Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little
Published in 2015 by Vintage
My copy: Library book
Hollywood It Girl Janie Jenkins has it all.
The looks, the brains, the money, the fame.
Oh, and the murder conviction – for killing her mother.
Out of jail and on the run, she’s determined to prove her innocence and find out what really happened the night her mother died.
The only problem?
Janie’s not totally sure that she is innocent…
This book is described on the cover as “Gone Girl meets Mean Girls”, and I was quite intrigued by this premise. Our narrator is Jane Jenkins, who has been released from prison after being accused of murdering her mother ten years previously. She can’t remember what actually happened on that fateful night, but has a few clues she hopes will lead her to discover the truth behind her mother’s death.
We soon discover that Jane is a bit of a celebrity following the notorious murder, so she has to change her name and appearance as many people are on her tail. She travels to a small town which she believes has some connection to her mother, and she meets an assortment of characters who both help and hinder her investigation.
I really enjoyed this novel – at first. Jane is actually a pretty unpleasant character, and we find out her mother was too, and I quite liked the black humour and nasty put-downs that litter the book. It’s quite a good twist on the thriller as there isn’t really a typical victim here. But about 100 pages in, I found my interest starting to wane a bit. When Jane gets to the town of Aveline, which she believes has some connection with her mother, a lot of characters are introduced which gets a bit confusing. Also a lot of the novel just seems too unrealistic and far-fetched, with too many coincidences.
My other issue is that the only person Jane seems to be on the run from is a fanatic blogger. She has legitimately been released from prison, so it isn’t really entirely clear why Jane feels she has had to go into hiding. Also the problem with unsympathetic characters is that although they are quite fun and quirky at first, you find yourself losing interest in them, and ultimately I just didn’t care who had killed Jane’s mother or why – and I wasn’t really that interested in Jane either.
I think this was a well-written book with good, dry humour that did appeal to me at first. But even once things were wrapped up by the end my over-riding feeling was complete and utter indifference!