Review of 'The Perfect Daughter' - Alex Stone
It seems highly appropriate that I read this in the run up to what is commonly believed to be the scariest night of the year - Hallowe'en. I love psychological thrillers and this was up there with the best I've read. It kept me on edge the whole way through, it kept me guessing almost until the very end and although it ended quite abruptly, for once I didn't mind. It was the perfect note upon which to end. It also leaves the story open for a potential sequel if the author so chooses.
The reason I wanted to review this book is because the blurb really grabbed me. I don't know anyone, myself included, who doesn't seek parental approval, even as an adult. I thought it would be interesting to see how taking that relationship and need for approval to an extreme level, could play out. The relationship between Jess and her mother is definitely abnormal, but I think the truly scary thing for me was the ease with which Jess' mother was able to manipulate her and control even her thinking.
As parents, we often blithely say that we would do literally anything for our children in order to keep them safe, happy etc but this book looks at what happens when we take that clichéd saying and run with it. At what point does keeping them safe turn from normal parental concern to obsession? We hear about parents who are jealous of their children's partners and who actively try to come between them. At what point do people go from thinking a person is bad for their child to actively trying to sabotage their relationship - all for the good of the child of course? Is there a fine line or is there a clear gap? In The Perfect Daughter nothing is clear, almost no one is exactly who they seem to be and in the middle of it all is us, the reader, trying to guess what is truly going on. The book is all told from Jess' perspective and her confusion mirrors ours.
The scariest stories are often those which are grounded in reality and this situation is one I think many people can probably identify with. This book is disturbing and worrying and I loved every minute of it!
Thank you to Netgalley and Boldwood Books for the ARC.