Disclaimer: This review contains spoilers and was sent to me for review. See my review policy here.
The Daughter’s Secret is an intriguing premise. Looking into the scandal of a teacher-student relationship after it happened and from the point of view of the student’s mother. Rosalind Simms is an overly anxious and paranoid character. This book certainly didn’t lack in complex characters. At times I could hardly keep up with the emotions whirling through the characters.
I enjoyed this book’s continuous ability to surprise me with the unexpected. Firstly, Ros’s affair that completely contradicted her characterisation, but I will admit that I did think Dan, her husband, and his affair were a little too easy to work out, though I did feel that it was intentional for the reader to know this while Ros was unaware. Secondly I really liked the perspective. This book was not some forbidden romance novel about how the freshly graduated teacher was seduced by the innocence of the young lady in his geography class and how they lived happily ever after once she was legal. It was a gripping tale of how Stephanie was left mentally and physically exhausted and hurt by the experience. Her constant wish to no longer be ‘the girl who ran off with her teacher’ is seen through her depression and affinity for alcohol.
I believe this book shows another side to the dangers of these kinds of relationships and how the aftermath can sometimes be much more affecting than the event itself. Literature needs to stop romanticising this and Eva Holland does this brilliantly. As a début, I was truly taken back by how some of the moments in the book effected me so. The moment where Ros is alone in the house and considers going to sit in the snow and wait for her family to find her is a thoroughly chilling moment.
Though I do think that this book is brilliantly written I did find myself rushing to the end about 200 pages in. I felt that it could have been a bit more compact and though I agree that every chapter was necessary and did contribute to the overall narrative I thought some were much more effective than others. My one and only issue was that Ros’s – I can’t even call him lover because they only kissed twice – emotional affair with Cam didn’t seem complex enough for him to travel all the way to Heathrow to confront her before her flight when she was only going on holiday. However, I understand that this is part of a ripple effect that causes Stephanie to run off.