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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

#ATBR2019 Review: The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda @KairaRouda @harlequinbooks @jessmapreviews

The Favorite Daughter 
by Kaira Rouda 

Publisher: Graydon House
Publish Date: May 21, 2019
384 Pages
Genre: Thriller

From the author of Best Day Ever, another gripping novel of psychological suspense set in an upscale Southern California community, for fans of B.A. Paris and Shari Lapena. The perfect home. The perfect family. The perfect lie. 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 oldest daughter, Mary, died in a tragic accident and Jane has been grief-stricken ever since. Lost in a haze of anti-depressants, she's barely even left the house. Now that's all about to change.It's time for Jane to reclaim her life and her family. Jane's husband, David, has planned a memorial service for Mary and three days later, their youngest daughter, Betsy, graduates high school. Yet as Jane reemerges into the world, it's clear her family has changed without her. Her husband has been working long days--and nights--at the office. Her daughter seems distant, even secretive. And her beloved Mary was always such a good girl--dutiful and loving. But does someone know more about Mary, and about her last day, than they've revealed?The bonds between mothers and daughters, and husbands and wives should never be broken. But you never know how far someone will go to keep a family together...

My Review:

"Anger is so bad for your health: Your own and your target's."

First Paul from Best Day Ever and now Jane - unreliable, narcissistic protagonists that are in serious need of some mental help. What I like about Rouda's writing is you stay consistently in these sociopaths heads so you get the full on force of their mental state and their thought process as they transverse life in their own closed in bubble.

Jane is quite the woman, wife, mother and boy does she not like it when things don't go her way.  But is it her or the people around her? Her eldest daughter's death has taken a toll on her family.  Her only daughter left and even her husband of 20 years are distant.  And now there are hints that her daughter's death may not have been the tragic accident they thought.

I knew exactly where this book was going to go but I wanted to see exactly how it got there.  Jane is quite a character and I certainly would not want to be on her bad side. Ever. Personally, I think she's freakin' genius.  True, she's made some mistakes, but I couldn't help but have half of my  mouth go up in a smile when seeing just how she goes about punishing those who dare to try and take anything away from her.  Bitch be crazy and I am here for every last minute of it.

I wonder what new, crazy character Rouda will bring to us in her next book. And keep in mind, that while things are pretty predictable in this read, it is the journey that makes it so much fun.  It was perfect for the mood I was in.


Jessica's Review:

The newest from Kaira Rouda, THE FAVORITE DAUGHTER is about a grieving mother a year after the death of her eldest daughter, Mary. As someone with a sibling, you always like to think your parents don't play favorites, but that's not always the case. Jane and David have two daughters, Mary and Betsy. Mary was the one that excelled at everything she did, while Betsy falls somewhere in the middle. One fateful day only Cash, their dog, came home from a hike with Mary. Days later they find out she fell from a cliff into the ocean - deemed an unfortunate accident.

It's coming up on the anniversary of the accident and David is wanting to have a celebration of life ceremony for the community. Jane sees this as her "coming out" party of sorts. Her time to show everyone that isn't hiding in her home, living on pills, and still deep in the grieving process. She wants to be the perfect family once again. A wrench is thrown into her plan when she finds out her husband's infidelity and how blatantly he's flaunting it. How had she missed this before? Well, he'll pay for that, she guarantees it. Then her remaining daughter, Betsy, is keeping a secret about what really happened the day Mary fell to her death. 

I enjoyed how Jane was acting as the narrator and how it felt like she was telling us a story. There were times where she made comments like you would when you were having a conversation with someone. We stay solely in her perspective for the entirety of the book, and we get to see how her mental state progresses through the book. Is she losing grip of reality? Is she finally out her pill-induced haze and seeing clearly for the first time? I had times where I liked her and then were I hated her. The definition of a crazy helicopter mom but you felt for her considering what she was still dealing with. 

I really enjoyed the little twists that popped up throughout the book and I had some guesses on the ending but Rouda threw in a red herring of sorts to throw the reader off. Plenty of drama, strained relationships, doubting characters, and some suspense kept me flipping through this one in two sittings! If you're a fan of Rouda, then this will be a no-brainer. I would highly recommend this one and you should add it to your summer TBR.

4 Stars.

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