It’s no secret that I’m drawn to books featuring families with buried secrets and lies that threaten to unmask them. Daughter of Mine by Fiona Lowe turned out to tick a number of boxes for me.

Here’s the blurb:

Harriett Chirnwell has a perfect life — a husband who loves her, a successful career and a daughter who is destined to become a doctor just like her.

Xara has always lived in Harriet’s shadow; her chaotic life with her family on their sheep farm falls far short of her older sister’s standards of perfection and prestige.

Georgie, the youngest sister and a passionate teacher, is the only one of the three to have left Billawarre. But is her life in Melbourne happy?

Despite all three sisters having a different and sometimes strained bond with their mother, Edwina, they come together to organise a party for her milestone birthday — the first since their father’s death. But when Edwina arrives at her party on the arm of another man, the tumult is like a dam finally breaking. Suddenly the lives of the Chirnwell sisters are flooded by scandal. Criminal accusations, a daughter in crisis, and a secret over fifty years in the making start to crack the perfect façade of the prominent pastoral family.

Daughter of Mine drew me into the world of the Chirnwell sisters and their loves, losses and dreams, as well as the expectations, secrets and betrayals that complicate their lives. And yet, while this is about sisters to a degree, it’s even more so about daughters and the relationships they have with their mothers and as mothers. It’s as the sisters deal with changes in their mother’s life that old resentments surface, and the impacts are far reaching. The different perspectives are well drawn, giving insight into the resentments as well as the reflections that follow – for some this growth happens faster than others. What Fiona Lowe articulates so well is the way hurts are carried over from one generation to the next, sometimes consciously and sometimes not. And there’s a gentle reminder that sometimes hurt needs to be set free, enabling others to have freedom.

As a mother, daughter and sister, I related to Daughter of Mine on several levels, resulting in not only a great read, but something that held meaning for me. It’s a long book, at approx 500 pages, but its ease of reading and engaging storyline kept me turning pages to the end.

An uncomfortable feeling tried to settle over Harriet but she fought it off. She refused to feel any guilt about being the only one of her siblings to have a healthy and happy daughter. Then an idea slid in under her discomfort, offering her the perfect way to close her argument and bring Xara on board. ‘Do you talk to Georgie much?’

Click the image to read an extract.

Available from good bookstores (RRP $29.99). My copy was courtesy of Harlequin Mira.




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