Book Review : Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little

August 25, 2014 Book review 8 ★★★½

Hello tricky book!  The murder case was tricky, the characters were tricky and so too were my feelings on the book.  I liked it a LOT but a few issues kept me from loving it.  But still I had a lot of fun reading it .

Book Review : Dear Daughter by Elizabeth LittleDear Daughter by Elizabeth Little
Published by Random House UK on 14 Aug 2014
Genres: Contemporary Women, Suspense, Thrillers
Pages: 336
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley

You might fight with your mother, Janie Jenkins might have killed hers.

'As soon as they processed my release Noah and I hit the ground running. A change of clothes. A wig. An inconspicuous sedan. We doubled back once, twice, then drove south when we were really headed east. In San Francisco we had a girl who looked like me board a plane to Hawaii.

Oh, I thought I was so clever.

But you probably already know that I’m not.'

LA IT girl Janie Jenkins has it all. The looks, the brains, the connections. The criminal record.

Ten years ago, in a trial that transfixed America, Janie was convicted of murdering her mother. Now she's been released on a technicality she's determined to unravel the mystery of her mother's last words, words that send her to a tiny town in the very back of beyond. But with the whole of America's media on her tail, convinced she's literally got away with murder, she has to do everything she can to throw her pursuers off the scent.

She knows she really didn't like her mother. Could she have killed her?

First Line of Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little

“A California judge has overturned the first-degree murder conviction of Jane Jenkins as part of the ongoing investigation into the mismanagement of evidence by the Los Angles County Crime Lab from 2001 to 2005.”

What I loved about Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little:

I loved the format of the book.  It was great!  We learned about the main character via a Wikipedia entry, we saw newspaper clippings, police reports, family trees, street grids!  I love this stuff in books.  It’s just so much fun and makes the book feel more interactive as you are deciphering all of these as well as the text.

The main character was interesting!  I loved to hate her.  The funny thing about Jane is that she doesn’t even know for sure herself if she murdered her mother or not.  So she is trying to solve the murder but also afraid of the answers too as can’t rule out the fact that she might have killed her mother.  Like I said, an interesting character!

The setting in an old mining town was great.  Especially the creepy ghost town, the deserted crumbling down old house with the belongings left inside to rot; it was so evocative.

The writing is fun and at times the humour is great.

I was kept guessing.  I thought Dear Daughter did a great job of maintaining the suspense.  I had no idea who was telling the truth and who was hiding secrets. So many undercurrents!

I LOVED the ending!  Just loved it.


What I didn’t love so much about Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little:

The humour was hit and miss.  When it hit, it was great but it often missed the mark too and it felt awkward when it did.  It was like someone trying to hard to be funny.

At times the main character sounded too young (she is 26) but this is probably explained by her 10 years in jail.  Still she is a curious mix of world-weary and immature.

I thought it was going to be a little creepier and a little more spine chilling.  Considering this is a murder mystery book, I never felt that.  Even during a critical scene, I just didn’t feel it.  I missed my goosebumps!

Overall though, this was a fun book with a great format and tricky plot.  A very promising début novel and I definitely want to read more by Elizabeth Little.


Rating Report
Did I feel it?
Overall: three-half-stars


Who should read Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little:

I’d recommend this to those who like twisty plots, unreliable narrators and quirky features likes maps and family trees.  If you are a fan on Dangerous Girls by Agibail Haas or Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, then I think you’d also like this one.

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK, Vintage Publishing for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.


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8 Responses to “Book Review : Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little”

    • trish

      The murder mystery is fun and there are lots of other little mysteries too that came out during the book. You won’t be bored reading this one, that’s for sure!

  1. trish

    I couldn’t help but compare it to Dangerous Girls as I read it. It’s not the same story (or quite as good) but it has the same vibe. I did you’d like it Wendy, as you like tricky just as much as I do! 🙂

    • trish

      I feel the same about humour, if it doesn’t to flow effortlessly, it’s a little bit cringe. But it’s only in places. Other parts the humour really worked.
      This is a fun book, I love to be kept guessing and this one definitely achieved that. Hope you enjoy it if you get to it sometime Alma.

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