April 09, 2024

Daughter of Mine

By Megan Miranda
Review by
In Daughter of Mine, Megan Miranda commits to her flirtation with gothic elements, embracing all things creepy, unexplainable and unreliable.
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When she was 8 years old, Hazel Sharp came to Mirror Lake, North Carolina, with her mother, a grifter who, in the span of six years, married the local police detective, embezzled money from her brother-in-law and vanished, leaving Hazel behind. Hazel spent her adolescence balancing relief that her stepfather still loved her with suspicion surrounding her mother’s crimes and disappearance.

After her stepfather dies, Hazel is shocked to learn that he left her his lake house. Her two stepbrothers are similarly stunned and immediately suspicious of Hazel. Her curious inheritance comes with its own mysteries, like lights turning on by themselves, shadowy figures appearing in photos and cryptic messages left behind by her stepfather. Then, Hazel’s world is thrown into even more chaos when a relentless drought causes the murky waters of Mirror Lake to recede and reveal two sunken cars. One of the cars is the vehicle her mother allegedly fled in.

Megan Miranda’s last thriller, The Last to Vanish, danced with adding gothic elements to its remote Appalachian setting. In Daughter of Mine, the bestselling author fully embraces the gloom. The tone is decidedly oppressive, as if a noxious secret is waiting to envelop Hazel and Mirror Lake like a fog. The other residents’ open hostility to Hazel, who was after all just a child when her mother’s embezzlement occurred, doesn’t seem so much unrealistic as it does befitting of the threatening atmosphere. Another chilling element is how Hazel’s stepfather appears to be communicating with her from beyond the grave, both in extremely creepy notes left on the fridge—check the basement, check the crawl space, check the attic—and the fact that he left the house entirely to Hazel rather than his biological children, as if he knew only she can uncover the secrets it keeps. Hazel is something of an unreliable narrator, but not because she’s dishonest: Her memories of the summer her mother disappeared are understandably clouded by the fact that she was only 14 when it happened.

In Daughter of Mine, Miranda commits to her flirtation with the gothic, embracing all things creepy, unexplainable and unreliable as the mystery unravels.

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Daughter of Mine

Daughter of Mine

By Megan Miranda
Marysue Rucci
ISBN 9781668010440

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