Lulu and Merry’s childhood was never ideal, but on the day before Lulu’s tenth birthday their father drives them into a nightmare. He’s always hungered for the love of the girl’s self-obsessed mother; after she throws him out, their troubles turn deadly.
Lulu’s mother warned her to never let him in, but when he shows up, he’s impossible to ignore. He bullies his way past ten-year-old Lulu, who obeys her father’s instructions to open the door, then listens in horror as her parents struggle. She runs for help and discovers upon her return that he’s murdered her mother, stabbed her sister, and tried to kill himself.
For thirty years, the sisters try to make sense of what happened. Their imprisoned father is a specter in both their lives, shadowing every choice they make. Though one spends her life pretending he’s dead, while the other feels compelled to help him, both fear that someday their imprisoned father’s attempts to win parole may meet success.
There are times when I pick up a book that I instinctively know that I’ll need some tissues. Granted, the name of this book is a clue in and of itself.. “The Murderer’s Daughters”, you can’t get any more tragic than that, but I really didn’t know anything else about the story.
Before I talk about everything I did appreciate in the book, I’d like to first mention that the cover is what drew me to the book and, in retrospect after having read the story contained inside, the cover really is not a fair representation of the story. Maybe I missed it (or maybe I wasn’t really looking) but I don’t recall a single scene where what is pictured on the cover happened.
That said, let me tell you what I liked about this book. I liked that I was given a very accurate, well-written, no-holds barred view on what the reality is like for two girls who suffer from having a self-centered mother and an abusive father. Did I like the actual story? No, of course not. But I did appreciate the open, honest voice the author gave to both Lulu and Merry. I appreciated the lack of sickly sweet forgiveness lessons there were. When I read a story like this I really don’t want to feel preached at or made to feel as if political views are being forced on me. Randy Susan Meyers achieved that balance in a manner that, despite it’s depressing message, this story gave me a glimmer of hope while tugging my heartstrings.
I’m grateful I got the chance to read and review this book and, for those of you drama lovers out there, this is a book you should not miss.
About the Author
The dark drama of Randy Susan Meyers’ debut novel is informed by her years of work with batterers, domestic violence victims, and at-risk youth impacted by family violence.
Randy Susan Meyers’ short stories have been published in the Fog City Review, Perigee: Publication for the Arts, and the Grub Street Free Press.
In Brooklyn, where Randy was born and raised, her local library was close enough to visit daily and she walked there from the time she figured out the route. In many ways, she was raised by books, each adding to her sense of who she could be in this world. Some marked her for horror. Reading In Cold Blood at too tender an age assured that she’d never stay alone in a country house. Others, like Heidi by Johanna Spyri, made her worship her grandfather even more.
Some taught her faith in the future.
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith was the only bible Randy ever owned, her personal talisman of hopefulness. Each time she read it, she was struck anew by how this author knew so much and dared to write it.
Randy now lives in Boston with her husband and is the mother of two grown daughters. She teaches writing seminars at the Grub Street Writers’ Center in Boston.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from TLC Book Tours. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”