The Trophy Child by Paula Daly #BookReview

About this book…

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?

My review…

I have always looked forward to a new book coming out by Paula Daly ever since I was blown off my feet by her first book “Just What Kind of Mother Are You?”. I absolutely loved that book and thoroughly enjoyed the following 2 books as well. This is the fourth book now set in her trademark Lake District and again featuring DS Joanne Aspinall. Now I mentioned in my review of “The Mistake I Made” that I would love to get to know more about Joanne and I’m pleased to say that here we get much more of an insight into her personal life as she becomes involved in her latest case.

Paula Daly has once again given us a dark family orientated drama. But whereas before she took an ordinary family and a mother having to dig deep to save that family, here we meet a different type of mother. Karen is that very current phenomenon “the tiger mother”. She’s a pushy parent to the daughter Bronte that she has with her husband, GP Noel, and also mum to her own son Ewan and stepmum to Verity. Bronte lives a life stuffed full of activity to “encourage” her musical talents while her “helicopter mother” lives out her ambitions through her daughter. But is it all too much for ten year old Bronte?

I absolutely detested Karen from the moment she appeared. She was just so far from the ambitious but warm and caring parent that I had been expecting. She was rude, quite vicious in the way she spoke to everyone and totally unapologetic with it! I just kept waiting for that sliver of softness to peek through the curtain of poisonous backbiting, a buried deep reason for such behaviour, an eventual breakdown and visible vulnerability that would explain why! I thought Noel was a weak and downtrodden individual looking for an easy life, which obviously wasn’t a happy one, and I felt such an empathy with all the children because, as much as you want your child to succeed in life, at the end of the day a happy well adjusted adult is the aim of the game…..isn’t it?

There are twists and turns galore here, red herrings in shoals full and one rather jaw dropping moment for me that I totally did NOT see coming. In fact, I really thought I had the plot all worked out-how stupid do I feel now! I was miles off the mark with this one!

In my opinion, this is actually her best book since “Just What Kind of Mother Are You”. I loved the plotline and how I was made to feel about the characters. And I loved that a place as beautiful and peaceful as the Lake District is used as a foil to the dark goings on behind closed doors. Definitely recommend by me!

The Trophy Child is published by Transworld on 26th January and is available to purchase from Amazon UK here.

Meet the author…

Paula Daly lives in Cumbria with her husband, three children and whippet Skippy. Before becoming a writer she was a freelance physiotherapist.