Dahlia has grown up knowing her childhood was different; nights in seedy motels, constantly moving and no real connection with anyone aside from her mother, Memphis. She returns to Aurora, Texas to finally have her questions answered and stumbles upon much more than just a mother’s secret….
The Good Daughter, the upcoming suspense novel by Alexandra Burt, is a story of the relationship between families and their secrets. This one left me with mixed feelings. Let me explain:
The novel opens with Dahlia returning home to Aurora, Texas to visit her mother. As soon as she arrives, she goes jogging in the woods and stumbles across a woman buried in a ditch. Dahlia feels a strange connection to this woman so she stays in town while the woman recovers at the hospital. Dahlia takes this as a perfect opportunity to find out some answers about her shady childhood from her mother. Her mother begins to explain to her through narratives surrounding a woman named Quinn. The entire novel is narrated in small sections: we hear from Dahlia (searching for answers), Memphis (struggling to reveal her secrets to her past) and Quinn (a woman dealing with infertility issues and a husband who puts crickets in a jar).
Strange? I think so.
What I Liked:
- The Characters: I found that Burt did an excellent job at developing her leads to the fullest extent. Memphis, Quinn, and Dahlia all had interesting qualities that allowed me to connect with them. Dahlia and Memphis were especially interesting for me!
- The introduction of Southern Voodoo: this was the most fascinating part of the novel; Quinn, struggling with infertility, sets her sight to see a “witch doctor”, who lives in a trailer park on the edge of town; moments with her were creepy. I wanted more of her.
- The Overall Plot: I did like the general story. A daughter searching for answers and a mother hiding secrets. This intrigued me and did propel me enough to continue reading.
What I Struggled With:
- The Pace: The build up for this one took too long; the characters seemed completely unrelated until the last chapter. I understand that a novel needs to build, however, it happened entirely too slowly.
- The Narrative Style: This book becomes downright confusing at times. I found it very difficult to follow the characters and the timeline of the story. It was very jumbled and jumped back and forth in time. This made it difficult to easily understand the plot.
- Secondary Characters and Plots: I didn’t feel any connection to any of the secondary characters. They were so underdeveloped; I would have preferred not to have them at all. I also felt that Burt added too many subplots that were not necessary. For example, the girl in the woods? I don’t even feel like that was needed to push the plot. It seemed like an unnecessary addition.
If you want a fast-paced thriller, this will not be to your liking. However, if you enjoy a slow burning family saga, this one could be enjoyable. I gave it a 3/5 stars on Goodreads.
Thanks to the publisher, the author and Netgalley for the digital version of this novel; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.