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The Murderer's Daughters [Hardcover]

Randy Susan Meyers
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (247 customer reviews)


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Book Description

January 19, 2010
Lulu and Merry's childhood was never ideal, but on the day before Lulu's tenth birthday their father propels them into a nightmare. He's always hungered for the love of the girls’ self-obsessed mother; after she throws him out, their troubles turn deadly. Lulu had been warned not let her father in, but when he shows up drunk, he's impossible to ignore. He bullies his way past Lulu, who then listens in horror as her parents struggle. She runs for help, but discovers upon her return that he's murdered her mother, stabbed her five-year-old sister, Merry, and tried, unsuccessfully, to kill himself.
Lulu and Merry are effectively orphaned by their mother’s death and father’s imprisonment. The girls’ relatives refuse to care for them and abandon them to a terrifying group home. Even as they plot to be taken in by a well-to-do family, they come to learn they’ll never really belong anywhere or to anyone—that all they have to hold onto is each other.
For thirty years, the sisters try to make sense of what happened. Their imprisoned father is a specter in both their lives, shadowing every choice they make. One spends her life pretending he's dead, while the other feels compelled--by fear, by duty--to keep him close. Both dread the day his attempts to win parole may meet with success.
A beautifully written, compulsively readable debut, The Murderer's Daughters is a testament to the power of family and the ties that bind us together and tear us apart.



Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This solid novel begins with young Lulu finding her mother dead and her sister wounded at the hands of her alcoholic father, who has failed at killing himself after attacking the family. Meyers traces the following 30 years for Lulu and her sister, Merry, as they are sent to an orphanage, where Lulu turns tough and calculating, searching for a way into an adoptive family. Eventually, Lulu becomes a doctor specializing in the almost old, though her secretiveness about her past causes new rifts to form in her new family. Meanwhile, Merry becomes a victim witness advocate, but her life is stunted; she's dependant on Lulu, drugs and alcohol, and she can't find love because she usually want[s] whoever wants me. In the background, their imprisoned father looms until a crisis that eerily mirrors the past forces Lulu and Merry to confront what happened years ago. Though the novel's sprawling time line and undifferentiated narrative voices—the sisters narrate in rotating first-person chapters—hinder the potential for readers to fall completely into the story, the psychologically complex characters make Meyers's debut a satisfying read. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“How both sisters live, from the squalor of an orphanage to the empty silences of suburban living, is all too believable and heartbreaking because there is no acceptable answer for how to deal with one's part, as living victim, of a horrible crime” —Sarah Weinman, LA Times 'Knock-Out Debuts'

"Meyers delivers a clear-eyed, insightful story about domestic violence and survivor's guilt in "The Murderer's Daughters." It's an impressively executed novel, disturbing and convincing." —Diane White, Boston Globe

"Dives fearlessly into a tense and emotional story of two sisters anchored to one irreversible act of domestic violence. The narrative's dual narrators, Lulu and her younger sister Merry Zachariah, become innocent casualties when, in a terrifying scene relayed from Lulu's childhood perspective, their father murders their mother. Meyers painstakingly traces their lives to show just how much everyone else pays for that one act of violence.” —Christine Thomas, The Miami Herald

"Beautiful language balms the dark plot" —Daily Candy, Best New Winter Books

“The author delivers unshakable truths at every turn. . . Meyers, in a remarkably assured debut, details how the sisters process their grief in separate but similarly punishing ways." —Christian Toto, The Denver Post

"Much like Janet Fitch's White Oleander or Jacquelyn Mitchard's The Deep End of the Ocean, her book takes readers on an emotional roller-coaster ride. Readers, get out your handkerchief and prepare to care." — Library Journal Review

“As provocative as We Need to Talk About Kevin and as emotional as any Jodi Picoult novel.” —New Zealand Women’s Weekly

“A wonderful and thoughtful, wise novel.” —Annabelle, Germany

"A touching tale that will truly move you." —The Sun, UK

"The Murderer's Daughters is the unforgettable tale of Merry and Lulu, little sisters in sorrow, seared by their father's violence. Their heartbreaking story, which spans thirty years, will bring tears to your eyes...but there is a shining light of hope at the end of the tunnel." —Tatiana de Rosnay, New York Times bestselling author of Sarah's Key

"In her mesmerizing, empathic novel The Murderer's Daughters, Meyers explores the bond between two sisters clinging to each other in the aftermath of their mother's murder and their father's imprisonment...and how their bond is tested by the reappearance of the past. You won't be able to put it down." —Jenna Blum, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us

"This wonderful, thought-provoking novel took hold of me on page one and never let me go. With lovely prose and an uncanny delicacy for such a horrific and oftentimes unspeakable topic, Randy Susan Meyers brilliantly succeeds in telling the untold story of what happens to the children of murder victims. Alternately told through the eyes of Lulu and Merry, the story spans over 30 years and gives us a rare ?A riveting read. . . Highly recommended." —Beth Hoffman, New York Times bestselling author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

"In The Murderer's Daughters Randy Susan Meyers tells the intricate and absorbing story of two sisters, one of whom regards herself as an orphan. I love the sweep of this novel, from childhood to adulthood, from pain to understanding, and how intimately Meyers knows her characters and brings them to life. I finished The Murderer's Daughters with the sense that I had been on the best kind of journey." —Margot Livesey, author of The House on Fortune Street, Winner 2009 L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (January 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312576986
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312576981
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (247 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #584,057 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I was born in Brooklyn, New York, where I quickly moved from playing with dolls to incessantly reading, spending most of my time at the Kensington Branch Library. Early on I developed a penchant for books rooted in social issues, my early favorites being "Karen" and "The Family Nobody Wanted." Shortly I moved onto Jubilee and The Diary of Anne Frank.


My dreams of justice simmered at the fantastically broadminded Camp Mikan, where I went from camper to counselor, culminating in a high point when (with the help of my strongly Brooklyn-accented singing voice), I landed the role of Adelaide in the staff production of "Guys and Dolls."

Soon I was ready to change the world, starting with my protests at Tilden High and City College of New York, until I left to pursue the dream in Berkeley, California, where I supported myself by selling candy, nuts, and ice cream in Bartons of San Francisco. Then, world-weary at too-tender an age, I returned to New York, married, and traded demonstrations for diapers.

While raising two daughters, I tended bar, co-authored a nonfiction book on parenting, ran a summer camp, and (in my all-time favorite job, other than writing) helped resurrect and run a community center.

Once my girls left for college, I threw myself deeper into social service and education by working with batterers and victims of domestic violence. I'm certain my novels are imbued with all the above, as well as my journey from obsessing over bad boys to loving a good man.

Many things can save your life--children who warm your heart, the love of a good man, a circle of wonderful friends, and a great sister. After a tumultuous start in life, I'm lucky enough to now have all these things. I live in Boston with my husband, where I live by the words of Gustave Flaubert: "Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work."


The dark drama of my debut novel, THE MURDERER'S DAUGHTERS, is informed by her years of work with batterers, domestic violence victims, and at-risk youth impacted by family violence.

My next next novel, THE COMFORT OF LIES, will release from Atria/Simon & Shuster in February 2013, a novel about an affair and the three very different women whose lives become intertwined in its aftermath: Tia, the woman who fell in love with a married man, got pregnant and gave the baby up for adoption; Juliet whose husband had the relationship with Tia; and Caroline, the woman who adopted the child that Tia couldn't bear to raise alone. These are three women who should never have met--and when they do, their lives collide in ways that none of them could have predicted.

THE MURDERER'S DAUGHTERS was chosen as a Target Book Club Pick, Massachusetts "Must Read" Fiction, and was a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award, who wrote:

"From the very first page and straight on until the last, the clear and distinctive voice of Randy Susan Meyers's The Murderer's Daughters will have you enraptured and wanting more--even though self- preservation may curl you into a ball to shield yourself from the painful circumstances of the two sisters. This is a heart- breaking and powerful novel." Massachusetts Center for The Book,

Other reviews included:

"Knock-out debut." LA Times

"Dives fearlessly into a tense and emotional story of two sisters anchored to one irreversible act of domestic violence."-Miami Herald

"Meyers, in a remarkably assured debut, details how the sisters process their grief in separate but similarly punishing ways."--The Denver Post

"Dives fearlessly into a tense and emotional story of two sisters anchored to one irreversible act of domestic violence." The Miami Herald

"Powerful...thought-provoking [and] heart-tugging."
Boston Magazine


"Unforgettable...clear-eyed, insightful...impressively executed novel, disturbing and convincing. [Meyers'] debut novel The Murderer's Daughters is a gripping tale of sisters Merry and Lulu struggling for 30 years to find their way in the world, one devoted to their imprisoned father, the other enraged at him"
~Boston Globe, "

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
131 of 137 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing December 3, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I knew this book was going to be one of those that stuck with me long after I finished reading it. It is inconceivable to most that someone could injure or kill their child. Merry & Lulu, the two little girls this story is about not only witness their mothers murder, but one of them is savagely attacked by their own father.

Because of their selfish, abusive father, these two sisters grow up shuffling between foster homes & relatives as well as living in constant fear that their father will be released from prison. Lulu feels terribly guilty for her mothers murder and feeling like she didn't protect her sister from her father, while Merry is confused about her feelings towards her father, which aren't what she or anyone would expect considering what he has done.

I absolutely LOVED this book - but not in a "warm fuzzy" way. More in a "I cannot get over this" sort of way. There were some parts of it where I could feel my pulse quicken because I got so into it, it's THAT good.
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63 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Child's Past Lives On In The Adult's Life... December 10, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Violence impacts a child's life and continues, in the future, to haunt that child. Whether a child feels responsible for causing the violence or for failing to prevent it, every action and reaction they experience is colored by that past. Randy Susan Meyers has written an emotionally powerful novel about two sisters - Lulu and Merry - who have both experienced the effects of domestic violence. After convincing Lulu to allow him to enter the apartment, their father murders their mother and attempts to kill Merry, the younger sister.

Spanning a 32-year period, "The Murderer's Daughters" follows the two girls' lives through a trying childhood into middle age as each eventually faces and overcomes the past. Lulu deals with her demons by compartmentalizing the trauma and denying the past in order to function in the present. She relies on her own inner strength and her intelligence to become a successful doctor. With the exception of Merry, Lulu allows only one individual, her husband Drew, to learn the truth and to see behind the façade she has created. Merry, convinced that their father needs family, accompanies her grandmother and visits the prison every other week as a child; she continues the contact even after her grandmother's death. Unable to trust a man, Merry moves from one superficial sexual relationship to another; her affair with a married man remains the one constant, yet unfulfilling, relationship. Even her professional life is governed by her past - Merry has become a parole officer and seeks ways to rehabilitate, to "save," her parolees. A hostage crisis, involving Lulu's daughters and taking place in Merry's office, finally forces both women to confront their past and to move forward.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book, A sad story! December 13, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This novel about two sisters, Merry and LuLu who experienced the murder of their mother by their father when they were young children and how this affected their relationship, relationships and their entire lives is a real "can't put it down, page turner. It tells the story of abandonment, life, so-called, in an orphanage, struggle for survival and love, and finally acceptance and relief from painful memories. I highly recommend this book. In fact, although this is a very sad story, it has redemption and hope as its backbone. Read this book you will love it.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Shame and a Disgrace December 28, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
A shame and a disagrace or as the author writes in Yiddish, "shandah and a charpeh." What a book! From the very first chapter, when Lulu (Louise) and Merry (Merideth) are unwilling witnesses and participants in their father's murder of their mother, I was drawn into their lives and their tragic vulnerabilty. Thrust into an orphange after their mother's death and their father's incarceration, Lulu and Merry are victims of the cruel system and their abandonment by the remaining family. They are shamed as the murderer's daugthers, no one wants them. The mother's aunt uses the excuse that these girls are part of their father who struck down her beloved sister. As the reader, who read most of this book sitting on the runway during the recent Midwest blizzard, I was caught up with the fact that this family was Jewish. I am sure there are Jewish families who commit crimes and do not give a home to the orphaned children, but this twist made the story more interesting and heart breaking. No one could take these poor girls? This was the shame and the disgrace!

Lulu, a tenacious bright girl, protected her pretty sister who was consumed with guilt and no direction. Merry visited her father in prison (Lulu did not) to seek his approval, to maintain a connection, to find answers, but she was used by her father, too. He played a part; he would keep up his "Hi Sugar Pop, Cocoa Puff" sweet talk to gain some allegiance from his daughter, and it worked with Merry. The regulations, the other visitors, the physical building of the prison would forever make Merry an "expert" prison visitor.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars great and quick read!
Great story line and really well told. I never got bored and the ending didn't leave me wanting. I would highly recommend.
Published 7 days ago by J. Weiner
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
Very poignant story. The author makes a wonderful book out a very realistic situation. Beautifully written, one of those books you can't put down and are sad to finish.
Published 1 month ago by Cristina Stuart
1.0 out of 5 stars It had no cover. Just a plain book with no picture like the one shown...
It did not have the cover pictured here. It was just a plain book with no info regarding what it was about or on the author. It should be shown plain in the ad.
Published 1 month ago by Sherry K Winters
1.0 out of 5 stars Another Waste of Time
The father murdered the mother and the two daughters made up a story that they were killed in a car accident instead of saying the father was in jail for killing the mother. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Carol Ballow
4.0 out of 5 stars A Moving Story
The dynamics between the sisters kept me reading on, even though at times I became frustrated with their inability to understand each other's points of view.
Published 2 months ago by Candace G. Hobbs
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down
this was a fantastic read that I couldn't put down and it explores in depth the nature of co-dependent relationships.
Published 2 months ago by Nessy
5.0 out of 5 stars outstanding
Very insightful view into the life-long effects a trauma. Whether a victim of war or childhood misuse, the book reveals the role of emotional scars. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Gary L. Latshaw
3.0 out of 5 stars Quick summer read
I liked the characters in this book. When I read for fun I like to find books that can be easily read. This was one of those books. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars THERE IS MORE THAN ONE VICTIM
I have often thought that the families of murderers are victimized (albeit differently) as much as the families of the victims. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Lynne Wheaten
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Premise but expected more
My expectation of this book was probably too high but it was such a great premise and therefore could have been a GREAT book. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jen
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