The Daughter's Secret by Eva Holland
|The Daughter's Secret by Eva Holland|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Zoe Morris|
|Summary: Six years after the event, a family are still coming to terms with their daughter's actions. A great debut.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320||Date: April 2015|
|External links: Author's website|
Six years ago, Stephanie and Nate ran away together. She was 15, and he was her geography teacher. Awkward. We pick up the story with Ros, Steph's mother, as she learns that Nate is about to be released from prison, earlier than planned in just 11 days for now. The book takes place over those 11 days leading up to Mr Temperley's release as Ros struggles to break the news to her daughter. She's bound to be devastated by it…isn't she?
This is thrilling story, but it's infuriating too. All the way through I wanted details of what had happened when they ran away but clearly that wasn't something Ros wanted to dwell on, and so the story didn't spend a lot of time there. There are many flashbacks and I kept hoping one of these would take us to Stephanie at that point, but it was invariably somewhere else, some other point in time. It's quite a clever ploy, really, because I was so sure that eventually we would get the juicy details that I kept reading to get there sooner.
Ros and Steph are very similar, but Ros isn't sure she fully understands her daughter. She's never blamed her for what she did, at least not openly, but she doesn't really 'get' it, and that frightens her. Steph is now a university student with a new life in a new city, but Ros still worries. Her art helps distract her, but even that isn't all simple and straightforward. It seems Steph isn't the only one in this family with secrets. I found this a little unnecessary in places, as if Ros was trying to steal her thunder. But, in another way, you could see it as life – things aren't always neat and tidy and sometimes families might have more than one thing to deal with at a time.
This is a first novel, and winner of the Good Housekeeping novel competition. It's a worthy winner with a fresh plot, compelling writing and good character development. However it's not as slick as some other books I've read this year, and is quite wordy and wandering in places. I ended up skimming a few lines on a few pages as I could see it would take a while to get to the point, but on the whole it was an easy and interesting read than kept my attention for the most part. It's not the sort of story that makes me late for work, or that I'll read walking from the car to the office, or while queuing at the post office, but whenever I was having reading time I was keen to pick it up and plough on.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending us a copy to review. To see the other side of the story, I can highly recommend The Headmaster's Wife by Thomas Christopher Greene .
You can read more book reviews or buy The Daughter's Secret by Eva Holland at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Daughter's Secret by Eva Holland at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.