Dear Daughter: A Novel by Elizabeth LittleDear Daughter: A Novel by Elizabeth Little

Dear Daughter: A Novel

byElizabeth Little

Paperback | July 28, 2015

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•  Winner of the Strand Critics Award for Best First Novel  •  Nominated for the Barry and Macavity Awards for Best First Novel   •  Longlisted for the CWA John Creasy (New Blood) Dagger Award

“Quick-witted and fast-paced, this debut mystery should be a hit with Gone Girl fans.” People magazine 

"This is an all-nighter . . . The best debut mystery I've read in a long time."—Tana French 

“A really gutsy, clever, energetic read, often unexpected, always entertaining. I loved Janie Jenkins’s sassy voice and Elizabeth Little’s too. In the world of crime novels, Dear Daughter is a breath of fresh air.” —Kate Atkinson, New York Times bestselling author of Life After Life

A sensational debut thriller featuring an unforgettable heroine who just might have murdered her mother

Former “It Girl” Janie Jenkins is sly, stunning, and fresh out of prison. Ten years ago, at the height of her fame, she was incarcerated for the murder of her mother, a high-society beauty known for her good works and rich husbands. Now, released on a technicality, Janie makes herself over and goes undercover, determined to chase down the one lead she has on her mother’s killer. The only problem? Janie doesn’t know if she’s the killer she’s looking for.

Janie makes her way to an isolated South Dakota town whose mysteries rival her own. Enlisting the help of some new friends (and the town’s wary police chief), Janie follows a series of clues—an old photograph, an abandoned house, a forgotten diary—and begins to piece together her mother’s seemingly improbable connection to the town. When new evidence from Janie’s own past surfaces, she’s forced to consider the possibility that she and her mother were more alike than either of them would ever have imagined.

As she digs tantalizingly deeper, and as suspicious locals begin to see through her increasingly fragile facade, Janie discovers that even the sleepiest towns hide sinister secrets—and will stop at nothing to guard them. On the run from the press, the police, and maybe even a murderer, Janie must choose between the anonymity she craves and the truth she so desperately needs.

A gripping, electrifying debut novel with an ingenious and like-it-or-not sexy protagonist, Dear Daughter follows every twist and turn as Janie unravels the mystery of what happened the night her mother died—whatever the cost.

A graduate of Harvard University, Elizabeth Little is the author of the nonfiction books Biting the Wax Tadpole and Trip of the Tongue. She lives in Los Angeles with her family.
Title:Dear Daughter: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 8.4 × 5.4 × 0.8 inPublished:July 28, 2015Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0143127365

ISBN - 13:9780143127369

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Rated 2 out of 5 by from Meh. I read this book for a book club and didn't really have any expectations, but I found the story weird and not very exciting, and the characters didn't make sense to me. There were too many people to keep straight (along with every character's idiosyncrasies) and it just wasn't to my taste. Wouldn't recommend.
Date published: 2018-05-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read! I really enjoyed this book ! some parts were pretty slow but the overall story is pretty good!
Date published: 2017-05-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from not bad! I liked this alright! I thought this one was more of a character study rather than a whodunit. Not super fast paced but enjoyable nonetheless.
Date published: 2017-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Kind of quirky...but couldn't put it down!! This was a fast paced novel with quirky characters and enough twists in the plot to keep you guessing. Janie is my kind of gal...nothing cookie cutter about this "heroine"!!
Date published: 2015-08-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Had potential but fell a little flat I actually listened to the audiobook version. The narrator did an excellent job bringing to life spoiled celebutante Janie. I know I may be in the minority but I really liked her snark and found her quite amusing. This audio version also used music and announcers for the faux media reports from CNN and TMZ which was pretty great. They sounded just like the real thing! The central mystery had a lot of potential but the story was a little too slow moving to build up any real suspense. I enjoyed it but it could have been a lot more compelling. 3.5/5 stars
Date published: 2015-02-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A page turner! I liked this book. Its not a complicated plot with particularly deep characters, but I still enjoyed it and definitely needed to know how it ended. I loved the Hollywood aspect of Janie's character and liked the inserts from TMZ and other media. Will read her next book for sure.
Date published: 2014-12-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best debut novel I've read in ages, masterfully written! "Dear Daughter" is Elizabeth Little's debut novel and it captures you from the first page. We start out right away learning that Jane Jenkins was accused and convicted of her mother's brutal murder ten years ago. Two interesting twists happen right away. One, Janie doesn't remember if she actually did kill her mother, she has little to no memory of that horrible night. Two, her conviction is overturned when the lab that did the DNA testing is found to have mishandled evidence. Sharp, vivid writing flows from Elizabeth Little's pen. She shapes a multidimensional, emotionally fragile yet contradictorily tough as nails character in Jane Jenkins. Jane, or Janie as the paparazzi like to call her, was at the height of her celebutaunt fame when her very wealthy mother was murdered. Jane's notoriety made her fodder for every scandalous rag and ambulance chasing lawyer throughout the trial. When her conviction is over turned and Janie is released there is a rabid hunt to find out where she is and what she'd doing now. Jane becomes unsafe wherever she goes. The main character is crafted beautifully by Elizabeth Little. Jane is intelligent, sly, manipulative, beautiful and condescending. But strangely, as the book continues, you begin to like her. The reader is drawn into the mystery of who Jane really is and who really murdered her mother. As Jane follows the tiniest clues to find answers and tries to winnow out the truth from people who want to keep their secrets, we find ourselves rooting for the underdog, Jane. She may have a sharp tongue and a smart mouth but as you learn of her upbringing you, find yourself unsurprised at her behavior. I found myself mesmerized by this novel. For me, it was like a palate cleansing between courses in an expensive meal. I usually read a certain kind of mystery, the grizzly P.I., the frustrated yet tenacious cop, the befuddled but determined amateur sleuth. This mystery was nothing like that. The author's writing style is so wonderfully digestible. The character Jane Jenkins is fully explored and beautifully robust. It was a singular pleasure to read such a well wrought mystery with unexpected twists and turns, fully developed side characters and enough red herrings thrown in to keep even the most sophisticated mystery reader on their toes. This book was a five out of five for me, in fact, especially since it's Elizabeth Little's first novel, I think it deserves more than the maximum stars, it deserves a whole constellation.
Date published: 2014-08-03

Editorial Reviews

“When former It Girl Janie Jenkins is released from prison, she embarks on a mission to discover if it was really she who murdered her mother. The debut novel’s twists will easily hook you, but it’s the narrator’s dark wit and sharp observations that make this a truly fun read.”  —Entertainment Weekly    “Little keeps you guessing until the end — and then closes her book with a final, twisted flourish.” —Daneet Steffens, The Boston Globe   “Compelling. . . . This novel's engrossing suspense comes from its unreliable (and not especially likable) narrator who pursues answers with relentless fervor, regardless of the painful truths she turns up about herself. . . . Excellent.” —Stephanie Klose,   “Engrossing. . . The unlikable protagonist with a biting personality and outrageous actions, but who is fascinating at the same time, has never been more popular. Just think of Gone Girl. In her confident fiction debut, Elizabeth Little puts a fresh spin on this character in the form of Jane Jenkins, a young woman famous for being famous until she was sent to prison for the murder of her wealthy socialite mother. Little also makes Dear Daughter a parable about the cult of the celebrity stoked by a relentless press and a ruthless public’s thirst for details of a woman it loves to hate.” —Associated Press    “This is not your mother’s mystery. The clever, prickly and profane heroine is, after all, a former It Girl whose aim as a teen was to be the next Paris Hilton, only better. . . . Sassy and lively. . . . The book’s satisfying conclusion somehow manages to tie things up while also providing a cliffhanger, a pretty neat trick for a debut novel.” —Colleen Kelly, The Minneapolis Star Tribune    “The best debut crime novel of 2014, a spiky, voicey, jolting, surprising story of a celebutante convicted of murdering her mother . . . Little also produces one of the best endings of 2014, too.”—Sarah Weinman, The National Post (Canada)   “A former It Girl hunts down her mom’s murderer in this can’t-put-down thriller.” —Cosmopolitan    “Do you want a mystery novel that you can stay up all night reading and then take to the beach to finish it off the next day? Elizabeth Little’s Dear Daughter is pretty much all you need: the tale of a former high society girl who gets out of prison and goes on a mission to find out who really killed her mother.”  —Flavorwire (Must-Read Books for August)    “In prison for her mother’s murder, L.A. socialite Jane Jenkins is released on a technicality. To track down the real killer Jane gets plain, goes underground and stirs up dangerous amounts of dirt in her mom’s South Dakota hometown.” —Good Housekeeping    “[A] fun and riveting debut mystery.”  —The San Diego Union Tribune   “Part celebrity, part sleuth and all sass, the memorable Janie Jenkins is out to prove she didn't murder her mother in this smart debut thriller. . . . Little drives Dear Daughter with the string of surprises and buried secrets revealed as Janie unravels the mystery of her mother's past. It is a thriller much like Gillian Flynn's blockbuster Gone Girl--except instead of the East Coast literary angst of Flynn's protagonists stuck in Missouri, Little's Midwest visitor really does have L.A. ‘glitter in her veins.’”  —Shelf Awareness    “Little makes a thrilling debut with this gripping read. Fans of Tana French and Gillian Flynn are going to enjoy the smart narrator and the twists and turns in the case.”  —Library Journal (starred review)    “Agatha Christie meets Kim Kardashian in this sharp-edged, tart-tongued, escapist thriller. . . A stylishly written tale that plays off our culture's obsession with celebrity scandal.” —Kirkus Reviews    “Stunning and chilling. . . . A harrowing story that will keep readers on the edge of their seat. The ending is like a punch in the nose, coming out of nowhere and leaving readers breathless. Whether you take this mystery to the beach or relax in front of your air conditioner, this is a novel you should not miss.” — “Clever. . . . This is a killer debut, in every sense of the word!” —BookPage“[An] assured fiction debut . . . Little effectively intersperses outside perspective in the form of emails, text messages, and other communications in Jane’s entertainingly caustic first-person narrative.”—Publishers Weekly“Janie keeps them all guessing . . .  An unusual protagonist who will intrigue readers who favor strong, smart women.”—Booklist“A really gutsy, clever, energetic read, often unexpected, always entertaining. I loved Janie Jenkins’s sassy voice and Elizabeth Little’s too. In the world of crime novels, Dear Daughter is a breath of fresh air.”—Kate Atkinson, New York Times bestselling author of Life After Life“Dear Daughter has three of my favorite things in a book: a smart, damaged, unstoppable narrator with a slicing sense of humor; needle-sharp writing that brings characters and atmosphere leaping off the page; and a vivid, original plot full of satisfying twists. This is an all-nighter, and the best debut mystery I've read in a long time.”—Tana French, New York Times bestselling author of Broken Harbor and In the Woods“Clever, original, and darkly witty, Dear Daughter’s many twists will keep you on your toes as you fall under the spell of its unapologetic, whip-smart narrator.” —Kimberly McCreight, New York Times bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia   “What a devilish, delightful treat of a novel! Crackling with wit and shining with originality, Dear Daughter is the kind of whirlwind mystery that will keep you hooked—and guessing—until the very end.” —Sara Shepard, New York Times bestselling author of Pretty Little Liars