Joy Fielding | The Bad Daughter

the bad daughter by joy fielding

The Book: 

The Bad Daughter by Joy Fielding, 2018

The Characters: 

Robin (husband Blake)
Her sister Melanie (son Landon)
Her brother Alec
Her father Greg, his wife Tara, and stepdaughter Cassidy

The Plot (from Goodreads):

A hostile relationship with her sister and a complicated past with her father’s second wife have kept Robin estranged from her family for many years. But when her father’s new family is attacked in their house, with her father, his wife, and young daughter in critical condition in the hospital, she returns home to await their fate and hopefully mend fences. It looks like a random robbery gone awry, but as Robin spends more time with her family members, she learns they all had their secrets — and one of those secrets may have put them all in horrible danger.

Click here for book spoilers for The Bad Daughter
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read The Bad Daughter, I suggest you turn back now.

Gotta love trying to explain complicated relationships in as few words as possible. Robin was estranged from her father because he was dating her childhood best friend (Tara), who was also her brother Alec’s ex. Cassidy was Tara’s daughter from a relationship before Alec.

Tara was secretly seeing Alec behind Greg’s back. Cassidy made the connection, so Alec was arrested as this counted as the motive for shooting Greg and Tara. 

The Twist:

Cassidy was dating Kenny, a friend of Landon’s. (Cassidy was 12, Kenny was 19. Ew.) Tara found out and said Cassidy couldn’t see Kenny anymore, and Cassidy heard Tara on the phone with Alec making plans to leave Greg for him. 

Kenny and Cassidy were the attackers. They both confess to Robin, but their stories conflict. Kenny says Cassidy held a gun on her mom while Kenny forced Greg to open the safe. Cassidy shot Tara and killed her. They killed Greg to cover it up and made it look like a home invasion. Cassidy claims she just asked Kenny to come over to comfort her, but he shot Tara and Greg and then came after her. 

Kenny stabs Robin with a broken beer bottle. 

The sheriff comes to take their statements, and then Greg wakes up. Cassidy now claims that she did kill her mom, but only because Greg had been molesting her and Tara knew about it and didn’t do anything. Robin puts together that Cassidy is just copying this story from a TV show. Cassidy is just a psychopath who killed her parents to get their money. 

(I thought it was Cassidy!)

The Ending:

Greg dies, and the siblings reconcile as they get his affairs in order.

The Review: 

I’m not sure how I felt about this one. I liked the writing and most of the characters, except for Robin, the main character. Therapists are people too and can have anxiety just like everyone else, but as a character in a novel, it kind of discredited her a little bit. And as a therapist, you would think she would have identified the killer much sooner. Why not just make her an accountant? 

I feel like the title more or less gives away who did it, and the “who” because apparent pretty early on if not the “why”. I’ll be honest, I was a little disappointed in the “why”! 

The non-thriller aspects of the book were very well done, such as the strained relationship between the siblings and how that develops throughout the book. I especially loved Melanie’s snarky quips! 

Overall it wasn’t terrible, it just wasn’t especially noteworthy either. 

the bad daughter by joy fielding
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