Posted in Books I have read

Dear Daughter – Elizabeth Little

Crime Fiction 4*'s
Crime Fiction

Janie Jackson has been released from prison on a technicality after spending ten years locked up for her mother’s murder Her mother’s murder was committed when Janie was just seventeen, a socialite, spoilt rich girl whose reason for living was to feel superior to everyone around her and now released from prison she is determined to find the truth, but Janie can’t really remember anything excepts snippets from that night. Ever resourceful she uses these fragments of information to carry out extensive research while in prison and by the time she is released thanks to her faithful lawyer Noah she has a plan.

I’m sure there are those for whom getting out of prison is a whole, like, Beethoven’s Ninth sort of thing. Rousing, joyous, accompanied by a choir. But for me – for most of us, I’d guess – it was more like Beethoven’s Fifth. We’re too busy being taken aback by the sheer size and scope of things to do anything but lose our minds a little, like the first time you go to a grocery store and realize there’s more than one kind of Wheat Thin.

Told in the main part by Janie, a girl with a wicked turn of phrase but not someone I would choose as a friend, we visit a small town in America, Ardelle, which Janie is sure will provide some answers to Marilyn’s life before she died. Here she meets a bunch of very strange characters including a policeman and bunch of very odd women who are all involved in putting on a historical event. Janie has to keep her cover, the media are busily trying to track her down and Trace her chief hater and prolific blogger is also on her trail.

There are excerpts from interviews, texts to her lawyer Noah and letters which slice through Janie’s sarcastic dialogue. To put it bluntly if you have to like the protagonist in a book, Dear Daughter is probably not the book for you, however I could amuse myself by sniggering at some of her comments and although at times I felt occasionally felt some sympathy for her, those moments were fleeting.

His arms were lean and muscled and covered in a thicket of tattoos he’d probably copied from a mixed-martial-arts magazine.

She was just thin enough to let you know she gave a shit, like she probably shaved her bush every once in a while, but she wasn’t so thin that she could be exacting about things like coming during sex. She was a lazy man’s woman. A rainy day in the dark kind of woman.

This is a reasonably fast paced plot with all sorts of clues to Marion’s origins barely covered due to the loose-lipped residents of the small town which has a long memory. I was keen to know more and the pages turned faster and faster as Janie discovered more about her mother’s past, but I did wonder more than once how this was going to help her discover what happened on the night of the murder. The reveal was almost an understatement until bang we were at the finish line and I was sad to say goodbye to Janie.

I’d like to thank the publishers Random House UK for allowing me to read this startling novel in return for this honest review. Dear Daughter was published on 14 August 2014


A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

22 thoughts on “Dear Daughter – Elizabeth Little

  1. I read the first few pages when I downloaded it and her voice is very distinctive, to say the least. I’m sure when I get used to it I’ll whiz through the book but, yeah, she sounded like a bit of a brat tbh. Not that that’s a bad thing in a book (just real life!)


  2. Cleo – Janie certainly sounds like the kind of protagonist you can be interested in even if you don’t think she’s a particularly appealing person. And the premise does sound interesting. I like the wit in the snippets you’ve shared too. I’ve been hearing a lot about this one, and your post is making me think I ought to give it a go.


    1. I enjoyed the book, it is quite a different type of read and I don’t have an issue with a less than likeable protagonist, some of the comments she makes definitely made me smile. I think it is worth giving this one a go.


  3. I have this on my library list and wishlist, but I’m one of those particular readers who really need to empathize or like a main character in order to enjoy the story fully. I might still read it, but your review has made me think twice about it. Thanks for the honest reivew.


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