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The Murderer's Daughters [Hardcover]

Randy Susan Meyers
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (300 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.


“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

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (January 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312576986
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312576981
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (300 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,055,481 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews
138 of 145 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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34 of 36 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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18 of 19 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
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
This was an interesting read.
Published 4 months ago by tila1234
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love this book. Did not want to put it down.
Published 4 months ago by Nana:
2.0 out of 5 stars Skip it
Such a disappointment. Story started out quite captivating. Second 1/2 of the book was boring beyond reason, repetitive and flat.
Published 4 months ago by JoCee
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping read.
What a read. Take a horrible situation and look at it through the eyes of two girls growing into adulthood. Powerful. Read more
Published 4 months ago by jackmv
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your time.
Please do not waste your time with this book. I'm not going to repeat what others have already said here. But I agree with the one and two star reviews. The book has no depth.
Published 4 months ago by Joseph F Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read!
This was truly a book I did not want to put down or end. Two women, same mother and father but handling life in different ways. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Peggy Hurd
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I enjoyed it!
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars but Lulu tries her best to pretend her father is dead
The story follows two girls, Lulu and Merry, who are devastated by a tragic event. At the young age of 9, Lulu has to find help when she hears her mother scream, “He’s going to... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great book
Published 7 months ago by Lynda J DeBiccari
5.0 out of 5 stars loved
couldn't put it down,loved it
Published 8 months ago by Beth Tambasco
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