The Good Daughter: can you like and dislike something at the same time this much?

The Good daughter book review

What is this about?: Charlie is witness to a school shooting, that brings her past – and her sister Sam – crashing back into her life.

What else is this about?: Maybe this should read what else I wish this was about, because I certainly didn’t get enough of the family dynamic I wanted in this one

Blurb

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, and Charlie 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—Charlie 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

Stars: 2/5

When I read the short story preceding this book I thought I had found a wonderful new series, but now I am torn.

Far from the romantic, solid relationship in the short story, The Good Daughter opens up with Charlie gone to retrieve her phone from a one-night stand she bitterly regrets – even 9 months separated from her husband Ben, she longs for him. Understandable.

I can’t help thinking of everything that is piled on Charlie after this one-night stand: she goes to retrieve her phone from the guy, Huck, at school where he is a teacher. There, she and he get caught up in a school shooting, she proceeds to get hurt by violent cops, gets her father to take the case, and he suffers for that too. Don’t get me started on the reveal of who Huck is, and what that means for Charlie.

Then the book reveals something I am seriously annoyed by – Charlie loves her husband, but 9 months after he moves out, and with no hope of a reconciliation AND not to mention the fact that he’s sleeping with a 26 year old in his office, she gets all of the above dumped on her from the one act of sleeping with someone.

Then she proceeds to wallow for a good two thirds of the book maybe? About how much she longs for him, how wonderful he is, how she misses everything about him to the point that after actually LOVING their relationship in the short story, I cannot stand Saint Ben.

And it’s all her fault mind you – according to her father for instance, she should try not being right all the time. WTH am I supposed to do with that? Where’s Ben’s fault in all this?

Dear God almighty, it was awful. Even the actual case was forgotten in her wallowing and the nonsense that got piled on her.

The reason for their break-up? The issues she had? All revealed at the end of the book, which by no means excused what I had to wade through in the beginning of the book to get to the actual plot. And, not to mention the scene between husband and wife where she tells him what she went through as a kid when two men came to their house – all described up there in the blurb – robbed from these characters because her father tells Ben the truth, without telling her that he’s told her husband something that isn’t his to tell.

This book only lifts up when Sam comes into the story, and she is an infinitely better character than Charlie, or rather she makes Charlie better – bound by their experiences, and everything that came after there’s a love there that never died even though they haven’t talked for years.

This story – this relationship should have been the crux of the book around which Charlie was revolving – this relationships shows her to be strong, wilfull, intelligent, even mean and bitter – and it’s a thing to behold. Same for Sam – a very controlled woman, she has to be because the attack left her with a lifetime of issues she will always have to deal with – and she does it with control. She comes back to her home town, to Charlie where she has none, but she stays for herself, Charlie and even their father.

I would gladly read anything with these two women at its core.

There’s a malignant, disturbing case that only gets the full attention of this book in the last third or more of the book maybe? I will slay Slaughter can weave a mystery wonderfully, and the ending left  me shocked in how it all came together.

But man, I just cannot with the pile-up on Charlie, while St Ben barely got anything. There’s a whole lot I disliked in this book and I don’t know if I’ll return to Slaughter’s work after this.

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