The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

Review published on March 11, 2017.

We all know of them, even if not personally acquainted – the Tiger Mother who has every minute of her child’s day accounted for and the spineless father who may be concerned but does nothing to intervene. Dysfunctional stepfamilies are not uncommon and they provide the backdrop to this page-turning psychological thriller. What happens when the pressure becomes too much for a child to cope with?

I’m not going to say much about the plot because it’s fast-moving and I don’t want to reveal any spoilers, but I very quickly found myself gripped and lost in the world of the Bloom family – GP Dad Noel, his second wife Karen, daughters Verity and Bronte, and stepson Ewan. All the action takes place over the course of a few months, although the situation has been simmering for some time. Despite the fast pace, you never lose sight of who’s who, which makes it an easy, straightforward read. I did find credibility stretched a few times towards the end, but that could be because I’m someone who doesn’t necessarily need every loose end tied up. Set in Cumbria, it was a real surprise to find Noel heading to Peebles (where I live) even though he didn’t actually make it!

An effortless and rewarding personal read, it also raises a lot of issues for reading group discussion. I imagine everyone will be able to identify people they know who resemble the main characters. This is my introduction to Paula Daly’s writing, but I’ll now be investigating her backlist.

Clare Donaldson 4/4

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly
Bantam Press 9780593075210 hbk Jan 2017

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The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths

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Elementary, She Read by Vicki Delany

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