Popsugar Reading Challenge 2023 Prompt 23

As part of an Easter book swap, my secret elf sent me a copy of Daisy Darker by Alice Feeny. This would be a great choice for a few different prompts, including a book about family or a book with the character’s name in the title. Inside is an illustrated map of Seaglass, the family home featured in the story, so that’s the prompt I’m using it for.

What it’s about?

After years of avoiding each other, Daisy Darker’s entire family is assembling for Nana’s 80th birthday party in Nana’s crumbling gothic house on a tiny tidal island. Finally back together one last time, when the tide comes in, they will be cut off from the rest of the world for eight hours.

The family arrives, each of them harboring secrets. Then at the stroke of midnight, as a storm rages, Nana is found dead. And an hour later, the next family member follows…

Trapped on an island where someone is killing them one by one, the Darkers must reckon with their present mystery as well as their past secrets, before the tide comes in and all is revealed.

With a wicked wink to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, Daisy Darker’s unforgettable twists will leave readers reeling.

What I think:

Ooh, this is a dark, dark book.

An isolated house cut off by the sea, a family of generally unlikeable people who don’t get on, and it’s Halloween. This has all the elements for a perfectly creepy locked room mystery.

Told from Daisy’s point of view. She describes her older sisters and mother in a way that is both subjective and somehow distanced. Mother Nancy is self-obsessed and emotionally manipulative. Her children have been neglected and have spent large amounts of their childhood with their unconventional grandmother. Her father is more interested in his music career than his family.

Her sisters are also difficult and often spiteful. Rose is intelligent and career driven. As a vet, she gets in better with animals than people. Lily is beautiful but spoiled and lazy. She is cruel and spiteful and treats her daughter appallingly.

Daisy is quiet and nervous around her family. As a child, her heart conditions met she was treated differently. Her sisters are resentful that her grandmother’s bestselling book was named after her.

Brought together for a birthday party, the tension is palpable. Long held grudges and childhood gripes resurface. Death and violence are lurking behind the shadowy corners of a house filled with clocks.

The reader can not trust any of the characters. They all lie and manipulate, and there are so many secrets that are revealed, so of which are so dark and shocking. There are plenty of twists and turns.

I really enjoyed this. The ending is great and leaves you with lots to think about.

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