THE GOOD DAUGHTER - by Alexandra Burt

THE GOOD DAUGHTER - Alexandra Burt
Published: 2017 - by Avon.
Genres: Adult / thriller / contemporary fiction
Pages: 528.
Triggers/Content Advisory: There is an gang rape scene with occasional referrals and flashbacks. There's also one vague sex scene, and frequent, disturbing violence and gore.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Thank you so much to Jonathan Ball SA for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.
What if you were the worst crime your mother ever committed? Dahlia Waller's childhood memories consist of stuffy cars, seedy motels, and a rootless existence traveling the country with her eccentric mother. Now grown, she desperately wants to distance herself from that life. Yet one thing is stopping her from moving forward: she has questions. In order to understand her past, Dahlia must go back. Back to her mother in the stifling town of Aurora, Texas. Back into the past of a woman on the brink of madness. But after she discovers three grave-like mounds on a neighboring farm, she'll learn that in her mother's world of secrets, not all questions are meant to be answered...

WOW: I thought there would never be a thriller to rival The Girl on the Train. This book is a gut-load of despicable pain and tragedy, but it is so, so good.

The language, the writing, is where the book truly comes alive. It is incredibly emotive, bursting with sensory details. The vocabulary is astounding, the writing raw and real, and the tone gorgeously atmospheric. It's so rich and literally tangible, and I was completely sucked into the breathless, horrifying world.

It's exciting. Creepy, horrifying, dark and terrifying, but so gripping. It's clever but not remarkably so, and I did guess the twist a while before it was revealed, but I must admit I didn't actually mind. The story's strength is in its characters and writing, not its mystery. It's not so much about the destination, it's about the journey. And it works fine that way - even for a thriller.
The suspense is thick and intense, but it's a bit of a love-hate thing for me. I felt like the author kept dangling the climatic answers to the many secrets right in front of me, and then snatching them away to prolong the revelations for yet another chapter. It's not a deal breaker, just a bit frustrating and worth mentioning.

{She} was a strong woman; strong but damaged. Those are the dangerous ones.

The story is heartbreaking. The horrors experienced by the characters are twisted, vile, agonising, and intense. It's dark and extremely sad, with deep internal and moral conflict festering beneath the surface. I think the author is talking as much about justice as she is about relationships.

The characters are fascinating and realistic. They're elusive, complicated, and hurting. The changing points of view (I think there are at least three women who get the chance to tell it from their perspective) do get a bit confusing at times, but as the story processes and the perspectives get limited to Quinn and Dahlia, it's fine; just the getting there is a bit bumpy.

I didn't love any of the characters, but I ached for them. I loved all the different, diverse relationships because of their depth and twisted dynamics, and I adored how the layers of each character's personality slowly get peeled back. Each person is unique and three dimensional, and Burt gets inside each individual mind brilliantly.
The romance of the story can hardly be called a subplot, but I have to mention it because I loved it. I loved Dahlia and Bobby's relationship. I loved their relationship arc, their individual storylines that effect each other, and that their romance never once distracts from the main plot. It's a surprisingly mature and realistic romance, and I adored it.

The Good Daughter is a standout of the genre. With its excellent, extremely evocative writing and vivid, dynamic, painfully flawed characters warped in darkness and brokenness, it's as much about human nature as it about secrets. It's a story that digs deep - literally and metaphorically - and has forever made an impression on me.


  1. I haven't heard of this one before, but you've definitely piqued my interest with your review. I love good writing in a book, and when you add in a thriller aspect I'm basically sold. Great review, Amy! I'm so happy you were able to find a thriller to rival GIRL :)

    Lauren @ Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf

    1. Glad you like the look of it, yay!
      Thanks Lauren :) Haha me too.

  2. GAH, this thriller sounds super enticing! I usually can't handle heavy topics though, so I'm probably going to skip this one.

    xoxo Abigail Lennah | ups & downs

    1. It is! But yeah, it's also definitely heavy.
      Thanks for the comment, Abby :)

  3. Wow, this one sounds seriously intense. I don't often read thrillers but I'm going to keep this one in mind for when I'm in the mood for something grittier.

    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

    1. Definitely is :)
      Yay, do! It's so good.