Book Review: Dear Daughter – Elizabeth Little

Dear Daughter coverTitle: Dear Daughter
Author: Elizabeth Little
ISBN: 9780670016389
Pages: 384
Release Date: July 31, 2014
Publisher: Viking
Genre:  Suspense/Thriller
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 out of 5


Janie Jenkins had everything: fame without having to earn it, money, men—but she lost it all in one fateful night, when she found the brutally murdered body of her mother in their home. Ten years later, Janie is out of prison on a technicality after being convicted for her mother’s murder . Everyone knows she’s guilty, that is, except Janie’s lawyer. Janie herself? Well, her memory of the night is hazy and she doesn’t quite remember whether she’s innocent or guilty. Determined to figure out what really happened to her mother, Janie embarks on a wild goose chase, running from the press, to find a murderer and clear her name—or point the finger at herself once and for all.

Snapshot Review:

A thriller that focuses much more on entertainment than believability, Dear Daughter features a smart and sharp main character and a mystery that will keep you engaged from beginning to end.

Full Review:

I don’t often read books set in the world of the rich and famous (celebrity culture’s not so much my thing), but Dear Daughter certainly piqued my interest. A murder mystery with a socialite fallen from grace at its center? Okay, I’ll give that a try, I thought to myself. And I’m glad I did because I enjoyed every second I spent with this book.

Let’s start with one caveat: Dear Daughter is in no way believable. From the randomness of Janie’s search to the theatrical nature of what she goes through to Janie not really being realistic as a former prison denizen, this book is full of things you could point at and say, “There is no way that would happen in real life.” But that’s not the point of this novel; it’s written to be funny, entertaining, and gripping, not to be realistic. And it excels so well at all three of those things that it’s easy to let go and just let this book sweep you away. If you have trouble doing that, well, Dear Daughter may not be the book for you.

Janie is a real treat in Dear Daughter, and that’s not meant sarcastically. She’s got this amazing deadpan wit at which readers will find themselves laughing out loud. She’s a really well-written character, and it’s difficult to believe she resides only on the pages of a novel. She’s absolutely someone you wish existed in real life, perhaps that you could have brunch with every weekend. Janie is absolutely what makes this book worth reading.

The plot of Dear Daughter is interesting, if implausible at times. Honestly, though, as I’ve said before, in this case, it doesn’t matter. Sometimes I want to be swept away by a book rather than to quibble about whether it’s realistic, and this book absolutely served that purpose for me. I was enthralled, determined to discover who killed Janie’s mother and why, and I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed for a second with this fun and entertaining thriller.

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