Published by Berkley Books on June 4th 2019
Genres: Women's Fiction
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Bookshop at Water's End, here is a lush, heart-wrenching novel about the power of memory, the meaning of family, and learning to forgive.
Ten years ago, Lena Donohue experienced a wedding-day betrayal so painful that she fled the small town of Watersend, South Carolina, and reinvented herself in New York City. Though now a freelance travel writer, the one place she rarely goes is home--until she learns of her dad's failing health.
Returning to Watersend means seeing the sister she has avoided for a decade and the brother who runs the family's Irish pub and has borne the burden of his sisters' rift. While Alzheimer's slowly steals their father's memories, the siblings rush to preserve his life in stories and in photographs. As his secret past brings Lena's own childhood into focus, it sends her on a journey to discover the true meaning of home.
The Favorite Daughter is a deeply affecting and poignant story about family, home and finding forgiveness. This is the first book by Patti Calahan Henry that I’ve read and it certainly won’t be the last. I’ve read plenty of books that made my heart ache, that made me sad and angry, but this story absolutely gutted me on so many levels. I haven’t cried to the extent this book made me cry in a VERY long while.
PCH’s writing is absolutely stunning. The story is perfectly plotted out so that the events that bring Colleen home also compel her to reevaluate her stance on what drove her away. And it is a doozy! She is not a woman prone to dramatics and as she spends time with her family, we experience all the heartache that’s kept her away. The full extent of the effects of the betrayal is profound and made me so incredibly angry. I would say I felt inexplicably protective of Colleen, but I think it can be attributed to PCH’s writing talent.
So while I cried about the heartbreak she experienced and is clearly still impacting her relationships, a larger heartbreak is still to come and one that would be cathartic for me. I was most touched because the situation with her father is one that I’ve experienced. Early onset Alzheimer’s is devasting to any family, that I can attest to. In The Favorite Daughter, the heartache of the diagnosis is compounded by the stress and separation of the family. There are some major revelations that come to light as the siblings, Colleen, Shane, and Hallie work to give their father Gavin Donohue a memorable birthday. But will proximity to each other makes it worse, or help them to heal? While I sat bawling on my sofa I wondered how things would ever be made right. I had some strong doubts it could be done but PCH made it happen.
Reading this book really felt like a journey. The underlying theme of this book is about memories. What they are and how they define us, more so how we let them define us. The takeaway being that is we are open to a change in perspective, that may change a memory. They are not always factually based. In fact, they are mostly about how we felt or feel in a moment and that perspective can change your memory of an event; good and bad. PCH started every chapter with a quote and I looked to that to give me an idea as to what was coming. I have soooo many highlights and just reading back through them brings up all the feels. I rarely re-read books but I already see myself embarking on a second and third read through and I predict it will be in the very near future. It might not be for everyone, but I HIGHLY recommend this book. It’s smart, easily balanced between being thought-provoking and emotion-inducing. Exactly what makes for a great read by my standards.
~Review by Cyndi
Praise for The Favorite Daughter
“Readers of thoughtful family dramas will be drawn to the travails of the Donohue clan.” —Booklist
“In exquisitely-wrought prose, Patti Henry lyrically examines the meaning of forgiveness and the inexorable tug of home.” —Mary Kay Andrews, New York Times bestselling author of The High Tide Club
“The Favorite Daughter is both heartfelt and heartbreakingly honest in its portrayal of a family once divided by scandal and brought together through the power of memories. Moving, intelligent, full of twists and turns, I loved it! Patti Callahan Henry shines at family dramas and The Favorite Daughter is her best!” —Mary Alice Monroe, New York Times bestselling author of The Summer Guests
“A layered, spellbinding novel about families and lovers and the meaning of home. Above all, it’s about memory, how it shapes us, fools us, and warms our hearts. This is one truly beautiful book.” —Nancy Thayer, New York Times bestselling author of A Nantucket Wedding