The Other Daughter [NOOK Book]

Overview

BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Lisa Gardner's Love You More.

Twenty years ago, Melanie Stokes was abandoned in a Boston hospital, then adopted by a wealthy young couple. Gifted with loving parents, a doting brother, and an indulgent uncle, Melanie has always considered herself lucky. Until the first cryptic, threatening note arrives: “You Get What You ...
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The Other Daughter

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Overview

BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Lisa Gardner's Love You More.

Twenty years ago, Melanie Stokes was abandoned in a Boston hospital, then adopted by a wealthy young couple. Gifted with loving parents, a doting brother, and an indulgent uncle, Melanie has always considered herself lucky. Until the first cryptic, threatening note arrives: “You Get What You Deserve.”

Melanie has no memory of her life before the adoption. Now someone wants her to remember it all—even the darkest nightmare the Stokes family ever faced: the murder of their first daughter. As Melanie pursues every lead and chases every shadow in search of her real identity, two seemingly unrelated events from her past will come together in a dangerous explosion of truth.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In her newest, Gardner The Perfect Husband indulges her fascination with the dark side of family life, where the ties that bind also gag, choke and strangle. Professional event planner Melanie Stokes does not suspect that the death of a serial killer in a Texas electric chair 20 years before could have any relevance to her neatly ordered existence. But as it becomes clear that the life she's known as the adopted daughter of Boston cardiologist Harper Stokes and his trophy wife, Patricia is based on ugly secrets and bloody lies, her world unravels. With the help of FBI Agent David Riggs, who makes up for his lack of physical agility--the result of ankylosing spondylitis bad back problems--with finely honed reflexes, street smarts and pure sex appeal, Melanie unearths what an intricately planned 25-year-old cover-up can't hide: the gruesome truth about her parentage. Once again, Gardner serves up suspense at a furious pace. July Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Jill M. Smith
If you love great suspense, then camp out at your local bookstore and make sure you get your hands on this incredible new novel. Ms. Gardner has just vaulted into the big leagues with this intricate, chilling and unbelievably suspenseful tale.
Romantic Times
From the Publisher
“Just when you thought Lisa Gardner couldn’t get any better . . . she does.”—Lee Child

"A dark, powerful tale of nerve-shattering suspense."—Tami Hoag

"Readers get loads of angst, great procedural stuff, some hair-raising action scenes, and a villain to keep you awake at night. What more can any thriller reader want?"—Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine

"Gardner delivers a streamlined bang-up addition to the oeuvre of Tami Hoag, Karen Robards, Elizabeth Lowell and, these days, even Nora Roberts."—Publishers Weekly

"Scary, gritty, terrifying. Lock the door, leave on a light."—Oakland Press

"A page-turner."—Rocky Mountain News

“[A] suspenseful, engrossing page-turner…Totally absorbing, it’s one of those books that keeps you up late, enslaved by the ‘just one more chapter’ syndrome.” —Mystery News

“Sheer terror…a great read.”–Iris Johansen“Sheer terror…a great read.”—Iris Johansen

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553900873
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/28/2004
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 9,927
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Lisa Gardner
Lisa Gardner is the New York Times bestselling author of thirteen novels. Her Detective D. D. Warren novels include Love You More, Live to Tell, Hide, Alone, and The Neighbor, winner of the International Thriller Writers’ Award. Her FBI Profiler novels include Say Goodbye, Gone, The Killing Hour, The Next Accident, and The Third Victim. She lives with her family in New England.

From the Paperback edition.

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Read an Excerpt

Twenty years later

She was late, she was late, oh, God, she was so late!

Melanie Stokes came bounding up the stairs, then made the hard left turn down the hall, her long blond hair whipping around her face. Twenty minutes and counting. She hadn't even thought about what she was going to wear. Damn.

She tore into her room with her sweatshirt half pulled over her head. A strategic kick sent the heavy mahogany door slamming shut behind her as she shed the first layer of clothes. She toed off her tennis shoes and sent them sailing beneath the pine bureau that swallowed nearly a quarter of her bedroom. A lot of things came to rest beneath the battered dresser. One of these days she meant to clean it out. But not tonight.

Melanie hastily shimmied out of her ripped-up jeans, tossed her T-shirt onto the sleigh bed, and hurried to the closet. The wide plank floorboards felt cool against her toes, making her do a little cha-cha-cha along the way.

"Come on," she muttered, ripping back the silk curtain. "Ten years of compulsive shopping crammed into one five-by-five space. How hard can it be to locate a cocktail dress?"

To judge by the mess, pretty hard. Melanie grimaced, then waded in fatalistically. Somewhere in there were a few decent dresses.

At the age of twenty-nine, Melanie Stokes was petite, capable, and a born diplomat. She'd been abandoned as a child at City General Hospital with no memory of where she came from, but that had been a long time ago and she didn't think of those days much. She had an adoptive father whom she respected, an adoptive mother whom she loved, an older brother whom she worshiped, and an indulgent godfather whom she adored. Until recently she had considered her family to be very close. They were not just another rich family, they were a tight-knit family. She kept telling herself they would be like that again soon.

Melanie had graduated from Wellesley six years earlier with her family serving as an enthusiastic cheering section. She'd returned home right afterward to help her mother through one of her "spells," and somehow it had seemed easiest for everyone if she stayed. Now she was a professional event organizer. Mostly she did charity functions. Huge black-tie affairs that made the social elite feel social and elite while simultaneously milking them for significant sums of money. Lots of details, lots of planning, lots of work. Melanie always pulled them off. Seamless, social columnists liked to rave about the events, relaxed yet elegant. Not to mention profitable.

Then there were the nights like tonight. Tonight was the seventh annual Donate-A-Classic for Literacy reception, held right there in her parents' house, and, apparently, cursed.

The caterer hadn't been able to get enough ice. The parking valets had called in sick, the Boston Globe had printed the wrong time, and Senator Kennedy was home with a stomach virus, taking with him half the press corps. Thirty minutes ago Melanie had gotten so frustrated, tears had stung her eyes. Completely unlike her.

But then, she was agitated tonight for reasons that had nothing to do with the reception. She was agitated, and being Melanie, she was dealing with it by keeping busy.

Melanie was very good at keeping busy. Almost as good as her father.

Fifteen minutes and counting. Damn. Melanie found her favorite gold-fringed flapper's dress. Encouraged, she began digging for gold pumps.

During the first few months of Melanie's adoption, the Stokeses had been so excited about their new daughter, they'd lavished her with every gift they could imagine. The second floor master bedroom suite, complete with rose silk wall hangings and a gold-trimmed bathroom, where she needed a stool just to catch her reflection in the genuine Louis IV mirror, was hers. The closet was the size of a small apartment, and it had been filled with every dress, hat, and, yes, gloves ever made by Laura Ashley. All that in addition to two parents, one brother, and one godfather who were shadowing every move she made, handing her food before she could think to hunger, bringing her games before she could think to be bored, and offering her blankets before she could think to shiver.

It had been a little weird.

Melanie had gone along at first. She'd been eager to please, wanting to be happy as badly as they wanted to make her happy. It seemed to her that if people as golden and beautiful and rich as the Stokeses were willing to give her a home and have her as a daughter, she could darn well learn to be their daughter. So she'd dressed each morning in flounces of lace and patiently let her new mom cajole her straight hair into sausage curls. She'd listened gravely to her new father's dramatic stories of snatching cardiac patients from the clutches of death and her godfather's tales of faraway places where men wore skirts and women grew hair in their armpits. She spent long afternoons sitting quietly with her new brother, memorizing his tight features and troubled eyes while he swore to her again and again that he would be the perfect older brother for her, he would.

Everything was perfect. Too perfect. Melanie stopped being able to sleep at night. Instead, she would find herself tiptoeing downstairs at two a.m. to stand in front of a painting of another golden little girl. Four-year-old Meagan Stokes, who wore flounces of lace and sausage-curled hair. Four-year-old Meagan Stokes, who'd been the Stokeses' first daughter before some monster had kidnapped her and cut off her head. Four-year-old Meagan Stokes, the real daughter the Stokeses had loved and adored long before Melanie arrived.

Harper would come home from emergency surgeries and carry her back to bed. Brian grew adept at hearing the sound of her footsteps and would patiently lead her back to her bedroom. But still she'd come back down, obsessed by the painting of that gorgeous little girl whom even a nine-year-old girl could realize she was meant to replace.

Jamie O'Donnell finally intervened. Oh, for God's sake, he declared. Melanie was Melanie. A flesh-and-blood girl, not a porcelain doll to be used for dress-up games. Let her pick her own clothes and her own room and her own style before the therapy bills grew out of control.

That piece of advice probably saved them all. Melanie left the master bedroom suite for a sunny third-story bedroom across from Brian's room. Melanie liked the bay windows and low, slanted ceilings, and the fact that the room could never be mistaken for, say, a hospital room.

And she discovered, during a clothing drive at school, that she liked hand-me-downs best. They were so soft and comfortable, and if you did spill or rip something, no one would notice. She became Goodwill's best customer for years. Then came the trips to garage sales for furniture. She liked things banged up, scarred. Things that came with a past, she realized when she was older. Things that came with the history she didn't have.

Her godfather was amused by her taste, her father aghast, but her new family remained supportive. They kept loving her. They grew whole.She was late, she was late, oh, God, she was so late!

Melanie Stokes came bounding up the stairs, then made the hard left turn down the hall, her long blond hair whipping around her face. Twenty minutes and counting. She hadn't even thought about what she was going to wear. Damn.

She tore into her room with her sweatshirt half pulled over her head. A strategic kick sent the heavy mahogany door slamming shut behind her as she shed the first layer of clothes. She toed off her tennis shoes and sent them sailing beneath the pine bureau that swallowed nearly a quarter of her bedroom. A lot of things came to rest beneath the battered dresser. One of these days she meant to clean it out. But not tonight.

Melanie hastily shimmied out of her ripped-up jeans, tossed her T-shirt onto the sleigh bed, and hurried to the closet. The wide plank floorboards felt cool against her toes, making her do a little cha-cha-cha along the way.

"Come on," she muttered, ripping back the silk curtain. "Ten years of compulsive shopping crammed into one five-by-five space. How hard can it be to locate a cocktail dress?"

To judge by the mess, pretty hard. Melanie grimaced, then waded in fatalistically. Somewhere in there were a few decent dresses.

At the age of twenty-nine, Melanie Stokes was petite, capable, and a born diplomat. She'd been abandoned as a child at City General Hospital with no memory of where she came from, but that had been a long time ago and she didn't think of those days much. She had an adoptive father whom she respected, an adoptive mother whom she loved, an older brother whom she worshiped, and an indulgent godfather whom she adored. Until recently she had considered her family to be very close. They were not just another rich family, they were a tight-knit family. She kept telling herself they would be like that again soon.

Melanie had graduated from Wellesley six years earlier with her family serving as an enthusiastic cheering section. She'd returned home right afterward to help her mother through one of her "spells," and somehow it had seemed easiest for everyone if she stayed. Now she was a professional event organizer. Mostly she did charity functions. Huge black-tie affairs that made the social elite feel social and elite while simultaneously milking them for significant sums of money. Lots of details, lots of planning, lots of work. Melanie always pulled them off. Seamless, social columnists liked to rave about the events, relaxed yet elegant. Not to mention profitable.

Then there were the nights like tonight. Tonight was the seventh annual Donate-A-Classic for Literacy reception, held right there in her parents' house, and, apparently, cursed.

The caterer hadn't been able to get enough ice. The parking valets had called in sick, the Boston Globe had printed the wrong time, and Senator Kennedy was home with a stomach virus, taking with him half the press corps. Thirty minutes ago Melanie had gotten so frustrated, tears had stung her eyes. Completely unlike her.

But then, she was agitated tonight for reasons that had nothing to do with the reception. She was agitated, and being Melanie, she was dealing with it by keeping busy.

Melanie was very good at keeping busy. Almost as good as her father.

Fifteen minutes and counting. Damn. Melanie found her favorite gold-fringed flapper's dress. Encouraged, she began digging for gold pumps.

During the first few months of Melanie's adoption, the Stokeses had been so excited about their new daughter, they'd lavished her with every gift they could imagine. The second floor master bedroom suite, complete with rose silk wall hangings and a gold-trimmed bathroom, where she needed a stool just to catch her reflection in the genuine Louis IV mirror, was hers. The closet was the size of a small apartment, and it had been filled with every dress, hat, and, yes, gloves ever made by Laura Ashley. All that in addition to two parents, one brother, and one godfather who were shadowing every move she made, handing her food before she could think to hunger, bringing her games before she could think to be bored, and offering her blankets before she could think to shiver.

It had been a little weird.

Melanie had gone along at first. She'd been eager to please, wanting to be happy as badly as they wanted to make her happy. It seemed to her that if people as golden and beautiful and rich as the Stokeses were willing to give her a home and have her as a daughter, she could darn well learn to be their daughter. So she'd dressed each morning in flounces of lace and patiently let her new mom cajole her straight hair into sausage curls. She'd listened gravely to her new father's dramatic stories of snatching cardiac patients from the clutches of death and her godfather's tales of faraway places where men wore skirts and women grew hair in their armpits. She spent long afternoons sitting quietly with her new brother, memorizing his tight features and troubled eyes while he swore to her again and again that he would be the perfect older brother for her, he would.

Everything was perfect. Too perfect. Melanie stopped being able to sleep at night. Instead, she would find herself tiptoeing downstairs at two a.m. to stand in front of a painting of another golden little girl. Four-year-old Meagan Stokes, who wore flounces of lace and sausage-curled hair. Four-year-old Meagan Stokes, who'd been the Stokeses' first daughter before some monster had kidnapped her and cut off her head. Four-year-old Meagan Stokes, the real daughter the Stokeses had loved and adored long before Melanie arrived.

Harper would come home from emergency surgeries and carry her back to bed. Brian grew adept at hearing the sound of her footsteps and would patiently lead her back to her bedroom. But still she'd come back down, obsessed by the painting of that gorgeous little girl whom even a nine-year-old girl could realize she was meant to replace.

Jamie O'Donnell finally intervened. Oh, for God's sake, he declared. Melanie was Melanie. A flesh-and-blood girl, not a porcelain doll to be used for dress-up games. Let her pick her own clothes and her own room and her own style before the therapy bills grew out of control.

That piece of advice probably saved them all. Melanie left the master bedroom suite for a sunny third-story bedroom across from Brian's room. Melanie liked the bay windows and low, slanted ceilings, and the fact that the room could never be mistaken for, say, a hospital room.

And she discovered, during a clothing drive at school, that she liked hand-me-downs best. They were so soft and comfortable, and if you did spill or rip something, no one would notice. She became Goodwill's best customer for years. Then came the trips to garage sales for furniture. She liked things banged up, scarred. Things that came with a past, she realized when she was older. Things that came with the history she didn't have.

Her godfather was amused by her taste, her father aghast, but her new family remained supportive. They kept loving her. They grew whole.

From the Paperback edition.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 1733 )
Rating Distribution

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(637)

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(529)

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(319)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 1749 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2000

    A Thriller At It's Best

    This is my first book that I have read by Lisa Gardner. It was one of those books you can't put down. Otherwise you go through out the day wondering what is going to happen next or who actually did what. It took me 2 days to read it. READ IT!!!! Great book

    34 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 10, 2011

    Good Read

    Good read keep me guessing did not want to put down. The only reason I did not rate it more it had some useless sexual content that was not necessary to the plot, that part read like a romance novel.

    26 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Highly recommended

    Provides a thought provoking and thoroughly entertaining experience. This is the best nookbook out there, along with The Blue Light of Portland I just completed.

    21 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 1999

    A Must Read!

    Excellent style of writing. This book keeps the readers interest all the way to the shocking end! A must have for all suspense lovers!

    15 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2000

    A great book!

    what a wonderful book. it keep me going. kelly/nj

    11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 30, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Impressed

    I loved reading this book! It was thrilling, through provoking and it has a story that keeps you entertained for hours.

    10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2011

    Waste of time....

    ...and completely horrible. The writing is predictable and characters are incredibly flat. I feel silly that I wasted my time ready this book. Save your money.

    9 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 24, 2009

    Disappointed

    I can see this is where Gardner was still transitioning from romantic novels to thrillers. Her characters were not likable, the plot was just okay. I love all her other books and characters but was very disappointed with this one. I recommend to skip this book if you are reading them in order. You will not be missing anything.

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2000

    Nonstop, Page turning anticipation

    This book was so hard to put down. I finished it so quickly and found it to be very suspenseful and well written.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2000

    This book was GRRRREAT!

    This is my first book from Lisa Gardner and I just loved it! I would recommended to anyone who like thrilling suspense!

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 4, 2011

    You Have Got To Be Kidding!

    I can't believe this was on anyone's best seller list. This story was so disjointed-overly detailed in some parts and then characters and key story elements coming from out of nowhere. This reminds me of the type of writing a freshman in highschool might produce. The story concept itself was decent ,but poorly written and very frustrating to read. It was as though the writer tried to tell you everything at once- like a little kid backtracking on a story to get out of a jam- with some bodice ripper type sex scenes thrown in. I couldn't fathom how something like this could possibly have been published.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 28, 2011

    Wanted to shoot myself when it was done.

    (No spoilers, I promise!) This 357 page book could have been all that it was 157 pages shorter! I felt like we kept going over the same ground over and over again! We're made to believe that Digger was this great reporter, albeit with no scrupals, but this whole drama couldve been saved if he asked one SIMPLE question!!! Not to mention the love scenes were SUPER corny. I found myself skimming thru them as quickly as possible just to get it over with (and it seems like the characters felt the same way). Oh gosh, I was soooo frustrated at the end, I literally wanted to throw the book down (except I was reading it on my nook and I wasnt about to throw that! ) Apparently this author has writteen other books that are better...spend your money on one of those, not this one!

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 25, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    The Best Nookbook I've read

    You have no idea where this novel is going- it's compelling from start to finish. And a great adult read, not like those young-adult books that I try to get into but just don't hit home.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2000

    Intriguing!!

    This is one of the best books I've read in a while. It twists and turns so many times, you never know what to expect in the end. Definitely recommended!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 25, 2011

    Painful

    Stilted writing, cringeworthy love scenes, cardboard characters. . . frankly, I'm not sure why I slogged through to the end. The plot had its twists and turns, but most of them were arbitrary and unbelievable. This is thriller-by-numbers and maybe a decent airplane read, so long as you don't think your seatmate will mind a few sighs of impatience, eye rolls, and some squirming. This was my first Lisa Gardner; it will be my last.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2000

    what a young reader has to say

    AS I WENT ON READING IT HAD A FEELING THAT THERE WAS WHOLE OTHER STORY BEHIND THE STORY. I ALSO NOTICED THAT IT FOLLOWED A PATTERN AND THEN AT THE END, LISA GARDNER, THE AUTHOR HIT YOU WITH A CURVE BALL THAT YOU AND I WOULD NEVER SEE IT COMING UNTIL THE END. THIS IS WHAT A YOUNG READER HAS TO SAY.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2011

    Chilling!

    Great book! I couldnt put it down! Everytime i thought i knew the ending...the author would trick me and put a chilling twist to it! It is a great mystery! For sure should read!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2011

    eh...it's alright

    This book was ok...it didn't really captivate my attention or become a book that i couldn't put down. It has a lot of swearing in it also so make sure to monitor who in your household reads it.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2001

    DO YOU KNOW WHO YOUR FAMILY REALLY IS?

    THIS BOOK WAS GREAT.I COULD NOT EVEN READ IT IF I WAS IN THE ROOM ALONE. IT KEPT ME WANTING TO READ IT OVER AND OVER . THIS BOOK IS A BOOK THAT ANYONE CAN READ AND REALLY ENJOY. I GIVE THIS FIVE STARS.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2000

    best twisting novel going

    this novel is the first i have read of lisa gardner's and as a 16 year old female i thought it was ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!!!it was absolute chance that i pulled it out of my mum's book shelf but boy i am so glad that i did because this was a superb novel, and i have yet to read her other novels. great unexpected twists that were so thrilling and as a result i chose this book to write for my english RPR. definetely recommended to any age group 15 and over.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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