A doting mother or a pushy parent?
Karen Bloom expects perfection. Her son, Ewan, has been something of a disappointment and she won’t be making the same mistake again with her beloved, talented child, Bronte.
Bronte’s every waking hour will be spent at music lessons and dance classes, doing extra schoolwork and whatever it takes to excel.
But as Karen pushes Bronte to the brink, the rest of the family crumbles. Karen’s husband, Noel, is losing himself in work, and his teenage daughter from his first marriage, Verity, is becoming ever more volatile. The family is dangerously near breaking point.
Karen would know when to stop . . . wouldn’t she?
The Trophy Child by Paula Daly is published in hardback by Bantam Press / Transworld on 25 January 2017.
I've been a fan of Paula Daly's writing for a few years now. I remember sitting up throughout the night to finish her novel Keep Your Friends Close, her writing is that gripping. I absolutely raced through The Trophy Child, snatching every spare moment I could to read just a few more pages. I was hooked from the opening paragraph, right through to the unexpected ending.
I don't have children, so can look at the lead character, Karen Bloom through the eyes of the child-free. I didn't like her. I didn't like her one little bit, but oh my goodness, she is one hell of a character. Paula Daly has created my absolute favourite type of lead voice in Karen; that person that you love to hate, that person who constantly surprises you with their words and their actions, and who, despite their hatefulness is the backbone in an excellent story.
Karen Bloom is a 'tiger mother', that fairly recently invented phrase that used to be called the 'pushy
mother'. Her one aim in life is to ensure that her ten year old daughter Bronte is the very best at everything that she does. Bronte's life is a whirlwind of music lessons, reading out loud, grabbing a sandwich on the run .... pressure, pressure, pressure. It's absolutely clear that Bronte knows nothing else but this life, and also that she's not actually particularly gifted in anything, but wants to please her mother. Karen's husband Noel is a GP and does everything he can to avoid her. Her teenage son Ewan, from a previous relationship spends most of his time stoned in his room, and Noel's daughter Verity, from his first marriage is seeking therapy to deal with her violent feelings towards Karen.
A truly dysfunctional family, but one with many secrets and many skeletons in their cupboards. When Bronte disappears, closely followed by Karen, the family is torn even further apart.
DS Joanne Aspinall heads up the investigations into the disappearances, and finds herself drawn closer and closer to Noel and his children. Sailing a little too close to the wind, and battling her very unprofessional feelings, she is determined to get answers.
The Trophy Child is a compelling and intriguing read. Paul Daly's writing shows incredibly sharp insight, she teases the reader. The plot is witty, incredibly well put together and filled with suspense. Sometimes unsettling, but always brilliantly executed.
An absolute thrill of a read. Highly recommended.
My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.
Paula Daly lives in Cumbria with her husband, three children and whippet Skippy.
Before becoming a writer she was a freelance physiotherapist.
Find her Author page on Facebook