Reviewing Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little

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I picked up this book because of the cover (which I love) and the tag line (which I also love). I bought the book because of the blurb. It sounds like a brilliant crime story with a very simple premise – did the daughter murder her mother?

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The story is told in the viewpoint of the daughter, socialite Jane Jenkins, who was convicted of murdering her mother at 16 and spent 10 years in prison before her case, and many others, were overturned because of contaminated DNA evidence. Now out of prison she wants to finds out exactly what happened – did she murder her mother? She and her mother weren’t close and neither of them were particularly fond of each other but she remembers things from that evening which suggest someone else involved.

I am a reading commuter – when I am on a train on the way to work or on the way home from work, I read. At home I rarely do but with this book there was no distinction between reading on the train and reading on my sofa, in the car (I wasn’t the driver), in the bath….

You get the idea. I just wanted to finish it. Because it is that good.

The truth about what happened is linked with the truth about her mother and Dear Daughter follows Jane as she travels across America (hiding from the press as much as possible along the way) to a small town where her mother may have possibly lived. I don’t want to give anything more than that away so I will be very wishy-washy. Her socialite mother kept secrets from everyone and as Jane starts to unravel them she learns a lot about what made her mother the woman she was. Throughout the novel the tension was built all ready for the denouement but when it happened I had already guessed most of it. As the whole book had completely thrown me I had expected my guess to also be completely wrong – but it wasn’t. And that was slightly disappointing. However what I didn’t guess shocked me in that brilliant way clever authors have.

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I have read reviews of this book and so many people didn’t like Jane and that decreased their enjoyment of the book. Jane is rude, selfish, spoilt, and sometimes her inner thoughts made you want to punch her. I also don’t understand her. But because of all of this I love her. She has to be one of the most engaging, normal protagonists I have come across in a long time and I miss her and her rudeness.

I urge you all to read this book. It’s good, really good.

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