Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Book Review: The Second Daughter

The Second Daughter
by J. Jeffrey


You try turning out all right after you overhear your mother wishing you hadn’t been born.
It had started out well. Umbrellas tangled. A storybook romance followed. A wonderful wedding. A beautiful, sweet first daughter. They were complete, a family, happy.
And then they went and had another daughter.
Her charming and witty father Theodore starts disappearing, then worse, starts coming back. Her once allegedly sweet older sister Regina angrily resents her, and the sisters are at constant war. Her mother Helen is so busy what-iffing about the life she might have had that she overlooks the life she is actually having. Everyone blames Debra for pretty much everything as the family slowly, then quickly, then one day explosively disintegrates. Along the way there are secrets and lies, heartbreaks and betrayals, plus the dramatic unexpected death of a central character at a pivotal moment. The now young woman finds herself living awkwardly alone with her embittered mother when the phone rings—and her mother’s secret past suddenly crashes back into the present.
Their life may be about to change forever; or rather, perhaps, revert back to what it should have been all along.
But not exactly because of that phone call, as it turns out.
Because of the remarkable second daughter. For what Debra Gale has is unyielding determination. What she has is an irrepressible capacity to love. 
And now at last what she has is a chance.
The complex dynamics of a changing family. Mother, daughters, sisters, and the father who both divides and unifies them. That dramatic unexpected death, plus more than the ordinary amount of banana cream pie. Welcome to The Second Daughter: a funny but poignant, unusual but beautiful love story.

My Review

   I have to admit, The Second Daughter didn’t immediately draw me in. It started out as kind of a slow read for me. I had already read the synopsis, and knew that the story was going to be a good one, so I read on. After a chapter or two, I couldn’t put it down. There was so much going on in this small family’s life that I had to keep reading to see what happened next.

   J. Jeffrey does a great job of creating a complex story that creates a wide range of emotions for the reader. You swoon over their love story, and get annoyed when Theodore shrugs off something important to Helen. You love their new baby, Regina, then feel bad for poor little Deb. You get angry at Regina for constantly getting Deb in trouble, then you are happy when Deb and Helen become best friends. So many things happen in this book that the reader cannot possibly predict what will happen next. Theodore’s character is completely irresponsible and unpredictable, while Helen is proper and organized. They seem to be one of those ‘opposites attract’ couples, but their relationship (and eventually lack thereof) is the source of only half of the family drama. 

   Regina is a calculating, conniving little girl. She is very jealous of her younger sister and frequently conspires ways to get her in trouble. Her personality is more like Helen’s, whereas Deb is more like Theodore. Because of the differences in their personalities, the girls’ parents never believe Deb when she tries to tell them that Regina has done something on purpose to get her in trouble. Their sibling rivalry lasted into adulthood, and is the other half of the family drama. 

   I absolutely recommend this book. One of the qualities I look for in a book is that it completely submerses me into the story. J.Jeffrey did a fabulous job of that. He incorporated just enough drama, romance and conflict into the story to keep me glued to my kindle and wish there was more to read at the end! 

About the Author:

J. Jeffrey stands about six foot three and likes poetry. He has been known to climb the occasional mountain and tame the occasional lion. He sings opera as an amateur but is trained as a masseur, and he is extremely partial to his wife’s green tea perfume. He drinks too much coffee, and gets lost a lot. Two words: Florence, Italy. Pastry for breakfast, over the crossword puzzle, preferably after noon. Soup for lunch, preferably late afternoon, over another puzzle (the first having been solved). His favorite drink (after coffee) is red wine. He knows a word or two but will not play scrabble. Regrettably, he believes he might be happy if only you would think him as funny as he thinks he is. But most importantly, he is not to be trusted. He writes biographies full of lies, or are they novels full of truths? Such a fine line.

You can purchase The Second Daughter on Amazon in paperback or Kindle edition. 



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