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A breathtaking memoir about two sisters and a high-profile case: Nikki Addimando, incarcerated for killing her longtime abuser; and the author, Michelle Horton, left in the devastating fall-out to raise Nikki's young children and to battle the criminal justice system.

In September 2017, a knock on the door upends Michelle Horton’s life: she learns that her sister has just shot her partner and is now in jail. Stunned to find herself in a situation she'd only ever encountered on TV or in the news, Michelle rearranges her life to raise Nikki's two young children alongside her own son. Determined to reunite her sister with her kids, Michelle launches a fight to bring Nikki home, squaring off against a criminal justice system designed to punish the entire family.

During the investigation that follows, Michelle is shocked to learn that Nikki had been hiding horrific abuse for years. She realizes that in order to understand the present, she must excavate the past. She retraces their childhood, searching for clues to explain how so many people could have been blind to her sister's dangerous situation. Dear Sister is a profound, intimate story about not just surviving trauma, but turning it into hard-won wisdom. It is a story of resilience and the unbreakable bond of family.


"Incendiary...a powerful testament to the tenacity of sisterly bonds, a scathing indictment of the legal landscape for abused women, and a wrenching exploration of the shame that allows abuse to remain hidden. This is difficult to forget.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Essential… this strong narrative points to the realities of the United States’ criminal justice system and how it can fail the most vulnerable.” —Library Journal (starred review)
“Unflinching, vulnerable and bold… a story of family resilience, infinite love, friends, and communities …It’s a story you won’t forget. It is a story that matters because it’s more than Nikki’s story.”
  —The New York Journal of Books
Dear Sister stands alongside both Bowdler’s memoir Is Rape a Crime?and Chanel Miller’s bestselling 2019 Know My Name. It is a testament to Horton’s command as a writer that we do not look away. ” —Southern Review of Books
“This deeply felt and beautifully written book—this tale of tragedy and love, cruelty and community—will stay with me long after Nikki comes home and these two amazing sisters and their children can heal. It will stay with me, inspire me, and fuel my commitment to women, because as little Ben says at the end of the book, “It’s not over until we help all the other mommies who defended themselves get free.”
  —Elizabeth Lesser, Cofounder of Omega Institute and author of New York Times bestseller Broken Open
“A gripping account of one woman’s ongoing journey through hell—the inferno of an abusive relationship that ended with a bullet; the Hades of a legal system more determined to punish than to understand; and the parallel torment for those who love her, fight for her, and admirably endure.”
  —Scott Turow, New York Times bestselling author of Presumed Innocent
"The sheer scale of what Michelle Horton has done — in this book, in her life, in telling her sister’s story and her own, in her very survival — will leave you awestruck. I didn’t read this book, I swallowed it. It will make you feel despair, rage, horror, and ultimately reverence and adoration. Hopefully, it will make you stand up and take notice of all we get wrong with survivors like Nikki Addimando. I don’t think anyone will read this book and not want to take to the streets and demand we do better. I know I’ll be out there. In a word, this book is miraculous.” —Rachel Louise Snyder, author of No Visible Bruises and Women We Buried, Women We Burned
“The most difficult circumstances have the power to break open our hearts and bring our spirit fully alive. In this compelling, intimate and beautifully written memoir, we touch on the true meaning of healing and grace.”
  —Tara Brach, internationally bestselling author of Radical Acceptance
"A devastating and heart-breaking account which sheds light on all of the secrets, the silences, the unnecessary opprobrium, and the injustice that still surround battered women in our society today."  —Sheila Kohler, author of Once We Were Sisters
“A searing read. The next frontier in preventing abuse against women is shining a spotlight on the cruelty and ignorance with which our courts treat victims of abuse, particularly those who defend themselves against violent men. Dear Sister is an important and painful story, beautifully told.”
  —Leslie Morgan Steiner, New York Times bestselling author of Crazy Love
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