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Dear Daughter: A Novel Hardcover – July 31, 2014

3.4 out of 5 stars 433 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“When former It Girl Janie Jenkins is released from prison, she embarks on a mission to discover if it was really she who murdered her mother. The debut novel’s twists will easily hook you, but it’s the narrator’s dark wit and sharp observations that make this a truly fun read.” 
Entertainment Weekly 
“Little keeps you guessing until the end — and then closes her book with a final, twisted flourish.”
—Daneet Steffens, The Boston Globe
“Compelling. . . . This novel's engrossing suspense comes from its unreliable (and not especially likable) narrator who pursues answers with relentless fervor, regardless of the painful truths she turns up about herself. . . . Excellent.”
—Stephanie Klose, Oprah.com

“Engrossing. . . The unlikable protagonist with a biting personality and outrageous actions, but who is fascinating at the same time, has never been more popular. Just think of Gone Girl. In her confident fiction debut, Elizabeth Little puts a fresh spin on this character in the form of Jane Jenkins, a young woman famous for being famous until she was sent to prison for the murder of her wealthy socialite mother. Little also makes Dear Daughter a parable about the cult of the celebrity stoked by a relentless press and a ruthless public’s thirst for details of a woman it loves to hate.”
Associated Press 

“This is not your mother’s mystery. The clever, prickly and profane heroine is, after all, a former It Girl whose aim as a teen was to be the next Paris Hilton, only better. . . . Sassy and lively. . . . The book’s satisfying conclusion somehow manages to tie things up while also providing a cliffhanger, a pretty neat trick for a debut novel.”
—Colleen Kelly, The Minneapolis Star Tribune 
“The best debut crime novel of 2014, a spiky, voicey, jolting, surprising story of a celebutante convicted of murdering her mother . . . Little also produces one of the best endings of 2014, too.”
—Sarah Weinman, The National Post (Canada)
“A former It Girl hunts down her mom’s murderer in this can’t-put-down thriller.”
“Do you want a mystery novel that you can stay up all night reading and then take to the beach to finish it off the next day? Elizabeth Little’s Dear Daughter is pretty much all you need: the tale of a former high society girl who gets out of prison and goes on a mission to find out who really killed her mother.” 
Flavorwire (Must-Read Books for August) 
“In prison for her mother’s murder, L.A. socialite Jane Jenkins is released on a technicality. To track down the real killer Jane gets plain, goes underground and stirs up dangerous amounts of dirt in her mom’s South Dakota hometown.”
Good Housekeeping 
“[A] fun and riveting debut mystery.” 
The San Diego Union Tribune
“Part celebrity, part sleuth and all sass, the memorable Janie Jenkins is out to prove she didn't murder her mother in this smart debut thriller. . . . Little drives Dear Daughter with the string of surprises and buried secrets revealed as Janie unravels the mystery of her mother's past. It is a thriller much like Gillian Flynn's blockbuster Gone Girl--except instead of the East Coast literary angst of Flynn's protagonists stuck in Missouri, Little's Midwest visitor really does have L.A. ‘glitter in her veins.’” 
Shelf Awareness 
“Little makes a thrilling debut with this gripping read. Fans of Tana French and Gillian Flynn are going to enjoy the smart narrator and the twists and turns in the case.” 
Library Journal (starred review) 
“Agatha Christie meets Kim Kardashian in this sharp-edged, tart-tongued, escapist thriller. . . A stylishly written tale that plays off our culture's obsession with celebrity scandal.”
Kirkus Reviews 
“Stunning and chilling. . . . A harrowing story that will keep readers on the edge of their seat. The ending is like a punch in the nose, coming out of nowhere and leaving readers breathless. Whether you take this mystery to the beach or relax in front of your air conditioner, this is a novel you should not miss.”

“Clever. . . . This is a killer debut, in every sense of the word!” 

“[An] assured fiction debut . . . Little effectively intersperses outside perspective in the form of emails, text messages, and other communications in Jane’s entertainingly caustic first-person narrative.”
Publishers Weekly

“Janie keeps them all guessing . . .  An unusual protagonist who will intrigue readers who favor strong, smart women.”

“A really gutsy, clever, energetic read, often unexpected, always entertaining. I loved Janie Jenkins’s sassy voice and Elizabeth Little’s too. In the world of crime novels, Dear Daughter is a breath of fresh air.”
—Kate Atkinson, New York Times bestselling author of Life After Life

Dear Daughter has three of my favorite things in a book: a smart, damaged, unstoppable narrator with a slicing sense of humor; needle-sharp writing that brings characters and atmosphere leaping off the page; and a vivid, original plot full of satisfying twists. This is an all-nighter, and the best debut mystery I've read in a long time.”
—Tana French, New York Times bestselling author of Broken Harbor and In the Woods

“Clever, original, and darkly witty, Dear Daughter’s many twists will keep you on your toes as you fall under the spell of its unapologetic, whip-smart narrator.”
—Kimberly McCreight, New York Times bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia
“What a devilish, delightful treat of a novel! Crackling with wit and shining with originality, Dear Daughter is the kind of whirlwind mystery that will keep you hooked—and guessing—until the very end.”
—Sara Shepard, New York Times bestselling author of Pretty Little Liars

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About the Author

A graduate of Harvard University, Elizabeth Little is the author of the nonfiction books Biting the Wax Tadpole and Trip of the Tongue. She lives in Los Angeles with her family.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Viking; First Edition edition (July 31, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670016381
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670016389
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (433 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #412,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bill Sanders VINE VOICE on July 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Good grief! Little certainly can write. Reading Little is like eating bon-bons. They're really good, and even after eating too many, you don't care, you just want more, even if you're staying up much later than you promised yourself you would. Elizabeth Little's "Dear Daughter" is a mystery with multiple layers of intrigue, the most interesting being the dual query, "Who's my mother/Who am I?" The story centers around Jane Jenkins, a Paris Hilton / Kim Kardashian type celebrity, who is one of those singularly unaccomplished people chased by the paparazzi to get photos of them doing nothing of merit--for which tabloids pay big bucks.

Jane is convicted of murdering her mother, an idea that has passed through the mind of a daughter or two. However, after 10 years in the joint, her lawyer is able to get her sprung because of the mishandling of evidence by the LA's forensic lab. Jane decides that she'd be well-served if she discovered the real killer of her mother. Shortly before the murder, she had been in the next room and overheard her mother arguing with an unknown man and a couple of key words are uttered that are Jane's only clues who killed her mother--if it wasn't Jane herself. (Sometimes booze and dope can cloud one's memory, and Jane isn't absolutely, positively....well maybe she did take the shotgun...but she doesn't think so.)

So the saga begins. Jane wants to avoid the celebrity chasers, and so while trying to find out about her mother, she also has to avoid the reporters, bloggers and a host of other creeps who make their living (and probably their own selfhood) by writing, tweeting and gossiping about those who live to get tweeted, written and gossiped about. All of this happens in a wonderfully written surround of words and phrases that Little wields with aplomb.
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Format: Hardcover
Elizabeth Little's debut novel, "Dear Daughter," is a wild ride from start to finish. The author creates an engaging first-person narrator, who is both sympathetic and narcissistic. The gutsy survivor, Jane Jenkins, is determined to discover the truth about her mother's brutal murder, a crime for which Jane was convicted and incarcerated for 10 years. As the tale opens, the protagonist has been released on a technicality and sets out on a journey of (self-) discovery. Her assertive voice is immediately established when she declares, " I mean, come on, you didn't think I was just going to disappear, did you? That I would skulk off and live in the shadows?" Janie resolutely refuses to remain in the shadows even though public opinion weighs strongly against her: most view her as just another privileged Beverly Hills celebutante who got away with, yes, murder. Janie's recollections of that night are hazy at best. Inebriated, she stumbled upon her mother's bullet-riddled corpse, unable to explain to the authorities what occurred, and why she is covered in blood. Little spices up the narrative by interspersing lively chapters with court testimony, celebrity gossip columns, prison interviews, and excerpts from fictive books treating the scandalous murder saga. It seems that the entire country has a stake in this ongoing drama. Is Janie innocent or guilty? And what will she do next?

Apart from the unforgettable protagonist, Little creates a secondary cast of characters residing in Ardelle and Adeline, South Dakota, dreary mining towns that may hold secrets to the murdered woman's past. Who is the real Marion Elsinger, the much-married Swiss American philanthropist?
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When you get a reputation, like, for instance, Lindsay Lohan has, you have a hard job ahead of you--you'll never be anything but what everybody claims you are, no matter how much you have changed or done since you gained that bad reputation. Jane Jenkins was in that situation and apparently destined to keep it--the ending therefore left a bad taste in my mouth--or else an anticipatory craving for a sequel... In any event, other than the ending, I loved this book!

Jane Jenkins had spent the last ten years in jail, only getting out because of the discovery of mismanagement of evidence... Oh, yes, the evidence was there, since Jane had been found over the body covered with her mother's blood... But, because of her public reputation, that evidence was read incorrectly by everyone, other than Jane's lawyer...

And now, even though she had been released, nobody was willing to accept that she had not killed her mother, especially one blogger who wrote under the TMZ Staff signature...Talk about a Stalker! This one was so full of hatred that he had to be more than writing for this group...

The major thing that Jane remembered about the murder scene was that her mother had written Jane on the floor in blood. Obviously it was taken as her mother's final statement and greatly influenced all the individuals evaluating her guilt.

Jane had to acknowledge that her mother had never been close, but she couldn't figure out why she would convict her because certainly she had known who had killed her. Jane knew it had been a man--she had been in her mother's closet planning on "borrowing" some of her latest purchases, when she had heart them quarrel. But she had only been able to catch a few words...
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