Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind.
Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn’s happy small-town family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father—Pikeville’s notorious defense attorney—devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.
Twenty-eight years later, Charlotte has followed in her father’s footsteps to become a lawyer herself—the ideal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again, and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatized, Charlotte is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it’s a case that unleashes the terrible memories she’s spent so long trying to suppress–because the shocking truth about the crime that destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won’t stay buried forever. Packed with twists and turns, brimming with emotion and heart, The Good Daughter is fiction at its most thrilling.
This is a story is about a family trauma. It’s about living, and suffering, through the decisions made by your parents and how those decisions ultimately shape who you are as a person. I have read Karin Slaughter before. I remember REALLY enjoying her work and I was looking forward to reading this story. Though I wasn’t disappointed in her creative approach to a story line that has been done before, (let’s be honest, is there a premise that HASN’T been done before?), I was a bit disappointed in the way she mapped it out
What I liked: The characters were unique. The father was lovable but flighty. He was super focused on his career and often put his career ahead of his family. Though that doesn’t sound like a positive trait, it was obvious that he loved his family and constantly challenged them and their intellect through his interactions with them and I admired his compassion for people, even though I thought it was a bit idealistic and naive at times.
Mom was a genius. She could have easily worked for NASA or some super brainy place like that but she chose love over her ambitions. Though I think she was a bit bitter and disappointed by her life choices, overall, she made it work for her family. I think, sometimes, super brainy people are perceived as cold and unfeeling when I feel like the opposite is true, in most cases. I think super brainy people feel just as much as us less-than intelligent human beings do, they are just better at controlling who is allowed to see that side of them.
The oldest daughter, Samantha, is nearly as intelligent as her mother but she tends to be a bit more human than her mother. She suffered tremendous physical trauma and I liked her determination to move past it and work on getting her body back up to functioning level. She also didn’t allow her trauma to define her and she worked very hard to go on to become a very successful lawyer and even opened her heart to satisfying relationship. I didn’t, however, understand her reluctance to have a relationship with her younger sister, Charlotte, considering everything she suffered through was done to save her.
Charlotte, the youngest daughter, suffered tremendous mental (and some physical) trauma as well. However, Charlotte’s method of dealing with the trauma was to put it in a box and never open it. Her psyche catches up her and before long, she has no choice but to look in that box and deal with the ugly contents. She full of sarcasm and grit and I quite liked her though ultimately her coping mechanisms were self-destructive and nearly destroyed her life. I could understand Charlotte’s reluctance to reach out to Samantha and build that sisterly relationship with her because Charlotte felt guilty for running and not staying behind to help Samantha though she knew, logically, it wouldn’t have done any good.
I’m also on the fence on how the author approached telling this story. It opens with the trauma, then fast forwards to the sister’s future lives before circling back around to re-address the trauma from their perspective. But it wasn’t really that, either, that bothered me. It was the re-telling of the trauma as it really happened. I couldn’t quite figure out why she approached the story this way. Was it to showcase the reluctance the sisters had with remembering what really happened? It felt a little deceiving to me though I rather liked having to readjust my opinion on the characters not once, but twice, before the story ended.
What I didn’t like: The think the author did such a good job of developing the sisters as interesting characters the she couldn’t quite decide which story she wanted to tell so she told both. I don’t have a problem head hopping, if it’s done right, but the author spent just a large chunk of the story following one sister that I felt I couldn’t fully appreciate either story. I think if she flipped between the two chapter by chapter instead of sections at a time, I might have enjoyed it more. In fact, she has so much material in this story she could have easily separated this into series circling the same trauma but told from multiple points of view. And it looks like she plans on writing more about the sisters at some point as she lists the book as “book one,” so it looks she intends to follow these sisters around again but perhaps incorporating a different story.
Overall, it was a good story, I just felt like she was condensing a lot of good veins of this story into one artery and it felt a bit clogged at times. I would have given it five stars if it hadn’t been so densely packed with very good multiple story lines in one story. Honestly, that’s a good problem to have for a writer.
What were your thoughts?
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