shadow her own impending wedding. I can forgive her this because she is constantly chastising herself for thinking in this direction, trying to change her train of thoughts back to happiness for those around her.

Rachel was raised by her single, somewhat wild and eccentric, mother. She dreams of becoming a true actress and has the naturally beautiful looks that turn heads whenever she walks into a room. Rachel knows she’s beautiful but as a child was plain and called “horse face” so she’s learned to use her looks to her advantage. But she also has a brain which she has also learned to use to her advantage.

When Elizabeth and Rachel learn of a shared love of literature (though for Rachel it’s through movies, not books), they latch on to each other. However, some of the other people in their lives have the idea to use the stepsister’s relationship to their advantage – and this is where things get sticky.

At this point, I can’t really say anything else without giving the plot away – and this is something I just don’t want to do with this book. You need to read it yourself. There are ups and there are downs. I felt my heart ache for both Elizabeth and Rachel, and I also felt each was a b*tch at one time or another. I also felt true happiness when they were at their sisterly best.

The secondary characters are people you might find in your own life. Some are users, who stay around as long as you can provide them with whatever they need or want at the time. Others are shallow and think only of themselves. A couple are drug addicts, and a few have the heart of a true friend but somehow fade away during the fracas of life.

Favorite Quote:  “…Come on, please. I’m having such a good time, I don’t want to go home. Anyway, we’re celebrating!”

“Yes. Your role. Congratulations.”

“Oh, that.” Rachel drained her glass. “I wasn’t thinking about that.”

“Then what?”

Rachel looked at Elizabeth, her eyes sparkling. “The fact that we like each other. Not because we have to. Not just to please our parents. But because we really do. Don’t we?”

“We do,” said Elizabeth, feeling an unexpected lightness of heart.