“The Favorite Daughter” by Kaira Rouda is the story of Jane Harris and the perfect home, the perfect family, and the perfect lie. It unfolds in Jane’s first person narrative. She talks to herself and she talks to readers. She admits being manipulative, “I should win a domestic Golden Globe.” She shares her feelings about others “Well, she was already on my list of course, but she’s bumped herself up in the ratings.” She explains her social philosophy “I’ve always enjoyed the company of men over women. I’m sorry to say. They’re just, well, easier.” In addition, she shares her research, “But honestly, I watch a lot of crime TV these days, do a lot of online research about death. If you are going to be murdered, you’re more likely to be killed by someone you know, and most likely, love. Almost half of all murdered women are killed by a romantic partner. Lovely, I know.” Readers can only wonder why she is sharing that!
Jane Harris lives picturesque Orange County. A beautiful place, but Jane’s beautiful life is drenched in sadness. One year ago, Jane’s oldest daughter, Mary, died in a terrible accident, but despite this gut-wrenching tragedy, Jane is someone that readers will just love to hate. In fact, everyone in the book is nasty, and that nastiness makes for fantastic reading. Of course, there are times when one cannot help but root for her, even just a little, but unfortunately, she is just disagreeable, narcissistic, and horrible.
Rouda’s plot proceeds at an appropriate pace with plenty of twists and turns, but it is not so complex that readers get lost in the complications since Jane feels compelled to share her secrets.
“The Favorite Daughter” is a fun, almost compulsive read. The storyline is interesting with some unexpected moments, and an extraordinary ending. I received a review copy of “The Favorite Daughter” from Kaira Rouda, and Graydon House Books. It is highly entertaining.