I have been looking for a good thriller to read ALL YEAR.
I’d been burnt a couple of times by books masquerading as thrillers (and being anything but) or being utterly dreadful.
I was about to give up on the genre completely, The Daughter in law by Nina Manning was my final attempt. Luckily, it didn’t backfire, and I haven’t been put off for good.
From the back…
As a single mother, Annie has an especially close relationship with her son, Ben. They have always been together. Just the two of them. So, when Ben brings home his mysterious beautiful new wife, Daisy, immediately Annie doesn’t trust her. Who is this woman who has taken her son away from her? And what is she hiding?
She’ll protect him with her life…
When Ben disappears, suddenly Annie and Daisy are all the other one has. Alone in Annie’s big, remote house, just the two of them, the tension is rising. And like any protective mother, Annie will stop at nothing to expose her new daughter in law, and the secrets she is hiding.
I’m not going to give away any spoilers here, I’ll write as much as I can without ruining it for anyone who wants to read it.
So, this is Nina Manning’s debut phycological thriller – her latest two have come out this year and I will give them a read off the back of The Daughter in law, it’s eerie, incredibly creepy and very atmospheric.
Annie is the embodiment of over-protective mother, she will not allow anyone to come in between her and her son, as far as she’s concerned they only need each other, she’s obsessed and very, very weird. It’s fair to say she’s far from impressed with Ben’s whirlwind relationship and marriage to Daisy, she will do anything to get rid of Daisy.
I hated Annie from the get-go. She was sinister, over-bearing and creepy…..a perfect character for a thriller.
I wasn’t overly sure about Daisy, she comes across as silly, naïve. All the reader is sure of is that she’s hiding something but what, isn’t too clear. She’s cagey about her family, she’s guarded and doesn’t really let anyone get close, she has one friend, Eve, and clings to Ben seeing him as her protector and safety (to be honest I didn’t get why).
Ben needed to grow a pair. He would not stand up to Annie, it becomes clear early on that he doesn’t see his relationship with his mother in the same light that she does but he will not say anything to her and is reluctant to confront her over her treatment of Daisy when they first meet. He comes across as a bit of a 24-year-old man child who needed to cut the apron strings.
I loved the beach house setting, the isolated and creepy nature of Annie’s home. I could picture the desolate, old home, sat by the beach.
Each chapter is told from the perspective of Annie and Daisy, a third narrator is introduced part way through, at first sporadically, then towards the end the character in question takes every third chapter as the pieces begin to fall into place.
It did feel a little predictable in places, I don’t mind that in a thriller. I like trying to work out what the plot is and what the twists are, it’s why I watch Diagnosis Murder, Midsomer Murders, Murder She Wrote and a whole host of dreadfully cheesy detective shows. It wasn’t overly challenging, which for someone who’d over-indulged in prosecco on Christmas Day, was just perfect.
There were plenty of twists and turns throughout it, the story built slowly adding in tension, slowly making the reader feel unsure about the characters involved. Some may think it’s a bit silly in places; I didn’t think it was too over the top – I’ve read some thrillers that really are, to the point of them being ludicrous.
I enjoyed The Daughter in law, I liked the set up and the premise behind it, it did keep me gripped and was a great read to accompany a food coma after Christmas.
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