Most of Dahlia Waller’s earliest memories take place in her mother’s car. They were constantly packing up and leaving in the middle of the night, driving to parts unknown. They would stay in the new place for a while, living in the cheap motels where her mother, Memphis, worked as a housekeeper and got paid ‘under the table’. Dahlia knew they wouldn’t stay long; they never did. Sooner or later they would leave, moving on to another motel in another town… it was an oft-repeated cycle that Dahlia was told had to do with Paperwork… which they didn’t have. It was the reason Dahlia was home-schooled, instead of going to school like other children did.
After years of moving from one place to another, Memphis took Dahlia to Aurora, Texas… and they stayed. Dahlia was enrolled in school, and able to make lasting friendships for the first time in her life. Memphis never told Dahlia why she chose to stay in Aurora; she was an obsessively private woman who shared very little with anyone, including her daughter. Dahlia left when she was 18, and didn’t return for 15 years—she wanted answers about her strange childhood, and Memphis was the only person who could provide them. To Dahlia’s dismay, Memphis is as tight-lipped as ever, and seems to be teetering on the edge of madness.
Before Dahlia can attempt to get any answers, she discovers a woman who has been left for dead in the woods. This sets off a chain of events that apparently pushes her mother over the edge of sanity, leaving Dahlia to search for answers on her own… answers that are not only heartbreaking, but horrifying.
Intriguing right from the start, The Good Daughter is layer upon layer of mystery. What I’ve described above touches on only two of the characters in this multi-faceted story. There are several others we meet along the way—two in particular where we see the action through their points of view. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I can’t give any details other than to say they all have an important role in the overall story. It’s puzzling early on, trying to figure out how all the pieces of this complex story fit together. Once everything starts to fall into place, you can’t help but appreciate the skill it took for Burt to craft such a complicated story. This is the first novel I’ve read by Alexandra Burt, but it definitely won’t be the last!
Author: Alexandra Burt
Title: The Good Daughter
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Published: February 7, 2017 by Berkley
About the Book
From the author of Remember Mia comes the tale of a young woman in search of her past, and the mother who will do anything to keep it hidden…
What if you were the worst crime your mother ever committed?
Dahlia Waller’s childhood memories consist of stuffy cars, seedy motels, and a rootless existence traveling the country with her eccentric mother. Now grown, she desperately wants to distance herself from that life. Yet one thing is stopping her from moving forward: she has questions.
In order to understand her past, Dahlia must go back. Back to her mother in the stifling town of Aurora, Texas. Back into the past of a woman on the brink of madness. But after she discovers three grave-like mounds on a neighboring farm, she’ll learn that in her mother’s world of secrets, not all questions are meant to be answered…
About the Author
Born in Fulda, Germany, a baroque town in the East Hesse Highlands, I spent my childhood accompanying my two older brothers on local countryside adventures, roaming abandoned farm houses, ancient beech woods cratered by WW2 bombings, and sandstone towers rumored to have housed witches waiting to be burned at the stakes. A gluttonous reader long before online bookstores, grocery store crime novels, and large book chains cropped up in every city, I made do with a small town library in the city hall building. After I exhausted the children’s section, I moved on to crime fiction and serial killers.
While pursuing literary translations, I decided to tell my own stories. After three years of writing classes and gluttonous reading, my short fiction appeared in the Freedom Fiction Journal, All Things Girl, and MUSED Literary Review.
I currently live in Central Texas with my husband, my daughter, and two Chocolate Labrador Retrievers.
I am currently working on my third novel.
Author photo and bio via Goodreads.