Dear Daughter – Bad girl heroine with a witty turn of phrase

An attention grabbing opening and a bad girl heroine with a distinctive voice who may or may not have murdered her mother make for an interesting proposition in Elizabeth Little’s debut novel, Dear Daughter.

Janie Jenkins has served ten years in jail when she is released on a technicality. She dons a disguise and embarks on a mission to find out who killed her socialite, philanthropist mother. Topping the list of suspects, at least in the eyes of the media on her tail, is Janie Jenkins herself.

Family secrets

Janie’s quest in Dear Daughter takes her to a small town in South Dakota where she encounters a wide cast of characters and uncovers a web of family secrets: “Is everyone in this town related?” “Seems that way, sometimes. Mom always says it’s like a Thanksgiving dinner that never ends.”

Elizabeth Little uses news reports, text messages and the Internet which give Dear Daughter a thoroughly contemporary feel. Some of the news reports are among the best passages in the book.

Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little is published by Random House/Vintage. ISBN: 9781448189915 An ARC was provided via Netgalley for the purpose of this review.