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Daughter of Mine


Daughter of Mine

Megan Miranda, the bestselling author of THE ONLY SURVIVORS and other highly acclaimed works, returns with DAUGHTER OF MINE. This explosive, twist-filled murder mystery is set in a small town suffering the effects of a drought that threatens to bring all of its secrets to the surface…and the harsh light of the truth.

Thirteen years ago, Hazel Sharp’s world imploded when her mother vanished without a trace. Right before going off the grid, Hazel’s mother drained the accounts of both her employer and her husband, and she relieved her husband’s home of everything of value. The horror would be enough to level anyone, but rather than being comforted and supported, 14-year-old Hazel was outcast by her brothers and her community. In Mirror Lake, you need strong generational roots to be believed or trusted. Hazel’s mother was more of a nomad, an interloper into both the town and the small, grief-ravaged family of Detective Perry Holt and his sons, Gage and Caden, who already had lost their mother to a biking accident.

"Hazel’s feelings of claustrophobia and isolation are emotionally resonant, and they add a delicious layer of tension to the story.... Intimately written, fast-paced and twisty, DAUGHTER OF MINE is easily one of Miranda’s best novels."

Hazel had been accustomed to her mother’s ways, long familiar with uprooting and assimilating, and acutely aware of the secrets she carried to each new town and new home. But Hazel was also her mother’s daughter, and she has kept the secret of her mother’s final communication with her for years: a note, addressed to “Daughter of mine,” pleading with Hazel to forgive her.

Now, Hazel is a successful home renovator living in Charlotte, two hours away from the claustrophobic town of Mirror Lake, where everyone knows everyone --- their secrets, their failings, their betrayals --- and every single interaction carries great weight. She is called back home, though, when Perry dies of a heart attack, only to receive an even bigger shock when a car is dragged from the depths of the lake that borders her childhood home and gives the town its name. As Perry’s funeral is interrupted by reports of the wreckage and theories about who could have abandoned their vehicle there and why, Hazel receives yet another stunning blow. Perry has left the family home to Hazel…and close to nothing to his sons.

The reveal would be enough to floor anyone. Hazel already feels like an outsider in both her family and the town, especially now that Gage and Caden are police officers themselves, members of an elite brotherhood known for protecting their own. As she struggles to manage Perry’s home and accounts, still grappling with her own grief and feelings of alienation, another car is discovered in the lake. Like the first one, it has been stripped of its license plates and any identifying information, save for two crucial items.

Hazel has long thought about why and how her mother could abandon her so easily. But now she must consider something else: Is there a pattern here? Is there something she either didn’t see then or isn’t seeing now? How is it that Perry, a man who is beloved and respected by his community, has lost two wives under similar circumstances? And why is no one asking these same questions?

Hazel’s anxieties are amplified when Caden’s wife, Jamie (her childhood best friend), goes missing as well. Caden claims that the two were fighting and even implies that Hazel, whom he has never trusted, encouraged Jamie to flee. But even so, he doesn’t seem concerned about her disappearance or why she would leave their daughter alone. Full of questions both decades old and new, Hazel can’t help but wonder: Did Perry leave her the house overlooking the lake so that she --- not a police officer herself, but raised in the profession and blessed with a keen eye --- could take over and put an end to the mysteries once and for all? The drought, it seems, is not done airing Mirror Lake’s dirty secrets, one of them being that a lot of the Holt women seem to die or disappear under mysterious circumstances.

It’s no secret that Megan Miranda can wrangle a mystery --- and all of its red herrings and curveballs --- like a skilled lion tamer. But here she pays equal attention and care to the emotional plotlines, digging deep into a dysfunctional, tightly wound family, as well as the brotherhood of the police force that has sustained it. Hazel’s feelings of claustrophobia and isolation are emotionally resonant, and they add a delicious layer of tension to the story.

As is common in her books, Miranda explores the theme of past vs. present, and the ways that long-buried secrets can resonate and reverberate decades later. This allows her protagonist (and her readers) to revisit past mysteries with new insights and perspective, while still being forced to reckon with their past. This is true not only for Hazel, but also for her brothers and childhood love, another child of a detective.

Intimately written, fast-paced and twisty, DAUGHTER OF MINE is easily one of Miranda’s best novels.

Reviewed by Rebecca Munro on April 16, 2024

Daughter of Mine
by Megan Miranda