“My entire life, every single memory, is an accumulation of moments, words I looked up in a heavy encyclopedia. I know now that I was attempting to make sense out of what no child can understand; an attempt to fill in blanks that adults leave for us, resulting in a contorted image of just about everything around me.”
Dahlia Waller spent the first years of her life never knowing where she and her mother, Memphis, would end up from one day to the next. Now an adult, Dahlia returns to her mom’s home in Texas. A discovery in the woods, an unsettling medical condition and the revelation that her erratic mother owns a sprawling farm lead Dahlia to begin asking questions.
Memphis decides that “what is done in the dark must be brought to the light.” So she begins to tell Dahlia a story …
In good and bad ways, this book made my head spin. Overall, though, I also found it to be bit predictable. From the onset, the answer to the question on the back of the book – “What if you were the worst thing your mother ever did?” – seemed blatantly obvious. Thankfully, Alexandra Burt threw in just enough unexpected twists and turns to keep me guessing as to the circumstances of what took place over the years and how matters would resolve themselves.
I found the Jane Doe subplot to be kind of distracting, but it was important because it was one of the factors that triggered Dahlia’s curiosity regarding her own past. It also meant she was seeing a lot of her childhood-friend-turned-cop Bobby. And her history with him adds just a whole ‘nother layer of “what the … ?”
From the moment Dahlia started working at the Lark Inn, red flags should have popped up right and left. However, I was more interested to see how Dahlia and Memphis’ history would develop, so I only had a vague idea of how the Jane Doe situation would play itself out. I found myself forgetting about Jane Doe from time to time, and when mentions of her would pop up again I really didn’t care all that much about who she was and how she wound up in Aurora.
All in all, I thought the writing was pretty solid, and I had a hard time putting this book down. I get that multiple-POVs are kind of the thing right now, especially in the suspense-thriller genre – but I wish the author would have pumped the brakes just a bit on using that technique. Talk about whiplash.
I gave this one 3.5 stars.
I received an ARC from the publisher through a Goodreads giveaway, in exchange for an honest review.
“The Good Daughter” will be available Feb. 7, 2017, from The Berkley Publishing Group/Penguin Random House.
About the author
She currently lives in Central Texas with her husband, her daughter, and two Chocolate Labrador Retrievers. One day she wants to live on a farm and offer old arthritic dogs a comfy couch to live out their lives. She wouldn’t mind a few rescue goats, chickens, and cats. The more the merrier.
She is a member of Sisters In Crime, a nationwide network of women crime writers. She is currently working on her third novel.
“Remember Mia” is her first novel. Her second novel, “The Good Daughter,” will be available in February 2017.