The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter is riveting. I could hardly put it down. Action, drama, crime, and mystery combine with love. Love for family, father-daughter, husband –wife. This book has it all. One of the best reads of the year. Some of the plot I could easily see but the tears flowed anyway.
Two Good Daughters
Charlotte (Charlie) Quinn is the Good Daughter. But her sister Samantha (Sam) in her own way is equally good. The novel opens with the two sisters struggling to pass a baton. Their mother is coaching them. A picture is painted quickly of a family, normal, nosy and loving. An intellectual mom married to a lawyer who defends the lowest of the lowlife. Both involved parents.
Then disaster strikes. The fire-bombing of their house pales in comparison to the murder and rampage that follow. The sisters manage to survive their physical injuries. But neither has fully healed psychologically.
Much of the story takes place twenty years after the opening scene. Charlie, the good daughter, shares a law office with her Dad. But not his practice. She has separated from her husband of 20 years. An ill-timed one night stand lands her back into disaster. Afterwards, she lands in the middle of a school shooting while retrieving her phone from the guy she hooked up with.
The new horror opens old wounds. Ben Bernard, the estranged husband as well as the assistant district attorney reaches out to Sam. He knows Charlie needs support. The two sisters have not spoken in decades. But Sam out of a sense of duty, arrives on the scene.
The plot line is well written. As the storyline unfolds, everything falls into place. The tale itself is full of violence. Violence against women lies at the heart of the book. Organizations such as Zonta International, AAUW and UN Women raise awareness every November against this type of violence with their 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign. If you know, or have been a victim of such aggression, The Good Daughter may be tough to read.
Slaughter wrote with enough foreshadowing so the reader becomes wrapped up in the characters. Both Charlie and Sam are survivors. Even though their mother dies, she lives on through her teachings. Charlie carries the emotional scars and Sam bears the physical ones. Neither sister realizes what the other has experienced.
The school shooting triggers the reunion and the flashbacks. Both sisters are lawyers like their father. The three family members team up to defend the accused shooter, a young girl from a disadvantaged background.
The Good Daughter Redemption
The latter part of The Good Daughter focuses on forgiveness and above all love. Somehow Karin Slaughter infuses the characters in such a way you feel like you know them. Sibling rivalry is evident. But so is the familial love. Slaughter leaves you upbeat, which is hard considering the amount of violence in the story.
I am sure The Good Daughter will make my top ten list for books read in 2017. However, anyone with personal experience of this gender-based violence may not be able to handle some of the story. The power of the story comes from the love established among the Quinn family. The strength of the women is compelling. Please consider putting The Good Daughter on your reading list.