Harper Collins Canada sent me an ARC copy of The Favourite Daughter by Kaira Rouda to read and review. The bookmail was timely as I was in the mood for a thriller.
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Psychological Thriller
Jane Harris lives in a sparkling home in an oceanfront gated community in Orange County. It’s a place that seems too beautiful to be touched by sadness. But exactly one year ago, Jane’s eldest daughter, Mary, died in a tragic accident, and Jane has been grief-stricken ever since. Lost in a haze of antidepressants, she’s barely even left the house…until now.
As Jane reemerges into the world, it’s clear she’s missed a lot in the last year. Her husband has been working long days – and nights – at the office. Her daughter Betsy seems distant, even secretive. And Jane receives a note warning her that Mary’s death wasn’t an accident. What really happened on the day that Mary died? And who is lying to whom in this family?
The bonds between mothers and daughters, husbands and wives should never be broken. But you never know how far someone will go to keep a family together…
The story is told from the point of view of Jane Harris, a grieving mother and wife. When I began reading the novel, I definitely felt empathy for her – she had lost a daughter and it was evident that her marriage was failing. The story began like so many contemporary novels and I thought, for a moment, that the book had incorrectly been labelled ‘mystery’.
As I read on, however, I realised that not all was as it seemed. The writer adroitly reveals the true nature of Jane’s personalty as we read her thoughts. It is interesting to feel the turnabout towards a character – the Jane you think you know at the beginning of the novel is not the same woman you get to know while turning the pages.
The chapters begin with the countdown of a timeline which adds to the tension in the book and to the reader’s knowledge that an important day is approaching. I found myself thinking of what may happen on that day – Rouda brought me to a point that predictions were made; a point when I believed I knew how the novel would end. And then the unexpected happened. I loved the twist as it turned around my expectations. And then the novel ended with yet another twist!
The Favourite Daughter was an enjoyable read and is more a psychological thriller than a mere mystery. I enjoyed the twists and the unexpected ending – and seeing into the mind of a woman who feels the need to control her family.
I give this novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3 stars.
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019
(This novel was the 42nd in my book pledge for 2019)