Paula Daly is acclaimed for her distinctive voice, masterful plotting, and terrifying depictions of ordinary people whose everyday lives are turned upside down through deception and murder. In her unsettling new domestic thriller, The Trophy Child, Daly digs beneath the serene surface of the idyllic suburban Lake District community where families strive for perfection, delivering a suspenseful, surprising story of motherhood and fallibility.
Karen Bloom is not the coddling mother type. She believes in raising her children for success. Some in the neighborhood call her assertive, others say she’s driven, but in gossiping circles she’s known as: the tiger mother. Karen believes that tough discipline is the true art of parenting and that achievement leads to ultimate happiness. She expects her husband and her children to perform at 200 percent—no matter the cost. But in an unending quest for excellence, her seemingly flawless family start to rebel against her.
Her husband Noel is a handsome doctor with a proclivity for alcohol and women. Their prodigy daughter, Bronte, is excelling at school, music lessons, dance classes, and yet she longs to run away. Verity, Noel’s teenage daughter from his first marriage, is starting to display aggressive behavior. And Karen’s son from a previous relationship falls deeper into drug use. When tragedy strikes the Blooms, Karen’s carefully constructed facade begins to fall apart—and once the deadly cracks appear, they are impossible to stop.
A thrilling tale of ambition and murder, Daly’s richly imagined world of suburban striving and motherly love is an absorbing page-turner about the illusions of perfection and the power games between husband and wife, parent and child.
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW
This is the first Paula Daly novel that I have read and I just loved it. The thing is it isn’t a fast paced racy read but one that weaves itself into your mind and just simply builds into what I can only describe as one to be highly recommended to everyone.
These days it is not unusual to find mixed families and that is the case for this story. Three children Ewan being Karen’s son from an earlier relationship, Verity is the daughter of GP Noel, her mum is in a care home having developed severe MS and finally Bronte, who is the daughter of both Karen and Noel. Unfortunately they are far from the perfect family. Karen is very much the commander to be heard by everyone. The one to be obeyed and Noel is the down trodden husband that goes along with everything for a peaceful life.
Although Verity is a very bright young girl Karen is determined to mould Bronte into a little genius at everything possible. The dislike that Karen holds form Verity is quite heart breaking. Karen is ruthless in the pursuit for perfection for Bronte to the point where she cannot even feel her little fingers regularly from all the practising she does to become an accomplished musician besides an outstanding student that is academically untouchable.
When Bronte disappears while in the care of Verity it becomes a case for DS Joanne Aspinall whom I really took to straight away. She certainly gave me one of the best ever cringe worthy moments that I have read. One I could see coming and had to read with just one eye open, brilliant, and I am sure one that has happened for real at more than one time.
This story just kept growing with far more to it that I ever thought was going to happen. I really enjoyed the style of Paula Daly’s writing, the different characters that grew at different rates, really like people you meet, some you sus straight away others you need time to work them out as there is far more to them than first thought. A very clever story one that gave me a lot to think about morally in so many ways. Super read.
HERE IS A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHOR