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The Other Daughter: A Novel Hardcover – July 21, 2015
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About the Author
LAUREN WILLIG is also the New York Times bestselling author of the novels The Ashford Affair and That Summer as well as the Pink Carnation series, and is a RITA Award-winner for Best Regency Historical for The Mischief of the Mistletoe. An alumna of Yale University, she has a graduate degree in English history from Harvard and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. She lives in New York City, where she now writes full time.
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Top customer reviews
Lead character and narrator, Rachel represents the typical Willig heroine. Taking a page out of Victoria Holt's vast body of work, Willig crafts her main girl as a bit prissy, with high expectations and moral guidelines that at times are as tight as a too small girdle. She creates a rift--the wild modern lack of care versus the goody-two-shoes. Like Imogen in "Summer" and Addie in "The Ashford Affair," Rachel, a well-brought up woman with armchair spunk, cannot imagine doing anything vaguely outrageous; her spine is too straight. And yet, like the others, she unbends; finding herself in a situation where she must improvise in order to get what she wants, Rachel conjures up the imaginary personage of Vera Merton with her co-conspirator Simon, cuts her old-fashioned waist-length hair--shades of "Sabrina" and barges into the high society with a borrowed wardrobe and a dangling cigarette holder. Her goal? To meet her father, the Earl of Ardmore, whom she thought dead.
Like all novels that are fun, the premise immediately engages the reader. Who can resist a masquerade? Will she pull it off? Will her efforts afford her her heart's desire? Or will that desire change along with the game?
Don't get me wrong--"The Other Daughter" most definitely is formulaic. Nonetheless, it entertains even if from the get-go the reader understands the exact structure along with the function and role of each player. As in such novels, the ending is predictable and because of this fizzles into anonymity.
For those expecting a great mystery--the hidden diary read by two present day sleuths a la "Possession" by A. S. Byatt, look further. This is a straight storyline told in the flapper era. The tension is provided through revelation of self-identity rather than from some quirk of history. Where "That Summer" provided information regarding the Pre-Raphaelite artists which played heavily in the plot outcome, "Daughter" relies only on the "hang-it-all" mentality of the post WW1 generation, tired of war and the death of so many young men--both from a physical and mental standpoint.
Like many writers of this genre, the lead characters have no real differences from one book to the next. The heroines are all feisty and independent even if they are not independent financially. The love interests are damaged--in need of saving--and the women are willing to give it a try whether or not they succeed. The only difference is the time period--the players play according to the rules of the time but, in essence--they dance to the same tune and all end up with a perfunctory bow and curtsey under the arch of a rainbow. Those readers in the mood for this, will find Willig an entertaining albeit trite read.
Bottom line? If you are in the mood for romance from a historical perspective, give Lauren Willig's "The Other Daughter" a chance. The pages will turn even if the ending and the premise is familiar and predictable. Recommended.
Diana Faillace Von Behren
"Buzzard's Eye View"
There are few authors whom I follow enough to pre-order their books and then wait in nervous anticipation for the release date to happen - Kate Morton, Beatriz Williams, and a few others fit this category. I ordered "The Other Daughter" months ago, and I was not disappointed.
The story is paced very well, and Willig mastered the art of ending the chapter in the middle of a scene in order to entice the reader to keep going. Just one more chapter! The story wraps up well, with every question answered, but it is not an "everyone is happy" ending. It is realistic, and there are disappointments, which make it authentic.
The only reason I didn't give it five stars is that the romance that does happen seems to come out of nowhere. I wasn't looking for a romance-y story, but since it was there, I would have liked to have some hint of it earlier in so that I could at least root for it and be satisfied in the end.
Still, it's WELL worth your time and money to pick this one up and read it over a weekend.
Aside from the romance, the mystery, the drama, and the adventure, I love the emotion. Willig is a virtuoso playing the violin of my emotions, stirring heartache and laughter, smiles and tears, and making you feel what the characters in the book are feeling. It goes beyond reading words printed on a page, it is an immersive experience rather like finding yourself in the midst of the scene, as though it were happening to you. Willig addresses PTSD in soldiers who have been in combat, grief, death, the intricacies of finding out your family is harboring some unpleasant skeletons in a hidden closet, and more, without becoming overly heavy, preachy, or tedious to read.
I cannot recommend The Other Daughter highly enough. My only caution is that Willig is one of those authors who draws you in. Not only was it difficult (to say the least) to put this book down, I immediately went and got more of her books to see what else she had written.
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Reviewed by Eva
Sexual Content: Subtle
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content: Mild
Violent Content: Minimal
Rachel Woddley, the heroine of...Read more