Book Review: The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda


The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda
My rating: πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ(4 stars)
Publisher: Graydon House (May 2019)
No one leaves a star. That's what makes one a star.
- Norma Desmond (Sunset Boulevard)


Jane Harris is a modern-day Norma Desmond but with a smidge more crazy, tracker apps and a higher body count.



I figured this would be a ride with an unreliable narrator but I had no idea that Jane was a next level narcissist. It was tense watching her unfurl her machinations on her family and others and it was so satisfying by book's end to find that she had had her head so far up her own rear, she missed some very big things and that was her downfall. She literally could not imagine a world in which she is not the smartest, prettiest, most deserving or most aggrieved.

People were all means to an end for Jane. She only saw her family members as an extension of herself & when they didn't conform to her strictures and demands, she went to extremes to manipulate them to her will or if they were really willful, end them. Jane throughout talked about getting back into her Hollywood life but truly, there's no getting back into something that never was. She thought every man who crossed her path was captivated by her. She couldn't pass reflective surfaces without checking herself out.

Jane's husband was cheating and planning to leave her and I didn't feel bad for her. Her daughter was ready to flee the nest & I didn't have any sympathy for Jane's empty nest feels. I was cheering the husband and the remaining daughter to make their grand escape and successfully disappear into the ether just to be free of Jane. I was pulling for a witness protection type disappearance. When I finished the book, I was still pulling for Kiley to return! Jane had me rooting for the "home-wrecker" to have a happily ever after! That shouldn't be a thing! People were all means to an end for Jane. She only saw her family members as an extension of herself & when they didn't conform to her strictures and demands, she went to extremes to manipulate them to her will or if they were really willful, end them.

Thank you Kaira Rouda for writing a character that appalled, stunned and kept me up late reading. I'd read another by Rouda in a heartbeat. Well done all around and I think this will definitely be one of the more talked about of 2019. Definitely recommended.

Many thanks to the publisher for the ARC, you made my reading weekend.


Summary:  The perfect home. The perfect family. The perfect lie.
Jane Harris lives in a sparkling home in an oceanfront gated community in Orange County. It’s a place that seems too beautiful to be touched by sadness. But exactly one year ago, Jane’s oldest daughter, Mary, died in a tragic accident and Jane has been grief-stricken ever since. Lost in a haze of anti-depressants, she’s barely even left the house. Now that’s all about to change.
It’s time for Jane to reclaim her life and her family. Jane’s husband, David, has planned a memorial service for Mary and three days later, their youngest daughter, Betsy, graduates high school. Yet as Jane reemerges into the world, it’s clear her family has changed without her. Her husband has been working long days—and nights—at the office. Her daughter seems distant, even secretive. And her beloved Mary was always such a good girl—dutiful and loving. But does someone know more about Mary, and about her last day, than they’ve revealed?
The bonds between mothers and daughters, and husbands and wives should never be broken. But you never know how far someone will go to keep a family together…





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