REVIEW: OPEN YOUR EYES, BY PAULA DALY

 

Jane Campbell avoids confrontation at any costs. Given the choice, she’ll always let her husband, Leon―a bestselling crime writer―take the lead, while she focuses on her two precious young children and her job as a creative writing teacher. After she receives another rejection for her novel, Leon urges Jane to put her hobby to rest. And why shouldn’t she, when through Jane’s rose-tinted glasses, they appear to have the perfect house and the perfect life?

But then Leon is brutally attacked in their driveway while their children wait quietly in the car, and suddenly, their perfect life becomes the stuff of nightmares. Who would commit such a hateful offense in broad daylight? With her husband in a coma, Jane must open her eyes to the problems in her life, as well as the secrets that have been kept from her. Although she might not like what she sees, if she’s committed to discovering who hurt her husband―and why―Jane must take matters into her own hands.

 

My Thoughts: I am a big fan of Paula Daly, so I was eager to read Open Your Eyes. From the very beginning, I was caught up in the lives of Jane and her husband Leon. What happened to him upended their lives, and as I rapidly turned the pages, I kept asking myself who among their acquaintances would have done such a horrendous thing? But as Jane makes discoveries and realizes the extent of Leon’s secrets, she is afraid. And when the police seem to be looking in all the wrong directions, Jane tries to figure some of it out on her own. But will her efforts take her into more dangerous places?

I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next, so the pages flew by. Just when I thought I had it figured out, the answers came seemingly out of nowhere. I loved how the twists and turns took us into the dark side of the publishing world. 5 stars.

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LET’S CURL UP WITH “THE TROPHY CHILD”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

My spotlight today turns to an e-ARC from NetGalley, with a release date of March 7, 2017.  The Trophy Child, by Paula Daly, is a richly imagined world of suburban striving and motherly love, an absorbing page-turner about the illusions of perfection and the power games between husband and wife, parent and child.

 

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Intro:  (Monday, September 21)

The girls’ changing room smelled heavily of sweat, mud and a sickly-sweet deodorant that was beginning to irritate the back of her throat.  She didn’t have a lot of enthusiasm for hockey.  Not a lot of enthusiasm for school, full stop, now that she was on a probationary period.  It was to be a period of indeterminate length, during which her behavior would be monitored by a variety of well-meaning professionals.

Verity Bloom:  not quite a lost cause.

Not yet.

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Teaser:  (Part Two: Monday, October 5)

Verity could hear classical music playing in a far-away room.  She had no idea who the composer was but she recognized the piece from a car-insurance commercial.  After gawping at Jeremy Gleeson’s set of watercolours for what felt like the hundredth time, she decided he must be running late and so she pulled out Educating Rita from her rucksack. (42%).

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Synopsis:  Paula Daly is acclaimed for her distinctive voice, masterful plotting, and terrifying depictions of ordinary people whose everyday lives are turned upside down through deception and murder. In her unsettling new domestic thriller, The Trophy Child, Daly digs beneath the serene surface of the idyllic suburban Lake District community where families strive for perfection, delivering a suspenseful, surprising story of motherhood and fallibility.

Karen Bloom is not the coddling mother type. She believes in raising her children for success. Some in the neighborhood call her assertive, others say she’s driven, but in gossiping circles she’s known as: the tiger mother. Karen believes that tough discipline is the true art of parenting and that achievement leads to ultimate happiness. She expects her husband and her children to perform at 200 percent—no matter the cost. But in an unending quest for excellence, her seemingly flawless family start to rebel against her.

Her husband Noel is a handsome doctor with a proclivity for alcohol and women. Their prodigy daughter, Bronte, is excelling at school, music lessons, dance classes, and yet she longs to run away. Verity, Noel’s teenage daughter from his first marriage, is starting to display aggressive behavior. And Karen’s son from a previous relationship falls deeper into drug use. When tragedy strikes the Blooms, Karen’s carefully constructed facade begins to fall apart—and once the deadly cracks appear, they are impossible to stop.

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I love how this author zeroes in on complex family issues and keeps me turning the pages.  What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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