Reader’s Report: Dear Daughter

Bringing back the Reader’s Report Series, Part Two: Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little.

I definitely have a couple more of these lined up, so stay tuned!

For those who are unfamiliar, a reader’s report is a report that an editorial assistant will write on a recently submitted manuscript as part of their weekly tasks. This reader’s report is for editors who are too busy to read the manuscript. In a way, an EA will help the editor to decide whether or not to acquire the book. Basic information is given like a complete summary of the plot, a critique, overall conclusion, positioning, comparative titles, and the jacket copy.  In order to be hired as an editorial assistant at a certain imprint, you not only have to know the imprints titles, but also comparative titles. I definitely need more practice writing them since I work in medical publishing, where they are unnecessary. Since reader’s reports are generally more comprehensive, the one’s on my blog will be shorter and not contain spoilers for those who have not read the books! I am definitely open to critique, so comment away!

Reader’s Report: Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little, Viking Penguin, July 31, 2014.

I received an advanced copy from Penguin’s First To Read program for my review.

**** 4 stars out of 5

Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little
Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little

Synopsis:

Jane Jenkins is America’s favorite socialite, but when her mother is murdered, the blame falls directly onto her. She spends 10 years in jail and is released on a technicality, hellbent on finding the man who murdered her mother and finding out the truth about her mother’s past. This leads her to small town in Adelaide, South Dakota, which used to be a mining town, but the minerals have long since disappeared. The town has kept her mother’s secrets and has kept an entire life and family from Jane. The more she discovers about her mom’s past: she slept around, was often arrested, and even robbed a bank, the more trouble she gets into. These ideals don’t fit in with what Jane knows about her mother (as a rich, philanthropist, cold woman). As she investigates, she makes friends with the people in town (some of whom are actually cousins, a niece, and an uncle), and discovers some of her enemies hiding in plain sight because there are those who are still convinced that Jane killed her mother. In a town as small as Adelaide, secrets don’t stay secrets for long.

Critique:

The angle of the mysterious and cold mother is good, I just was confused about how she was able to hide her identity if she was in the spotlight a lot. It wouldn’t be that difficult for someone from Adelaide to see a picture of her and who she was. Also I was unconvinced that the mother’s own brother didn’t know she had died. However, Jane’s mother was smart and Jane is equally as smart, she plays herself off as a dumb blonde so she can get a way with crazy things. With Jane’s determination and wit, she was able to mastermind her way through so many twists and turns in finding her mother’s true identity, and her own self identity. I also was confused about why Jane was “confused” as to whether she did the crime. It seemed pretty obvious that she did not do it and she seems smart enough to know her actions.

Conclusion: 

This was a sexy thriller, Jane is a devious fugitive from the press and determined to lie her way to the truth about her mother, even if she get’s put back in jail. Besides the plot, the voice was good and drove the reader on. The structure was also well laid out (every few chapters we read an excerpt from the trial or a press release on Jane’s whereabouts) and flowed really well. Since she was solving the mystery of her father, the conclusion was unexpected. This novel would be a great addition to Viking’s title list.

Positioning:

Gone Girl meets Keeping Up with the Kardashians

Competitive Titles:

  • Eyes on You by Kate White – (from Goodreads) After losing her on-air job two years ago, television host Robin Trainer has fought her way back and now she’s hotter than ever. With her new show climbing in the ratings and her first book a bestseller, she’s being dubbed a media double threat. But suddenly, things begin to go wrong. Small incidents at first: a nasty note left in her purse; her photo shredded. But the obnoxious quickly becomes threatening when the foundation the makeup artist uses burns Robin’s face. It wasn’t an accident—someone had deliberately doctored with the product. An adversary with a dark agenda wants to hurt Robin, and the clues point to someone she works with every day. While she frantically tries to put the pieces together and unmask this hidden foe, it becomes terrifyingly clear that the person responsible isn’t going to stop until Robin loses everything that matters to her . . . including her life.

 

  •  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn- (from Goodreads) On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

 

Jacket Copy:

Jane Jenkins is a beautiful socialite who was found guilty of murdering her mother 10 years ago. After being released from jail on a technicality, she’s determined to figure out her mother’s real killer (by changing her identity and looks), but the mystery is more than it seems. Jane’s mother ran away from a small South Dakota town and established her life as a rich philanthropist, but her secrets were hard to keep buried. The more Jane discovers, the closer she is to finding the truths about herself that her mother never told. As she gets closer to unlocking the mystery that surrounds her mother, the press bare down to locate her for the sensational fugitive story that comes with being famous.  It’s a matter of time before it all collides.

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