A doting mother or a pushy parent?
Karen Bloom expects perfection. Her son, Ewan, has been something of a disappointment and she won’t be making the same mistake again with her beloved, talented child, Bronte.
Bronte’s every waking hour will be spent at music lessons and dance classes, doing extra schoolwork and whatever it takes to excel.
But as Karen pushes Bronte to the brink, the rest of the family crumbles. Karen’s husband, Noel, is losing himself in work, and his teenage daughter from his first marriage, Verity, is becoming ever more volatile. The family is dangerously near breaking point.
Karen would know when to stop . . . wouldn’t she?
What draws me to Paula Daly’s books is that they are domestic dramas and address family life, but always with a little twist – which is never the twist you actually expect it to be.
Karen – the ultimate Tiger Mother – was, I hoped, a caricature of the pushy parent, but the more I read of the book, the more I feared that actually she wasn’t, and that we all know a mother with elements of her character (I then spent the rest of the book hoping that I didn’t recognise bits of me!).
The Bloom family were each likeable and unlikeable in their own ways, and a reminder of the very complicated modern family, and I also couldn’t help feel sorry for the older children, already written off by Karen in favour of ‘her talented child’. But Bronte herself is also a sweet little character, going along with Karen’s demands without complaint just because she wants to make her mum happy.
As with Paula’s other books, the Lake District setting plays a big part in the story, and the rainy, wintry conditions of the story are described beautifully – along with the frustrations of living in an area besieged by tourists!
Another huge reason why I like these books is Joanne Aspinall. She has been the go-to police officer in all of Paula Daly’s books, and I like her. As a character she is a no-nonsense woman who has flaws and worries and I have really warmed to her, the more I read. Joanne seems to struggle in the love life department, and let’s just say I am hopeful for her after the ending of this book!
As ever, The Trophy Child has a thrilling and twisty plot which could go in any number of directions, until the solution is finally revealed, and while the book gives you all the clues you’ll need to solve the mystery yourself, it’s a bigger brain than mine that can work it all out!
Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.