The Other Daughter

Written by Lauren Willig
Review by Tamela McCann

Rachel Woodley is working as a governess in 1920s Paris when she receives word that her mother is very ill, so she rushes home only to be devastated that her mother has already passed. As she goes through her mother’s meager possessions, she makes a startling discovery: her father, whom she’s long thought dead, is not only alive, but also an Earl with two other children. Stunned by the news that she is not only illegitimate, but also forgotten, Rachel decides to somehow unveil her father’s perfidy. With help from new acquaintance Simon, Rachel sets herself up in London, insinuating herself into the party crowd of Bright Young Things and coming into contact with her half-sister, Olivia. But naturally things are not quite as simple as they seem, and Rachel soon realizes that perhaps there are two versions of the truth, and maybe her newfound family is not quite as unfeeling as she’d assumed.

Willig is a wonderful storyteller, and The Other Daughter sets up Rachel’s indignation at her father’s betrayal quite well. It’s very easy to understand why she feels so stricken, especially when faced with memories of a loving father who had supposedly died years before. The story itself plays out well, and the ending is satisfying. However, the “love” story aspect is disappointing, as Simon is meant to be mysterious and secretive but instead comes across as arrogant and irritating. Despite that problem, the novel is very intriguing, and Willig brings the Roaring ´20s to life with her dazzling descriptions and tales of constant partying. A very interesting story that has its share of surprises.