The Favorite Daughter by Patti Callahan Henry
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
I was so excited to win The Favorite Daughter in a Goodreads giveaway. I have been swamped with ARCs that I’ve requested lately, which always trump my reading schedule so I wasn’t able to get to this one before June 4th when it published. But better late than never!
Lena is getting married to Walter. She wants a small wedding, but her family insists that she must have a huge celebration. So she allows her sister Hallie to plan the wedding for her. On the morning of the wedding Hallie is nowhere to be found, until Lena finds her behind Door #1 making out with… Walter (i.e. the-groom-to-be). Lena is obviously devastated and runs away to New York City to mend her broken heart and escape the utter humiliation. Fast forward 10 years later and Lena must return home to take care of her father who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. Which means she must face Hallie (who is now married to Walter) and a past she wishes she could forget.
This book is entirely about memories. Lena’s father is devastated at the thought of losing his memories. Meanwhile, Lena wishes she could forget. There is a nice juxtaposition here that I enjoyed. Patti Callahan Henry’s writing transported me to the Carolinas and I felt like I was in the small family town, sitting at the Irish pub, interacting with the locals. I could envision it all.
The story wasn’t anything crazy. It is the simple story of a complicated family. But it was written so beautifully that I couldn’t put it down. I empathized with the main character. I could feel her anger and her struggle with letting go. I could feel her turn herself off to the world and retreat into her protective shell.
I enjoyed the surprises we learned along the way, the author slowly revealing the Donohue family secrets. And I enjoyed the overall message this book is trying to send to its readers about love, loss, and forgiveness. This is a really solid family drama that I would highly recommend.
I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Goodreads, Patti Callahan Henry, and Berkley Publishing for the opportunity to review.