The Favorite Daughter, by Kaira Rouda, 2019
Jane and David Harris, their daughters Mary (who died before the book began) and Betsy
The Plot (from the publisher):
Jane Harris lives in a sparkling home in an oceanfront gated community in Orange County. It’s a place that seems too beautiful to be touched by sadness. But exactly one year ago, Jane’s oldest daughter, Mary, died in a tragic accident and Jane has been grief-stricken ever since. Lost in a haze of antidepressants, she’s barely even left the house. Now that’s all about to change.
It’s time for Jane to reclaim her life and her family. Jane’s husband, David, has planned a memorial service for Mary and three days later, their youngest daughter, Betsy, graduates high school. Yet as Jane reemerges into the world, it’s clear her family has changed without her. Her husband has been working long days—and nights—at the office. Her daughter seems distant, even secretive. And her beloved Mary was always such a good girl—dutiful and loving. But does someone know more about Mary, and about her last day, than they’ve revealed?
A very entertaining read. Jane is the sort of character that you love to hate. She is absolutely despicable to everyone around her and so narcissistic that she doesn’t realize that she is harming anyone. The reader is continuously galled by her delusion and gets to watch her demise.
Jane also has an obsession with the most mundane ways to die, such as tripping and falling on upright knives in the dishwasher. Since the book is written as Jane speaking to the reader, it is peppered with these interesting tidbits.