I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher Harlequin AU via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
*Contains minor spoilers – read with caution*
Quick fire review:
These twists are chilling. This book came to me at a time I needed it the most. I was deep in a reading slump and Only Daughter pulled me out. I loved the main character and all of the sub-characters had me guessing to the very end. This is creepy as fuck and when the twists are revealed, you’ll be squirming in your seat. Definitely give this a go if you love a good thriller.
In 2003, sixteen-year-old Rebecca Winter disappeared.
She’d been enjoying her teenage summer break: working at a fast-food restaurant, crushing on an older boy and shoplifting with her best friend. Mysteriously ominous things began to happen—blood in the bed, periods of blackouts, a feeling of being watched—though Bec remained oblivious of what was to come.
Eleven years later she is replaced.
A young woman, desperate after being arrested, claims to be the decade-missing Bec. Soon the imposter is living Bec’s life. Sleeping in her bed. Hugging her mother and father. Learning her best friends’ names. Playing with her twin brothers. But Bec’s welcoming family and enthusiastic friends are not quite as they seem. As the imposter dodges the detective investigating her case, she begins to delve into the life of the real Bec Winter—and soon realizes that whoever took Bec is still at large, and that she is in imminent danger.
I haven’t been this consumed by a thriller since I read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.
I don’t know what to say about this book without giving too much away. Our main narrator who has assumed the identity of missing teen Rebecca Winter is never named, so for the purpose of this review, I am going to refer to the characters as the below:
- 2003 Missing – Lost Bec
- 2014 Fugitive – Fake Bec
So Fake Bec is running around an Australian town embarking on a little crime spree because she is cold, starving and running away from her life. Arrested for trying to steal a loaf of bread, she immediately sees a way out and begins claiming she is the missing Rebecca Winter.
So begins our tale of mystery and deceit.
“I’ve always been good at playing a part: the mysterious seductress for the sleazebag, the doe-eyed innocent for the protector.”
Fake Bec is very manipulative and it is clear that she knows how to talk her way out of a sticky situation. Unfortunately for her, there are a plethora of people who have been wondering where she has been for the last 11 years and so she begins to spin a web of lies – that eventually lead her to the truth. I wouldn’t say I loved this character but I did enjoy her as a narrator and it was admirable to know that underneath her ‘every man for themselves’ demeanor, she really does become concerned for the well being of this stories real victim, Lost Bec.
I really liked Lost Bec and couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. She is stuck between a rock and a hard place for most of the book; shit family, shit job and shit life. Her best friend Lizzie is the one redeeming person in her life and I loved hearing their quips – they are best friends in the truest sense of the term.
We get to spend a lot of time with the Winter family in both the past and present tense. Lost Bec’s family are strange to say the least. I wasn’t sure what to make of them as I was reading this and even now I’ve finished, I’m not sure. Their dynamic is unlike anything I’ve read before and they somehow manage to be caring and present while being equally distant from their newly found daughter. From the moment you meet them whey they go to pick up Fake Bec, it feels like they are harbouring a big secret and the more involved she becomes with the family, the quicker their personas start to unravel. There are some very interesting power plays in this family that as an outsider, Fake Bec is able to manipulate to her advantage for the majority of the book.
“No one really could disappear. You always still existed somewhere.”
Just when you think you have it all figure out, Snoekstra throws you a curveball that takes you on a wild ride.
What I really enjoyed about this book was the pacing. It is written in two distinct styles: the first from the perspective of Fake Bec living in the present, the other from the perspective of Lost Bec living in the past. These two timelines weave together almost seamlessly and I thought it was a fantastic way to dive into both characters psyche while pushing the story along. I was anxiously awaiting the next Lost Bec chapter so I could figure out what the hell happened to the poor girl.
Only Daughter is populated with some helpful souls and some absolutely horrendous assholes that each served the story in their own ways.
Sure it isn’t the perfect book, but all the bones of what make a thriller a great read are there and I can’t fault a book that had me guessing to the very end. The only thing I will say is that it would’ve been nice to have an extended epilogue because the ending does feel cut off at the knees – I have so many questions that will never be answered. Sigh.
If this sounds like a book for you, check out more reviews on Goodreads.
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