The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda

Published:  May 21, 2019 by HARLEQUINGraydon House Books 

Dates Read:  May 9, – May 10, 2019 

Genre/Category:  General Fiction / Mystery & Thrillers 

Read For:   ARC from Harlequin for Review 



4 1/2 stars 


 Another book that knows how to emphasize the word psycho in psychological thriller.    

Book synopsis:  Jane Harris lives in a sparkling home in an oceanfront gated community in Orange County. It’s a place that seems too beautiful to be touched by sadness. But exactly one year ago, Jane’s oldest daughter, Mary, died in a tragic accident and Jane has been grief-stricken ever since.  Lost in a haze of anti-depressants, she’s barely even left the house.   Now that’s all about to change.   It’s time for Jane to reclaim her life and her family.   Jane’s husband, David, has planned a memorial service for Mary and three days later, their youngest daughter, Betsy, graduates high school.  Yet as Jane reemerges into the world, it’s clear her family has changed without her.  Her husband has been working long days—and nights—at the office.    Her daughter seems distant, even secretive.      And her beloved Mary was always such a good girl—dutiful and loving.    But does someone know more about Mary, and about her last day, than they’ve revealed?    The bonds between mothers and daughters, and husbands and wives should never be broken. But you never know how far someone will go to keep a family together… 

My synopsis:  Ok so Jane’s daughter Betsy dies and Jane has been depressed and in aggressive treatment.  As the anniversary of her daughters death approaches and Jane’s husband plans a memorial service, she decides she is not going to be depressed anymore and is going to restart her life.  And so, Jane starts to talk to us.  She starts to tell us what is going on around her and how she plans to fix her life.  Jane starts to talk to us A LOT.  We get to know what kind of person she is and what is going on in her head, what she is thinking now, and even the thoughts from her past.   We are in Jane’s head so much that at times I even started to question my own sanity.  But the big question here, on everyone’s mind, is who really killed Jane’s daughter Betsy?  We are going to find that out.  Jane is going to help us find out.  But in order to find that out, we need to continue to spend time with Jane, listen to her talk, and try to decipher if this lady is just a really protective helicopter mom with her own mom issues, or a wack-a-doodle nut job.  You decide.   

Before I go any further, you need to know right now that you are going to end up hating Jane.  There is nothing you can do about it, its just her personality.  You will try, you will give her every benefit of the doubt, as I did, but its just Jane.  Get past it.  Appreciate who she is and what you are learning from her, because this, my friends is an amazing learning experience.  This is what it is like to be inside a narcissistic psychiatric patients mind.  This is such a unique perspective to be reading a story from, that it will drive you to want to keep reading.  It may even drive you to wonder a little bit more about the people around you.   

Kaira Rouda deserves a clear cut 4 ½ stars for this novel.  I devoured it in less than 24 hours.  I had read some reviews prior to receiving my copy that a few people DNF this book and it scared me, and after reading it I was able to understand why.  See, the back cover can be slightly misleading (why I felt it was important to include the synopsis at the beginning of the review).   This is truly a psychological thriller, emphasis on psych.  I think the few reviews that I read were upset because they thought they were reading a novel about loss and grief.  Because the back cover is so well worded to remain mysterious and not give away any secrets, I can understand the confusion.   I, on the other hand, was not left disappointed.  I truly loved this book and found the writing amazing.  Kaira Rouda did a phenomenal job researching the psyche of the narcissistic patient and was able to put to paper a story that a psychiatrist would have nightmares about.  This is not an easy task, and she deserves accolades for such an accomplishment.    

As a reader, if you are looking for something that will suck you in, consume you, and leave you completely reeling in the end, this is one for you.  It’s the perfect time for its release, right in time for summer, right in time for a book that will pull you out of your own life, if just for a little while.   


Thank You so much to Harlequin – Graydon House for the ARC of The Favorite Daughter for an unbiased and honest review.   

Published by ReadingGirlReviews

Serious book loving critical care RN dealing with RA, being married to a surgeon, my 2 crazy dogs, an obsession with crafting, and a mad desire to swing golf clubs (although quite poorly).

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