Cover Image: The Good Daughter

The Good Daughter

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Member Reviews

I really wanted to enjoy this book but it was a fight just to get through it. The pacing, characters and story is flawed from the beginning and almost seemed scattered. 

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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A very interesting and enjoyable read by Alexandra Burt. I liked the characters and the plot and I found myself turning the pages to find out what was coming next!
Many thanks to Netgalley and publisher
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Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley for this free readers edition. In exchange I am providing an honest review.

Dahlia has lived a very transient life. She was never in one place for very long before her Mom was waking her up in the middle of some night and moving them on. Finally when Dahlia is about 13 years old they land in Aurora, Texas and settle to stay. That was almost 20 years ago. Dahlia has been gone for the past 15 but recently returned to her Mom and to Aurora. Her mom's mental health is faltering at best and Dahlia doesn't know how she feels being back in Aurora but it's the only place she has to go. With no birth certificate, no social security number, and no documentation that she exists Dahlia has been restricted to working under the table jobs her whole life. She's tired of it, she wants to exist and do more but her Mom is tight lipped and unwilling to help. When Dahlia runs, quite literally, across a crime scene things begin to unravel in her personal world and answers may suddenly be appearing. But at what cost to Dahlia and her mother?

While this was a good story, a sad story, it was also somewhat tedious to read. I understand Burt's need to draw a complete picture of the backstory and of Memphis' history and character but at times I felt like the story was dragging out, teetering on the edge of losing the reader. Then it would pick back up with the narrative switching voices. It turns out to be predictable, in my opinion, about who is who but not so much the how and what happened to get them to present day. It was an interesting but terribly sad, in the big picture, story. But Burt's writing is good enough that I am curious about her first title authored and have added it to my ever growing to-read list.
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Charlotte (Charlie) and her sister Samantha witnessed their mother's murder. Samantha ran and was shot herself. Their father, a hated defense attorney who would defend even the guiltiest in the eyes of the town, continued to defend criminals that others condemned. 

When, years later, Charlie offers to defend the girl who started shooting at the local high school, all the old memories from her mother's murder come back, not only to her, but to everyone in town. New information comes to light about her mother's death and the family has a tough time dealing with it all.
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This took a lot of patience to get through. I was almost a hundred pages in before I really got into it. It's a very slow building story that is very confusing at times. It's different, but I still liked it. Definitely not something fast paced that'll keep you on the edge of your seat. It's more of a slow, haunting story. If you don't have the patience to really immerse yourself in something without a lot of action, it's not for you. It wasn't what I expected at all, but it was well written and interesting once I got into it.
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Sorry this was just not my cup of tea. Too lugubrious for me.
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I tried two separate times to get into this book but I just could not connect with it.  I don't think it's the book, I think it's me, so I decline to review this one.
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WOW. 
>>TRIGGER WARNING: Brutal, gruesome torture and group rape episode that’s discuss in great detail and just when you think you’ve heard it all and couldn’t get worse, it does. This is going stick with me forever *shudder*
>>>However, the rape and the survivor are well written and portrayed. It’s not a gimmick, it’s not for titulation.
>>Trigger Warning & Problematic: an “exotic”, “foreign” “simpleminded girl” that’s raped by men “taking care of her.” 
>>Problematic Ableism. There’s lots of “she’s crazy” and a therapist and...stuff along those lines. At one point Dahlia rants about how she’s not schizo because she’s not yelling about conspiracies on a street corner. 🙄
>>Felt like magical realism with a woods witch and the atmosphere, and they “you don’t really know” turn out but more June by Beverly Miranda-Whittemore than When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-marie McLemore. 
>>I am concerned with Tain’s portrayal. She’s described as looking “She seemed foreign in some fashion--yet her skin was white and pale--and something about her was exotic.” by Quinn. All the POV characters are connected to her in some way. She’s a victim that gets rescued, used, and sent away, again and again. It’s highly disturbing, to put it mildly. 
>>There’s 4 POVs that switch, a woods witch, and Quinn talking about the past, and Dahlia and her mom Memphis dealing with the present. 
>>Between each chapter is a quote from Achilles. 
>>I highlighted a lot of quotes that I liked. 
>>In the end, it’s a happy ending. But I can’t help think how much harder this would’ve been if they were POC and Tain...she’s just a plot vehicle. 
>>Great atmosphere. 
>>I could not stop reading it. I stayed up all night and read it in one sitting. 
>>Kept me guessing the whole way through. 
>>It’s really too bad it wasn’t more careful about being problematic. It would have been 5 stars, but....I felt uncomfortable and not okay with how these things were written and handled. Hell, TBH I still feel bad for giving it 4 stars, but gods, I did enjoy it -- in a soap opera thriller way. I’m not sure what that says about me, but there ya go. 
 

Quotes: 

 

“Q. Was a strong woman; strong but damaged. Those are the dangerous ones.”

“I want to cry. Soon is like saying never. “

“Like a bundle of yarn, my mind loops around itself, repeating things to me, no matter how hard I try not to think at all. “
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Honestly this book just wasn’t for me. I tried really hard for several weeks to get into it and it just didn’t hook me. I found myself re reading several sections multiple times.
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This had the potiential of being a 5 star book but the pacing made it a 3 star book.  There were several mystery plot lines going in this book at once.  Most of them were clear and easy to follow but some were confusing and convoluted.  Dahlia had an unconventional upbringing where her mother, Memphis, moved them from place to place and would not allow her to go to school because they did not have paperwork.  Finally they move to Aurora, Texas and settle down and Dahlia is allowed to go to school.  But as an adult, Dahlia has questions about her past and returns to Aurora to get answers from her mom.  But then she finds a woman half buried in the woods when she is on a jog and starts having visions about this woman, Jane Doe who is in a coma.   And her mother also starts to slowly lose her mind and starts telling Dahlia stories about a woman named Quinn who lived in Aurora a long time ago.  I kept reading because I wanted resolutions to all the mysteries in this book.  But I think a rewrite to make it easier to follow and read would be very beneficial.  Looking forward reading more by this author because I feel that she does have a lot of potential.  

I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

I received a free advanced readers copy of this book from NetGalley for review consideration.
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Great first 2 chapters then the whole story falls apart - storyline doesn't stay together - had a hard time following the story & characters who are thrown in "willy nilly".
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QLoved this book
Didn't want it to end
Highly recommended
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This one was a bit too slow and jumbled for me.  (Amazon reviewed)
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I read about a quarter or so and then let it go.  Great premise, mother and daughter on the run but the story never catches up with the promise and fails to deliver.
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Having never met your own mother, but she wanted...just wanted to mother. To be that, be it, mothering, holding and keeping someone safe. Salvation and generosity all in one. She wanted that. 

Rating 3.5 stars.

This is one of those proses that frustrate me. I don't know if it's because it didn't go where I wanted it to go, or if it was not believable, or I needed more of a reason why. This is a building of character development. A mother and her young daughter running away and end up in a small town of Aurora Texas. All Dahlia remembers from her childhood is isolation. Her mother Memphis concerned about "paperwork" and because of paperwork Dahlia never went to school. Dahlia has left her home and is on a mission to find out who she is and who her mother is. 

It is during a jog that Dahlia stumbles upon a woman who has been badly hurt and this woman's tragedy is now Dahlia's catalyst to find the dark secrets of who she is and ultimately the darkness that her mother is in. 

Dahlia has always been the good daughter and Memphis the mother who was trapped in her own circumstances. The author's narration is provocative and haunting as each woman must come to a decision to break out of their mental prison. 

A Special Thank You to Berkley Publishing Group and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.
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Wow. Where to begin?! This book was really interesting but -hard- to read at the same time. Not in a disturbing way but just in a -are we ever going to find out?- kind of way.  I hate reviewing books that I don't particularly like. I know the author had a vision and works hard to fulfill that.

I really enjoyed the writer's style, the way the story is told, it's not something I can even describe. I love a good mystery with a suspense feel to it, and this definitely has that. You're not quite sure what you're going to get till' you get there! Then at the same time there are some other very obvious things thrown into your face as the reader.

I was really excited to read and review this book based on the blurb but I was unfortunately underwhelmed. I'm not sure if my expectations were too high going into it or what but it just wasn't for me. 

3/5 stars
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A complex, layered and haunting novel, Burt once again delivers a cast of characters that are unforgettable, often unlikable but still fascinating.

The build up in this novel IS slow. There is a lot going on, the stories told from different points in time, and from different viewpoints. There is much to unravel here, and it is done with care. I struggled to like Dahlia's mother Memphis, because she is a hot mess - but how big of a mess I hadn't realized until their histories unfolded and you begin to wonder how Dahlia turned out as relatively normal as she did.

This is a story about motherhood, memories, and perhaps even a bit of forgiveness as Dahlia tries to get answers from her mother about pieces of her past and secrets that she holds. At times confusing, some moments disturbing, all the different threads unraveled until it all came to a satisfying end.  Were there a few threads that were in excess? Possibly. But overall, this was a story I'm glad I stuck with.
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DNF. I really couldn't get into it. I had to reread the beginning several times and just had to pass it up after a while. I was so upset because the synopsis looked really good!
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I was really looking forward to reading this book and was extremely excited to receive a free copy! 
  The book explores the relationship between the main character and her Mother and their family secrets. Normally this is the type of genre I gravitate towards but I had a hard time getting through this entire book. I felt the story was paced really slowly and at times found it to be confusing. 
  Overall I was disappointed and would not place this book on my "must-read" list.
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The Good Daughter by Alexandra Burt is a 2017 Berkley publication. 


This book is not your typical suspense thriller. There is a crime, several crimes, in fact, but this is not a police procedural or detective novel, nor does it neatly fit into any other sub-genre category. However, it is a crime drama or maybe saga is a better word, it’s just not presented in a way anyone could possibly imagine. 

Dahlia had an unconventional upbringing, to say the least, but eventually she and her mother settled in Aurora, Texas. Dahlia left home for fifteen years, but has returned only to find her mother is in ill health. 

While going for a run, Dahlia discovers the body of a young woman, barely breathing, but still alive. This event, on top of her mother’s ever increasing erratic behavior, and a puzzling health concern of her own, triggers something long buried in Dahlia’s mind, that prompts her to finally insist on finding out the truth about her mother and her own past, as well as trying to press her old friend, Bobby, to look deeper into what happened to the young woman whose life she saved. 

This is a very strange tale, and to be honest, I really struggled to get through it. I suspected the truth early on, but never could have imagined the bizarre scenario that eventually unfolded. 

The plot is difficult and murky, told from Dahlia’s, and her mother’s, point of view, alternately. The pacing is slow and disjointed, and while I normally hate to see a book end, in this case, I was like a kid on a road trip, constantly asking ‘Are we there, yet?’

The writing style is unique, and the author has a vivid imagination, but once the threads all came together, I was disappointed that some things remained separate from others which left me a little puzzled, but did like the mostly optimistic ending, especially after having survived the oppressive and lurid tale that came before it. 

Overall, this one just didn’t do much for me.
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