Raised in a poor yet genteel household, Rachel Woodley is working in France as a governess when she receives news that her mother has died, suddenly. Grief-stricken, she returns to the small town in England where she was raised to clear out the cottage...and finds a cutting from a London society magazine, with a photograph of her supposedly deceased father dated all of three month before. He's an earl, respected and influential, and he is standing with another daughter-his legitimate daughter. Which makes Rachel...not legitimate. Everything she thought she knew about herself and her past-even her very name-is a lie.
Still reeling from the death of her mother, and furious at this betrayal, Rachel sets herself up in London under a new identity. There she insinuates herself into the party-going crowd of Bright Young Things, with a steely determination to unveil her father's perfidy and bring his-and her half-sister's-charmed world crashing down. Very soon, however, Rachel faces two unexpected snags: she finds she genuinely likes her half-sister, Olivia, whose situation isn't as simple it appears; and she might just be falling for her sister's fiancé...
From Lauren Willig, author of the New York Times bestselling novel The Ashford Affair, comes The Other Daughter, a page-turner full of deceit, passion, and revenge.
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.25(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Hometown:New York, New York and Cambridge, Massachusetts
Date of Birth:March 28, 1977
Place of Birth:Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Education:B.A., Yale University, 1999; M.A., Harvard University, 2001
Read an Excerpt
The Other Daughter
By Lauren Willig
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2015 Lauren Willig
All rights reserved.
"Can we go look, can we go look, can we go look?" Eight-year-old Amelie tugged at Rachel's hand, pulling her toward the stairs.
"I don't see what the point is of looking at a party you can't go to," said thirteen-year-old Albertine crossly.
"English, please," said Rachel automatically.
The girls were meant to speak English when they were with her; the countess had been very clear about that. If it was a rule Rachel enforced somewhat selectively, that, she decided, was a matter for her own conscience.
Besides, she told herself virtuously, Albertine was meant to be speaking in English. If she refused to do so, then she would just have to be silent.
And thank heavens for that.
"The dresses are so jolie," said ten-year-old Anne-Marie wistfully.
"English, please," mimicked Albertine, in heavily accented English.
Anne-Marie's spectacles wobbled on the tip of her nose.
Rachel pushed them up for her. "You're right, Ammie. The dresses are jolly. And I don't see the harm in looking so long as we stay out of sight."
It was the annual Easter Ball at the Château de Brillac, home of the Comtes de Brillac from time immemorial, or, at least, as long as anyone had stopped to think about it. The Brillacs generally didn't. They preferred to spend their time in Paris, where the count could concentrate on his amours and the countess on her close, personal relationship with several expensive couturiers, all of whom vied for the honor of upholstering her angular frame.
When the comte and comtesse did return to Brillac, it was on a wave of strong scent, accompanied, invariably, by a party of persons from that alien and sophisticated world. Rooms would be aired and dust sheets thrown off, and Amelie, Anne-Marie, and Albertine would creep down to their favorite viewing post, five balusters to the left at the top of the gallery.
A more superior sort of governess might have told them no, might have shooed them away back to the nursery. But Rachel had never seen the point in crushing all the joy out of her charges' lives. And if looking down upon a sea of perfectly coiffed heads made them happy, what was the harm? If they showed any signs of mischief, she would sweep them away, back to the nursery.
Rachel doubted it would be necessary. Neither Anne-Marie nor Amelie was the water-balloon-dropping sort, and Albertine's own particular brand of malice took less physical forms. After seven years of nursery governessing, Rachel counted herself something of an expert.
Anne-Marie and Amelie were pressed close together by the balusters, Albertine lurking behind, trying to pretend haughty indifference, although her eyes were as wide as the others'. Rachel joined them at the rail, spying shamelessly.
What was the point, after all, of living in the houses of one's betters if one couldn't enjoy a little vicarious glamour?
Below, the great marble stairs had been banked with flowers. The count and countess, the latter decked out en grande tenue, diamonds glittering everywhere diamonds could possibly glitter, stood receiving their guests. The hall where Amelie liked to go sliding in her stockings on rainy days was busy with the high chirp of voices, the clatter of beads on silk, the flash of military orders.
Somewhere, Rachel knew, beyond the gallery, there were musicians in the ballroom. There was a supper laid out in the dining room, and other rooms devoted to cards, or repairing one's gown, and heaven only knew what else. But all that lay beyond, out of view of the balusters.
"When I am grown," said Amelie complacently, "I shall go to a ball every night."
Rachel stifled a grin. "Yes, I expect you shall. But only if you remember to wash behind your ears. Clean ears are crucial for countesses."
Amelie's spine straightened a little. "But of course," she said grandly, as though she hadn't raised holy hell in the bathtub yesterday when confronted with the dreaded washcloth. "And many jewels."
"Rubies or emeralds?" queried Rachel.
Her own jewelry consisted solely of a small gold watch, pinned to her bodice, which her mother had given her as a gift when she graduated from school. Rachel didn't like to think of how many extra piano lessons her mother must have taught to purchase it, how many days without sugar in her tea. But it had proved useful for regulating lessons. There was nothing like frowning ferociously at one's watch for making restless schoolgirls settle in their seats.
"The blue ones," said Amelie firmly. "Because they match Sophie's sash."
Sophie was Amelie's favorite doll, dressed in Paris best, rather battered from being placed in situations no Paris couturier had ever imagined. Sophie led a rather rough life.
"Why not?" said Rachel.
Goodness only knew, the rich tossed away money on lesser whims, and Amelie, someday, would be expected to marry a grand hotel in Paris, a château in the country, and a suitable accumulation of porcelain and gilt-work. And, presumably, the man that came with it all, although that appeared, from what Rachel had seen over the past seven years, to be a lesser consideration.
Sometimes Rachel felt like an explorer, surveying the customs of an exotic and isolated tribe. Sometimes. Most of the time, she simply accepted her salary and concentrated on clean ears and the past perfect tense.
Rachel had always known she would have to work. She and her mother weren't poor — not in the way the Trotters down by the river were poor, with their slatternly kitchen and clutch of half-naked children — but having butter on their bread and a roof over their heads meant there wasn't a great deal for extras. Her mother eked out a living giving piano lessons to the village children, which everyone agreed was a suitably genteel occupation for a widowed lady in straitened circumstances, and one not incompatible with Friday sherry with the vicar and running the bazaar at the annual spring fete.
Had she had her own way, Rachel would have taken a typing course and sallied out into the brave new world of office work. But there were times when her mother's Victorian upbringing showed. Faced with the prospect of the typing course, she had dug in her sensible heels. Rachel to work outside the home? To expose herself to the attentions of men?
Useless to protest that everyone was doing it now, or, if not everyone, a sizable portion of the female population.
A job in a nice household, her mother insisted. That was the proper occupation for a young lady of limited means, the emphasis being on the word lady.
When Rachel pointed out that the world had moved on a bit since Jane Eyre, her mother had only said mildly, "It's not all Thornfield Hall. Wouldn't you like to see a bit of the world? You could travel. You could work abroad. Better, surely, than a smoky office?"
That was the problem with Rachel's mother. Just when one wanted to be usefully indignant, she would disarm by being so terribly reasonable.
It was a trick that Rachel now applied with good effect to her own charges, with some silent amusement at the thought of being on the other side of it.
Rachel might have argued, she might — as she had in other matters — have put her own not insubstantial foot down, but it had occurred to her that the real problem might not be her virtue, the protection thereof, but the cost of the typing course. It wasn't terribly dear, but it was enough to strain their slender resources.
Rachel might have sold the watch, but that would have hurt her mother terribly. She clung, Rachel's mother, to these small gestures of gentility. To have sold the watch would have been worse than a slap in the face. It would have been a reminder of everything they didn't have, couldn't afford, a reproach to her mother who had worked so hard and so long, keeping a roof over their heads all alone, ever since Rachel's father had died.
And so Rachel had swallowed her objections and gone to France. There was something, after all, to be said for France. She had gawked, that first year, as any girl fresh from the country would gawk. It had all been so new and strange, and France, even with the scars of war, was still France, glamorous and different.
She wouldn't say that seven years had entirely inured her to that glamour, but she took it, now, as a matter of course. Louis Quinze chairs and grand portraits by old masters were as much backdrop as her mother's piano and her father's battered old chess set. The reality of it all was the children, struggling through their letters, fighting their own small battles, needing to be entertained on rainy days.
Skating along marble floors was a brilliant way to beguile a rainy day. But not when the countess was in residence.
Rachel rose from her perch, shaking out her plain serge skirt, as someone called her name. She might be Rachel at home, or Miss Woodley as circumstances commanded, but at the Château de Brillac, she was invariably and simply "Mees," a sign of her status betwixt and between, neither servants' hall nor front table.
"Yes?" Rachel saw Manon, the nursery maid, edging her cautious way along the gallery, a worried look on her face. "Oh, dear. Not the baths again?"
The plumbing at Brillac tended to be rather temperamental, the château having been designed in an age when baths were something that happened when one unexpectedly plunged into the river and perfume was designed to cover a multitude of odors. There was generally enough hot water for the nursery baths, but when the Paris parties descended, the backs of Amelie's ears tended to be the grimier for it.
"No, mees." Almost furtively, Manon thrust a crumpled piece of paper at Rachel. "A telegram, mees. From Paris."
"Tonight?" Rachel's fingers closed around it. Bother. If it was something important, no wonder Manon wanted to pass the responsibility on. The countess did not approve of interruptions to her festivities. "Well, let's hope it's not bad news. I'll take this straight to —"
Rachel's voice trailed off as she glanced down at the paper. Not from Paris. To Paris. And not addressed to the countess, but to her.
R. Woodley. Hotel de Brillac, Paris.
The message below was in English, not French, transcribed exactly as it had been transmitted.
Mrs. Woodley ill. Influenza. Immediate return advised. J.S.
Influenza! The dreaded word blazed out from the creased page. Influenza had come through Netherwell before, just after the war. Rachel could hear, like an echo, the tolling of the church bell, again and again and again, the endless knell of it, until the bell ringer himself was taken ill, the sudden silence worse than the constant clamor.
But that had been eight years ago. Surely, by now ... And Jim Seddon was a good doctor, a modern doctor, a much better doctor than old Dr. Potter, whose general view on medicine appeared to be that if it had been good enough for Hippocrates, it was good enough for him.
Rachel forced the air back into her lungs. Jim Seddon was not only a good doctor but he was also the husband of Rachel's oldest friend. And her mother — her mother was made of steel, lightly covered with a lace collar. The influenza might have killed countless others, but it hadn't reckoned on Katherine Woodley.
But Jim wouldn't be asking for her unless there was reason for her to go.
A train to Calais. If she could get a car to take her to the train, she could take the train to Paris, then from Paris to Calais. A boat from Calais to Dover, then the grim process in reverse, a train from Calais to London, another from London to King's Lynn, then the change to the small local line that ran through Netherwell.
It was Monday night. With luck, and presuming the train workers didn't go on strike between here and Calais, she might be home by this time tomorrow.
Which meant ... Rachel glanced down at the telegram, at the date on it. She looked and then looked again, sure that she must have misread the smudged numbers, that the Continental handwriting — that silly habit of crossing their sevens — must have misled her.
But there was no mistake.
The date on the telegram was Wednesday, five days before.
Rachel looked up at Manon in disbelief. "This is five days old!"
Manon's eyes dropped. "Hector brought it with him when he came up with Monsieur le Comte."
Hector was the count's man, a barrel-chested, swaggering soul whose primary qualification for his present post appeared to be having served as the count's batman during the war. He also fancied himself a ladies' man.
Rachel hadn't fancied Hector, and had made that quite plain, or as plain as a sharp heel to the instep could convey.
Which meant that if a telegram had arrived in Paris for Rachel, Hector would have taken delighted spite in making sure the message took as long as possible to reach her.
Manon twisted her hands in her apron. "He — he said he had other things to do than be a telephone exchange."
"Oh, does he?" Fantasizing about where she would like to apply a telephone wasn't doing anything to get her home to her mother. And the girls were beginning to turn; Anne-Marie already had that worried look between her eyes. Rachel lowered her voice. "Thank you, Manon. You did well to bring this to me."
Hector didn't speak English. Neither, as far as she knew, did any of the staff of the Paris house. That didn't stop her from wanting to take the back of a hairbrush to all of them. Surely, a telegram conveyed its own urgency, even if one couldn't understand the words.
Time to plot revenge later. Right now, the important thing was getting herself onto that train, with all haste. Five days' worth of haste.
With painstaking self-control, Rachel said, "Would you take Amelie, Anne-Marie, and Albertine back to the nursery for their baths? I need to speak to madame."
"You're not meant to interrupt Maman while she's receiving," said Albertine with a sniff.
Amelie rounded on her sister. "You're not meant to be speaking in French."
"Hush, petite." Rachel dropped a kiss on the top of Amelie's head. "I'll be back to check your ears. Anne-Marie, you will look after Amelie for me, and make sure she gets her chocolate?"
Anne-Marie was a weather vane for any worry, quick to pick up on trouble, but she straightened her shoulders at Rachel's words and nodded, just a little.
"Good." Rachel was already moving, down the corridor, toward the back stairs, her brain already occupied with half a dozen details. "Merci, Manon."
She caught one of the footmen as he came out from the hall with a tray of champagne, whispered a few words in his ear. She didn't know the staff terribly well; most of them were from the Paris house, brought up for the occasion. But everyone knew who she was: the girls' English governess. She had grown accustomed to being a curiosity, like a zebra. Only rather more prosaic and with fewer stripes.
The footman went off in search of madame, his tray growing lighter along the way, and Rachel stood in the shadows, out of sight, trying not to jiggle with impatience.
Wednesday. Her mother had been ill since Wednesday, and the telegram had just sat there, crumpled at the bottom of Hector's pocket. And Jim Seddon! Why hadn't he tried again? He might have sent another telegram, or tried to telephone —
The footman returned. If Mees would follow? Madame could spare a moment in the small salon.
The name was a misnomer. The small salon was twice the size of the cottage in Netherwell, decked with gilding and mirrors designed to intimidate and overawe. No surface had been left ungilded, including madame herself, who stood by the mantelpiece, jeweled slipper tapping with impatience.
"What is it, mademoiselle, that could not wait?" she said, looking pointedly at the clock. "If one of my daughters is ill —"
She sounded more annoyed than distressed by the prospect.
"The girls are all well," said Rachel hastily. Just because madame was away for nine-tenths of the year didn't mean she didn't have maternal feelings. Theoretically. Rachel took a deep breath and pushed on. "It's my mother, madame. She is ... very ill." Saying it somehow made it more real, more frightening. "I must return to England at once. I can — I can be back in a week. Manon will mind the nursery while I am gone."
Madame de Brillac's gray eyes, flat as uncut diamonds, swept her up and down. "No," said Madame de Brillac, and turned to go.
Excerpted from The Other Daughter by Lauren Willig. Copyright © 2015 Lauren Willig. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book has been underated. One of the best ive read this year.
A good storyline, I enjoyed the characters & it kept me guessing as to what path she would choose in the end.
Beautiful prose, well developed characters and a satisfying ending.
I enjoyed reading this book
How would it feel to suddenly discover that you are not the person you always believed you were? If you have proof that you have been deceived, how would you react? Would you seek revenge, plot against those who have duped you? We discover how one person reacted to this scenario in the latest from Lauren Willig. Raised to believe she is cut out for a working class life when we meet Rachel Woodley she is working in France as a governess. She enjoys her work and is shocked to receive a five day old telegram telling her that her mother is seriously ill. Rachel, of course, rushes to the small town in England where she was raised only to find that she is too late - her mother has died and the funeral has been held. One shock such as that should be enough for anyone but Rachel receives a double whammy when going through her mother’s things she finds a clipping and photograph from a tony London magazine - it is a photo of her father, the man she had been told was dead, and his daughter. He is an important man, an Earl, and the girl pictured with him is his legitimate daughter. Shocked, hurt and furious Rachel assumes a new identity with the aid of others and moves to London intending to confront her father. In not altogether plausible plotting she takes the name Vera Morton, is established in a ritzy London apartment complete with a fashionable wardrobe. After she is coached on who’s who among the young and wealthy she feels ready to present herself to society. She is determined to reveal to all her father’s falsities. Of course, it doesn’t quite work out that way as Rachel discovers that her father’s life is not at all what she imagined it to be, and she just may have met someone she can love. What made all of this almost believable for this listener is the narrator’s rich, authentic British accent. Nicola Barber’s voice is a pleasure to hear, and with it she beautifully conveys the various emotions that Rachel feels. Barber has already won two Earphone Awards and a nomination for a 2015 Audie. She is a really gifted performer who brings 1920s London and environs to life. So, don’t be perplexed by some of the plot twists - simply enjoy. - Gail Cooke
I am somewhat disappointed in the ending. I would definitely buy a sequel. Too many people just left dangling. And I liked Simon.
I’ve read two of Willig’s books, That Summer and The Ashford Affair, both of them stand alone books like The Other Daughter. Willig is probably best known for her Pink Carnation series, which I haven’t read. And, to be honest, I would totally pay for The Other Daughter. It was a great read, as I found That Summer and The Ashford Affair to be as well. But let me back that up with some proof! Quick recap. Rachel Woodley, 27 years old, is a governess working for the families of 1926 France. She’s called home to a small town in England when word comes that her mother is ill with the Spanish Influenza. Upon her return, she finds she’s too late to say goodbye or even attend the funeral. She believes she’s alone in the world since her father dies when she was four. Through a series of events, she discovers that her father is, in fact, alive and well. Oh, and an earl. She is angry at the betrayal her father committed and the new family he established. Thus begins Rachel’s “stunt” in London, taking on the persona of Vera and trying to determine if revenge should be exacted upon her father and his new family. What will she do and can she maintain her integrity through the process? From the beginning I noted Willig’s ability to place our feet in two different worlds. As with those who read any literature written in or about the 1920s will know, it was a time of great fluctuation. The First World War decimated a generation of men and women. The social structures are collapsing. Excess and escape are the goal. Willig’s use of short sentence structures and prose moves the plot along at a steady pace. It’s reminiscent of the music and literature of the time. Willig made me feel the struggle for meaning in the 1920s anew with Rachel’s transition from Victorian-era governess to party girl of London society. Rachel’s battle throughout the book is to find who she will be in this new social structure. Her struggle, while totally believable in the setting of 1926, is something I identified with as a woman in the early 21st century. Striking out on your own and finding a way to get the education you need. Finding a balance between being a strong female, yet maintaining a sense of yourself. The theme of memory was intriguing throughout Rachel’s story. As expected, when Rachel’s life is turned upside down by the discovery her father is alive and has a whole life she never knew about, she begins to question the memories of her early life and the life her mother built after her father’s alleged death. Through the middle of the book Rachel allows her grasp of memory to grow hazy. She embraces the “escape through excess” mentality as she searches to figure out where it leaves her. The resolution of this is to take her past for what it is and build a new future that is her own. The highlight of The Other Daughter though is the relationship that builds between Rachel and her Pygmalion, Simon. The witty repartee and tension between the two is fascinating. Willig does a fantastic job creating a twisty path to the end of the book. And the end? So very satisfying. The Other Daughter is a great read from an author with a great track record. Interested in other 1920s reads? Dollface by Renee Rosen is great. Night of a Thousand Stars by Deanna Raybourn is magical.
I love a book that has many plot twists! And there are many in this novel! Each character kept evolving, and this kept me guessing as to what would happen next. A mother's lie, a father's denial, and the quest for revenge combined to make it a difficult story to put down. The novel is set in the early 20's, shortly after the First World War, a time of great upheaval and societal changes. The theme of abandonment by Rachel's father was rather poignant, as was the anger experienced that set her off on a course of revenge. Despite the need for vengeance, Rachel still came across as likable. The more she learned about the people involved, the more she became diswayed. In short, she had a strong conscience. As the story rushes to the climax, there are several shockers that change the protaganist's motivations. I loved this romantic, suspenseful family saga that often left me breathless. Well written! Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Personally, I don't prefer historical fiction. I'll choose another genre over it at pretty much every opportunity unless it has been strongly recommended or I just don't have anything else to read, the latter being the case with The Other Daughter. That being said, it didn't take me long at all to know I was going to devour this book. I loved it ♥ Lauren Willig created amazing characters for this standalone novel. This story offers family secrets, deceit, revenge, false identities, mystery, 1920's London...The Other Daughter definitely kept a fast and fun pace, and I was thoroughly engaged from start to finish. So why not five roaring stars? Unfortunately, I was a bit underwhelmed by the secrets I learned at the end (but I was on cloud freakin' nine so I could have been expecting too much). Also, I personally needed more romance when the plot called for it near the end. These characters are passionate to their core - it's obvious through their character building - but again, I felt it was a bit underwhelming in comparison to the anticipation I felt. It just left me a tiny bit disappointed. But it's all good. Remember, I'm still a newbie when it comes to historical fiction so this might not be an issue with other readers. Regardless of these minor moments at the end, I just couldn't dismiss my overall reaction to this novel. I so enjoyed this story and let me add that the audio version is outstanding in my opinion. I'd highly recommend it. Four stars is still pretty good in my book and I will definitely be reading more of this author! Check it out! My favorite quote: "We're all liars my sweet. Some of us are simply better at it than others."
I both enjoyed this book and had trouble dealing with the idea of revenge that drove the story line. It seemed a little too easy for Rachel to get involved in the world of the upper crust of English society - even with the assistance of Simon. Also, I sometimes felt the "bantering" back and for the between Simon and Rachel was difficult. However, at the same time, I was driven to find out how it would all turn out - and to discover the "secrets" that were always just ahead.
Disclosure: I'm a self-proclaimed Lauren Willig groupie. I love all of her books. But I'm also a realist. I don't review books as a hobby. I am not a writer. This book is a new style for Lauren. It's one story told by one person. So, as a fan, this is different for me. I like knowing what everyone is thinking. That being said, the Heroine Rachel aka Vera has a lot to say and I'm not sure everything that could be thought was being said. But, in some ways, that's a good thing too, because in the scenario the heroine is in, her mind had to be racing. So many emotions after a total 180 degree turn on your life in 48 hours. So, it is a challenge to convey confusing emotions without confusing the reader. I believe Lauren pulled this off tremendously. Rachel keeps going back & forth with her love for her father versus the pain she feels in being betrayed. She's dealing with a new culture and new people while trying to fit in but not lose herself. One review mentioned that they were disappointed that Rachel's revenge plan wasn't strong. There was not plan because Rachel wasn’t sure of herself and what she was doing. So, one of the best things in Lauren's writing is the way she conveys historic details in a way that is accurate, not overwhelming to the reader, and conveys humor at the same time. In this book, she uses the 20s PYT lingo, not in such an overwhelming way that the reader gets lost, and still conveys the silliness of the time. Her descriptions of parties and locations were detailed enough to set the scene, have the reader feel what it was like to wear the clothing, be in the room, but not to the point of being a fashion/architectural description that makes the reader's eyes roll. I don’t find these scenes cliché because they are told from the view of the heroine who was completely new to this scene. And come on, what is cliché about pig injections? That bit was so left field. The romantic side of the book was bit confusing. I was expecting more a connection between Rachel and John based upon the cover insert blurb. I think I missed some of the what was really going on as I was looking for more in that story, than the whole quadrangle side of things. Also, the lack of the storytelling from the hero’s side also made it harder to grasp his feelings until the end. As the Willig groupie, I was again pleased to see descendants of the Pink series make appearances. Well, not every descendant. I shudder thinking Percy Ponsonby procreated. But oh well. Haha. Lastly, overall, this book did leave me wanting more. I’m interested in how New York went. Did they pick up the scene in NYC? They arrive just 2 years before the Crash, how did they survive? I want to know if the Earl becomes a father to Olivia in time to stand up for herself. I want to know what happens with CeCe. That is why I gave this 4 out of 5 stars. An epilogue would have been nice in this scenario. Plus, I’m still in 5+ mode from last year’s That Summer that it didn’t feel right giving another 5.
3.5 stars, rounded Rachel had always believed her father to be deceased, but she and her mother lived a life of propriety, if counting every shilling, despite that. Intelligent and sensitive, if not always thoughtful of consequences or possible pitfalls, when she discovers that her now deceased mother has lied all of her 27 years, that her father is alive, an Earl and is not only well-off but has a daughter who is well-established in society, her anger takes over. She wants to exposed the Earl, ruin his reputation with the fact of her existence, and take some of the shine from his legitimate daughter. From here the twists, turns and deceptions become the story as Rachel creates an alter-ego named Vera that she plans to use to bring down the Earl. Each new twist, and every revelation show hidden depths to the characters we meet: some good, some surprising and a very few turn out to be worse people with motivations both dark and self-serving. In her attempts to gain favor with the Earl’s daughter, Olivia, Rachel takes up with another person with some serious motivational questions of his own, Simon. It would have been so easy for Willig to fully embrace the Jazz Age clichés as description of music, fashion and parties: these elements are present and occasionally overwhelm, but the story has become so much more than “another like” group. Blurring of lines between personal rights and wrongs, the grey areas that comprise a human being, and the constant reevaluation of intended goals (perhaps chosen in haste) and the eventual outcome are realistically portrayed and give a complete and nuanced sense of Rachel. She was, however, a bit naïve throughout the story: she has ‘dreams’ of revenge, although never really presents us with a more complete plan, even though they may be abandoned. The romance you ask? She and Simon have a relationship that is constantly in question: she doesn’t know if she can trust him, yet continues on, she questions many of his moves and motives, yet proceeds forward. They do have some interesting interactions from witty to tense and bitter to incredibly sweet. He’s enigmatic and a bit closed off: I wanted more of his revelations TO Rachel, giving him more depth and nuance that we do find is solidly a part of Rachel by the end. Ultimately, this is an engaging and quite intriguing tale of curiosity and where it may take you. Not quite great (there was not enough solidity in the planning for me), this is a solidly good weekend read that will keep you entertained and amused. I received an eARC copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
ANOTHER WONDERFUL READ FROM LAUREN WILLIG This was a wonderful book. A young woman who is working as a governess in France to help her mother out during the 1920's. The butler from the main house doesn't like her much and delays giving her a wire telling her about her mother being sick, she asked for the time off and is let go from her position and when she gets home she finds out that her mother had been buried the day before and the gentleman who owns the cottage they lived in wants it back because the rent wasn't paid for one week. She finds a article with a picture of her father who she thought was dead with his other daughter and find our he is a Lord. She go to a family relative to pay him back for the cost of her mom's burial. Finds out that her father really is alive and she thinks she was born out of wedlock. So goes through a lot of twist and turns and finally finds out the truth of it all and it ends on a happy note. I love this book and recommend it
The Other Daughter by Lauren Willig is an historical romance novel set in 1927. Rachel Woodley is a governess for the three children of the Comtes de Brillac in France. She receives a telegram (four days after it was sent because of a horrible valet) that her mother is ill with the influenza and she needs to return home immediately. Since her boss refuses to let her leave (can you imagine), Rachel is forced to quit her job and head home immediately. Unfortunately, she is too late. Her mother passed away and was buried the day before (that is just rude)! In her mother’s room Rachel discovers a picture of man that looks like her father on the cover of the Tatler (gossip rag). Rachel had been told that her father passed away twenty-three years previously when she was four years old. Is this man really her father? It states his name is Edward Standish, Earl of Ardmore. Rachel thought her father was Edward Woodley, a botanist. Rachel goes to her Cousin David for answers. Turns out that Cousin David is related to her father, not her mother. Rachel’s father is very much alive. Edward was the second son of the Earl and grew up with Katherine and David. Edward and Katherine fell in love. When Edward’s elder brother (Marcus) died, Edward had to step up. In order to save the estate (Edward’s father did not manage it well), Edward needed to marry an heiress. So one night Katherine took Rachel and disappeared (but what was Edward told). Rachel is offered an opportunity to get into society and meet her father. Turns out she has a half-sister and half-brother as well. Simon Montfort is a gossip columnist for the Daily Yell. He offers to help Rachel. He gives her a new name (Vera Merton) with a backstory that she is a distant cousin (he has a lot of cousins) that has been taking care of her mother in France. Simon gets her a wardrobe (from his sister who is in America), a flat to stay in (his mothers who is also in America), and a new hair style (flapper look). Simon then starts taking her out to parties. Rachel decides she wants to get revenge on her father. Rachel believes that he has ignored her the past twenty-three years. Will Rachel be happy when she finally gets answers? Rachel meets her half-sister, Olivia and her fiancé, John Trevannion (a politician). Olivia is very quiet and under the thumb of her domineering mother (she is an awful woman). Rachel is setting herself up for disappointment. She is getting a chance to see how the other half lives. How she would have lived if things had turned out differently for her parents. Rachel also gets a chance at love if she decides to pursue it. I liked The Other Daughter, but did not love it. It was a very cliché novel. I knew what was going to happen, but I kept hoping for a twist (I was disappointed). The writing is in a nice, conversational style which makes The Other Daughter easy to read. I give The Other Daughter 3 out of 5 stars. I received a complimentary copy of The Other Daughter from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review and opinions expressed are my own.
It has the plot for a good book, but is very boring, simon is not presented as an interesting bachelor, but rather an old man. Do not recommend
And happily ever after.