Tuesday 7 February 2017

Review ~The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

Bantam press
January 2016

What's the book about..

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 thoughts about the book..

Meeting Karen Bloom in this latest offering by Paula Daly is rather like meeting one of those people who you sometimes encounter at a school parents evening, you immediately recognise the incredibly pushy mother who always seems to want their offspring to take part in every activity that the school can offer.

At the centre of The Trophy Child is ten year old Bronte Bloom who is constantly pushed to her limits by a mother who feels that Bronte's every waking moment should be filled with activities. The rest of the family tiptoe around the perimeter, never really functioning as a normal family and before too long we begin to suspect that not everything in the Bloom family is as it should be.

There is no doubt that this author has made this specific area of domestic drama all her own and once again gives us a story that gets right into the nitty-gritty of dysfunctional family life. Trying to make sense of what's happening to the Bloom family is DS Joanne Aspinall, the detective we have met in previous stories. Her unique brand of police investigation is tested rather more in this story and it's interesting to see a little more about Joanne's personal life being put under the microscope.

There is much to take in, not just in the dynamics between Karen and Bronte but also in the tension between husband and wife and in the relationship between Bronte's older siblings, Ewan and Verity. As always there are some really complex family issues being dissected and the author succeeds with her usual fine attention to detail and her unique ability to keep the reader guessing until the very end. Several times within the story I thought that I was one step ahead of DS Aspinall, only to find that I was wallowing in the dark as the story veered off in yet another direction. Cleverly the story strands all join together and the story concludes in a way that I really I didn't see coming.

Just a reminder for those readers who may be new to Paula Daly's stories. All her back list can be read as standalone stories. The only common denominators being the Lake District setting and DS Joanne Aspinall's involvement somewhere in proceedings.

I'm always bereft when I finish a new novel by my favourite author and I can only hope that she writes her next book quickly !

Best Read With..A strong Nespresso and a cream cheese sandwich, eaten on the wing.. 

About the Author

Paula Daly was born in Lancashire. Before beginning her first novel JUST WHAT KIND OF MOTHER ARE YOU? she was a self-employed physiotherapist. She lives in the Lake District with her husband, three children and whippet Skippy

 My thanks to the publishers for my review copy of The Trophy Child


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