"The Trophy Child" by Paula Daly

Release Date: March 7, 2017

Tiger mothers have nothing on Karen Bloom. Things may have not turned out so well with her son Ewan but she is definitely not letting her daughter Bronte slip through the cracks. Straight A’s, music lessons, and dance classes dominate the young prodigy’s life. Karen expects her family to always be at 200 percent and nothing less.

But behind the facade of the perfect family lies a wealth of secrets. Karen’s husband Noel, a successful small-town doctor has a taste for women and alcohol. Noel’s teenage daughter Verity is under strict discipline at school and at home due to her aggressive behaviour. And Bronte, the one on whom everything rests, longs to run away from it all.

When Bronte actually does go missing, a domino effect hits the family. As tragedy strikes the family again, all of their secrets and lies begin to spill out, leading readers to wonder how far people will go in their quest for perfection in The Trophy Child by Paula Daly.

After reading What Kind of Mother Are You, Paula Daly became an author whose books I will always pick up. I love a thriller and her books easily make their mark in a genre that is becoming increasingly popular. I also like how all of her novels are set in the Lake District of England. There is something about a small, close-knit community setting that makes these books even more interesting. 

This book caught my interest because of this whole notion of the perfect family. It seems that the advancement of social media has taken this idea of painting a picture of perfection to new heights. It’s no longer about keeping up with your neighbours, it’s about keeping up with people around the world. And if there is one thing we know about social media, it’s that not all is what it seems. It’s easy to paint a picture that doesn’t actually exist. And yet many people fall into this trap of illusions, just as Karen Bloom does in this book.

Paula Daly really knows how to write characters that will grab on to the reader. I felt so much emotion for the children in this book and so much anger toward Karen. The lack of emotion I felt toward the husband Noel also shows just how well Daly has created characters that feel real.

I think the title could have been different for this book. It leads one to think that the book is more about Bronte when it really is about Karen and what her quest for perfection has done to her family. Because of the title I was really wanting more of the emotional side of it all for Bronte. 

This book actually ended up being more of a picture of a dysfunctional family than actual thriller for me, which is okay, but I really didn’t read the book I thought I was going to. A good read, not my favourite of Daly’s, but a good commentary on the notion of perfection.

I received a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher through NetGalley. The opinions expressed above are my own.


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