Book Review: The Favourite Daughter by Kaira Rouda

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…

My thoughts:

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)

12 thoughts on “Book Review: The Favourite Daughter by Kaira Rouda

  1. You do a great job reviewing books: you give enough of a plot summary to make clear what the book is about without sharing too much, and you give good insight without giving away plot points as well…nice review!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love your book reviews because you write succinctly, you give is plot without spoilers, you can find strengths and flaws
    And you put just enough of you in there that makes it warm –
    And I know I have told you before that i like your reviews but was reading this one and was only going to “like” (off to bed in a few) but had to come in and say this –
    — oh and the twist at the end sounds interesting – and Jane sounds like she might have had something to do with the mishap
    Lastly –
    Congrats on 42 so far!!


    1. Thank you for this Yvette and taking the time to comment instead of just pressing like. I am trying to make my reviews stick out from all the ones available out there and your comment lets me know that I am on my way 😀
      As for the book – I love a twisty ending and this one delivers!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ok – and sorry if I say it a few times – but this is also personal because there is a writer I “cannot” read right now because she loses me and she is all over the place
        – I wanted to support a current project she is working on but installment #2 was long, and I stopped 3/4 way thru (pained) and did not press like
        And you don’t have to offer advice – but I really
        Do not know how to speak up and seriously C – cannot find anything good to say –
        I have noticed that not everyone is open to feedback – and heck – we can all get defensive
        – but my advice for that author is to slow down – and maybe even pause and write some flash fiction for three months. That was the best thing I ever did for my writing – for two years I wrote with “what pegman saw” and “FF”
        (Soon I will be joining carrot ranch writers weekly flash)
        Anyhow – after that and then coming to a few of your posts I sighed relief

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Thanks – and my plan right now is time – just sit back – let it breathe – keep it light – (and feeling better about it already – sometimes a little perspective shows much – like how minor this is – ha) and so maybe months later a rapport will be developed to where the feedback would be received – ☺️


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