Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Review: Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little (audio)

Title: Dear Daughter    
Author: Elizabeth Little   
Narrator: Tony Daniels & Bonnie Dennison  
Published: July 2014, Penguin Audio 
Length: 10 hours  
Source: Publisher  

Former "It Girl" Janie Jenkins is acerbic, whip smart, and fresh out of prison. Ten years ago, at the height of her glamour and fame, she was incarcerated for the murder of her mother, a philanthropist best known for her string of rich husbands. Now, released on a technicality, Janie chops off her trademark hair, determined to chase down the one lead she has about her mother's killer. The only problem? Janie doesn't know if she's the one she's looking for.

In an isolated South Dakota town whose secrets rival Janie's own, with the unwitting help of the locals, she pieces together a shocking picture of her mother's supposedly pristine past. On the run from the press, the police, and possibly even a murderer, Janie is forced to choose between the anonymity she craves and the truth she so desperately needs.

My thoughts: Lately, I've found myself gravitating towards thrillers. So, of course when I was given the opportunity to review Elizabeth Little's debut novel, Dear Daughter, I jumped at it, especially since it was in audio form.

I loved that Janie/Rebecca is not the most likeable character - in fact, most of the time she is downright obnoxious. She's self-absorbed, snarky and sassy, yet she's also very clever and quite hysterical at times. But, there's just something about her that had me rooting for her throughout the book. Did she or did she not kill her mother? And why does she not remember that night this incident took place? These are the questions that kept me hooked on the book - I needed to find out what really happened.

I will say that I did have a hard time keeping all the characters straight - who was who and who was related to who. Being that I was listening to the book, it was hard to go back to find out that information. I did find myself re-listening to certain parts just to make sure I understood the connections. 

The ending of the book is a bit open-ended. There is closure as to what happened, but we are left not really knowing what will happen next. In fact, I listened to the last part two times just to be sure I hadn't missed anything. Does that mean that Elizabeth Little plans to follow this book up with a sequel? Or are we to fill in the blanks ourselves?

I really enjoyed this debut novel and can't wait to see what comes next for Elizabeth Little. Despite me not loving the main character, I can't seem to stop thinking about her...that must say something about the writing!


Audio Thoughts: I thought both narrators did a great job with this book. Bonnie Dennison did all the story-telling and Tony Daniels did all the emails, court transcripts, TMZ reports, blog posts, etc that prefaced each chapter. Having separate narrators for these really helped set them apart. Bonnie was fantastic as Janie/Rebecca - she was really able to embody the perfect obnoxious, manipulative character that Janie/Rebecca was. Both of these narrators were new to me and I will definitely be checking out what else they have narrated.


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6 comments

  1. I've been in a thriller mood as well. Time of year maybe? I'm hoping I can take a detour into romances next month because I have a stack of Christmas romances to read. Anyway back to point! This sounds really good and I noticed my library had the audio version the other day. I think I'll definitely have to check it out though I think it might be a book I'd prefer to read. I will be prepared for the slightly open ended ending. That's good to know. I've done the rewind thing a few times myself! Great review!

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  2. I am a fan of thrillers, too, and I just finished reading this one. I had the same issues/confusion about who was related to whom...and I was reading mine on Sparky, so it wasn't too easy to "flip back" and check.

    The ending left me wondering, too. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. You know sometimes it is not about liking them but trying to understand them. It sounds like this is that type of main character. Those can make for interesting reads.

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  4. This sounds like a very absorbing thriller. Terrific review, Kristin. I like to read this type of fiction as the days grow shorter.

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  5. I loved this novel as well - and the voice of our lead character. I definitely enjoyed the laugh-out-loud moments!

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  6. Debut novels always get my attention. I like it that this character may be hard to like. Now the decision is print or audio? Great review.

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