The Favorite Daughter
By: Kaira Rouda
Publisher: Graydon House
Publication Date: 5/21/2019
My Rating: 5 Stars + Q&A with the Author 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…
Crazy GOOD! Deliciously DARK and WICKED!
I LOVED THE FAVORITE DAUGHTER! My Top Books of 2019. . If you loved Best Day Ever Top Top Books of 2017, character, Paul Strom—you will devour, THE FAVORITE DAUGHTER. Jane Harris is a character you will never forget.
With dark humor and a deliciously evil protagonist, Kaira delivers a powerhouse psychological thriller. Wow, she can get inside their disturbed self-absorbed, sick minds.
Set in an upscale, exclusive oceanfront gated Southern California community, (The Cove); readers meet Jane and David Harris. They are the parents of two daughters: Mary and Betsy. Only one year apart.
Their oldest daughter, Mary, died in a tragic accident (we gradually learn the events leading up the accident). Jane has been devastated by the events and barely left the house, but she plans a comeback.
David has planned a memorial service for Mary and Betsy the younger daughter is about to graduate high school. Mary is The Favorite Daughter (but why)? She was beautiful and smart, unlike Betsy.
But, David and Betsy seem to have moved on past the grief. However, Jane, of course, thinks she is the best mom, wife, and they have the perfect family. They need and must present a united front. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Jane is upset that her puppets are not behaving the way they should. She loves to bring out the Southern Belle act, after all, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Her mom had warned her about things.
Betsy does not live up to Jane's standards, nor does her husband. After all, they are lucky to be in her presence. She is the lead actor in the family. Of course, every mom is.
Slowly we learn of Jane's insecurities. Her jealousy. The author keeps readers in suspense as to what happened to Mary.
Told from the first-person narrative (Jane), we soon learn she is not as she appears. Talk about a cold-blooded narcissist. We hear every thought and action. She does not like Elizabeth nor David's assistant Kylie (you must read the book to find out about these characters).
Tension mounts as we get a day by day play building up to the memorial service and the graduation. We start out feeling sorry for the grieving mom, but soon the tables are turned, and you will despise her behavior. She is delusional.
But why is Jane receiving a note, saying the accidental death may not have been an accident?
"The thing about the truth is you can see it when it's revealed. Even if it's been in front of you all along, even if you never, ever, wanted to see it."
Jane is quite the actress. She thinks she is beautiful and captivating. She is always planning and scheming. She loves revenge, and it is best served, cold.
She has a plan in motion. The cast of characters have been assembled and she is waiting for the fun to begin. But things do not go as she planned.
Talking about unreliable narrators! From Paul Strom (Best Day Ever) and Jane Harris (The Favorite Daughter)- characters obsessed with perception as the rock star author, Kaira references.
"Everything they show to the world is carefully calculated, to portray perfection, even in their marriages, even when their lives may be falling apart. . .. Failure is unacceptable. Betrayal will not be tolerated. They expect unflinching loyalty and subservience. "
Yes, Kaira Rouda, you have developed "superpowers" when it comes to narcissistic chilling characters. Keep them coming!
PS I really enjoyed Jane's statistics and the Epilogue!
Kaira, you rock! Your humor is "dynamite." I have never laughed so hard. The "queen" of narcissistic personality disorders. I adore her humor and ability to get into the minds of these self-centered, evil, manipulative, narcissistic and unreliable characters. No one does it better.
If you are looking for a highly entertaining well written psychological suspense thriller, this is it!
Look for my Q&A Elevator Ride with Kaira Rouda coming May 21! You are going to enjoy.
A special thank you to Graydon House and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy.
"[E]xceptional psychological thriller from Rouda. . . Suspense fans will be amply rewarded. —Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) POPSUGAR Best Book of Spring 2019 “Addictive, suspenseful and full of dark secrets.” — Michelle Campbell, author of It's Always the Husband "My favorite of Kaira Rouda's books so far. I took it down in two afternoons. Compulsively readable and deeply satisfying psychological suspense." —Christina Alger, USA TODAY bestselling author of The Banker's Wife "A chilling glimpse behind the façade of the perfect family that leaves you wanting more." —Liv Constantine, author of the national bestseller The Last Mrs. Parrish "Intense, creepy, and classic Rouda. A chilling story told so well. DON'T MISS IT! —J. T. Ellison, New York Times bestselling author "A smart, wickedly plotted psychological thriller brimming with dark surprises...At the top of her game, Rouda and The Favorite Daughter will have you flying through the pages deep into the night." —Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author "With wry humor and remarkable insight, The Favorite Daughter will have you tearing through the pages to reach its oh-so-satisfying conclusion." —Robyn Harding, internationally bestselling author of Her Pretty Face "A roller coaster of a ride that will have you twisting and turning. Just when you think you know what happens, the plot pivots once more--leaving you guessing until the very end!" —Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke, bestselling authors "Alfred Hitchcock meets Patricia Highsmith in this masterful novel of psychological suspense. Quietly horrifying, tightly wound and diabolical, The Favorite Daughter is a stunning page-turner." —A. J. Banner, USA TODAY and #1 Amazon bestselling author "Smart, surprising, and 100% satisfying." —Kimberly Belle, nationally bestselling author "Kaira Rouda knocks another thriller one out of the park. Suspense at its finest." —A. F. Brady, bestselling author of Once a Liar "A razor-sharp nail-biter to the very end." —David Bell, USA bestselling author "Right up my dark, twisty alley. A beguiling narrative and a deliciously creepy perspective." —Wendy Corsi Staub, New York Times bestselling author
Best Day Ever
Named one of POPSUGAR's 25 Books to Read This Fall
"Best Day Ever could be the best thriller of the year." -Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author
"Had the best day ever reading Best Day Ever. Fabulous book" -B. A. Paris, New York Times bestselling author "Chilling, satisfying suspense...It will cost you sleep as you race through the pages." -Good Housekeeping "Darkly funny, scandalous, and utterly satisfying." -Kirkus Reviews "A breath of fresh air. You'll whip through the pages. Highly entertaining and truly surprising!" -Kate Moretti, New York Times bestselling author "A tensely written, shocking book that will hold readers on the edge of their seats to the very last page." -Publishers Weekly "Clever and disturbing, Best Day Ever will keep you biting your nails and flipping the pages." -Kimberly Belle, author of the Marriage Lie "Fast-paced, dark and slightly disturbing, you won't be able to put this book down until its jaw-dropping ending. Absolutely brilliant!" -Kerry Lonsdale, Wall Street Journal bestselling author
A Q & A With the Author
From the Author
I’m delighted to be able to say I’m a USA Today bestselling author. My books have won several Indie Excellence Awards, USA Book Awards, the Reader’s Choice Awards and honorable mention in the Writer’s Digest International Book Awards. I'm thrilled to be with Graydon House Books, a new HarperCollins/Harlequin imprint. Best Day Ever is another look behind the closed doors of seemingly perfect lives. A little darker, domestic suspense in the vein of All the Difference. In May, my next novel, THE FAVORITE DAUGHTER, arrives. I hope you'll give it a read. Enjoy!
Kaira Rouda lives in Southern California with her family and is at work on her next novel. Connect with her on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest: @KairaRouda; and on Facebook at Kaira Rouda Books. Read More