The first I have read from this author, Lauren Willig set the scene for a wonderful search for your roots story set in the 1920’s, While this story doesn’t quite fit into the historical romance genre, it has a ‘love’ ending with a twisted and shadowy path to that end.
The Other Daughter
Rachel had always believed her father to be deceased, but she and her mother lived a life of propriety, if counting every shilling, despite that. Intelligent and sensitive, if not always thoughtful of consequences or possible pitfalls, when she discovers that her now deceased mother has lied all of her 27 years, that her father is alive, an Earl and is not only well-off but has a daughter who is well-established in society, her anger takes over. She wants to exposed the Earl, ruin his reputation with the fact of her existence, and take some of the shine from his legitimate daughter.
From here the twists, turns and deceptions become the story as Rachel creates an alter-ego named Vera that she plans to use to bring down the Earl. Each new twist, and every revelation show hidden depths to the characters we meet: some good, some surprising and a very few turn out to be worse people with motivations both dark and self-serving. In her attempts to gain favor with the Earl’s daughter, Olivia, Rachel takes up with another person with some serious motivational questions of his own, Simon.
It would have been so easy for Willig to fully embrace the Jazz Age clichés as description of music, fashion and parties: these elements are present and occasionally overwhelm, but the story has become so much more than “another like” group. Blurring of lines between personal rights and wrongs, the grey areas that comprise a human being, and the constant reevaluation of intended goals (perhaps chosen in haste) and the eventual outcome are realistically portrayed and give a complete and nuanced sense of Rachel. She was, however, a bit naïve throughout the story: she has ‘dreams’ of revenge, although never really presents us with a more complete plan, even though they may be abandoned.
The romance you ask? She and Simon have a relationship that is constantly in question: she doesn’t know if she can trust him, yet continues on, she questions many of his moves and motives, yet proceeds forward. They do have some interesting interactions from witty to tense and bitter to incredibly sweet. He’s enigmatic and a bit closed off: I wanted more of his revelations TO Rachel, giving him more depth and nuance that we do find is solidly a part of Rachel by the end. Ultimately, this is an engaging and quite intriguing tale of curiosity and where it may take you. Not quite great (there was not enough solidity in the planning for me), this is a solidly good weekend read that will keep you entertained and amused.
Title: The Other Daughter
Author: Lauren Willig
Genre: Historical Fiction, Family Saga
Published by: St. Martin's Press
Published on: 21 July, 2015
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 10 Hours: 39 minutes
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Raised in a poor yet genteel household, Rachel Woodley is working in France as a governess when she receives news that her mother has died, suddenly. Grief-stricken, she returns to the small town in England where she was raised to clear out the cottage...and finds a cutting from a London society magazine, with a photograph of her supposedly deceased father dated all of three month before. He's an earl, respected and influential, and he is standing with another daughter-his legitimate daughter. Which makes Rachel...not legitimate. Everything she thought she knew about herself and her past-even her very name-is a lie.
Still reeling from the death of her mother, and furious at this betrayal, Rachel sets herself up in London under a new identity. There she insinuates herself into the party-going crowd of Bright Young Things, with a steely determination to unveil her father's perfidy and bring his-and her half-sister's-charmed world crashing down. Very soon, however, Rachel faces two unexpected snags: she finds she genuinely likes her half-sister, Olivia, whose situation isn't as simple it appears; and she might just be falling for her sister's fiancé...
From Lauren Willig, author of the New York Times bestselling novel The Ashford Affair, comes The Other Daughter, a page-turner full of deceit, passion, and revenge.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.