In 2003, sixteen-year-old Rebecca Winter disappeared.
She’d been enjoying her teenage summer break: working at a fast food restaurant, crushing on an older boy and shoplifting with her best friend. Mysteriously ominous things began to happen—blood in the bed, periods of blackouts, a feeling of being watched—though Bec remained oblivious of what was to come.
Eleven years later she is replaced.
A young woman, desperate after being arrested, claims to be the decade-missing Bec.
Soon the imposter is living Bec’s life. Sleeping in her bed. Hugging her mother and father. Learning her best friends’ names. Playing with her twin brothers.
But Bec’s welcoming family and enthusiastic friends are not quite as they seem. As the imposter dodges the detective investigating her case, she begins to delve into the life of the real Bec Winter—and soon realises that whoever took Bec is still at large, and that she is in imminent danger.
The Only Daughter has an original and intriguing premises, sixteen year old Rebecca Winter disappeared in 2003, only to reappear 11 years later. Only its not Rebecca, but a runaway who looks just like Rebecca. The fake Bec is more than happy to take on Rebecca’s identity and live her life for her.
In 2003, a sixteen-year-old girl named Rebecca disappeared on her way home from work, just steps from her family home. Eleven years later, a girl claiming to be Rebecca is arrested for shoplifting in a nearby town. Although we know from the start that this second girl is an imposter, she manages to foist herself into Bec’s life surprisingly well. The fake Bec, who interestingly remains nameless throughout the novel, has her own issues, and the missing girl’s identity gives her the perfect “get away” from her own troubles.
I must admit I found it difficult to empathise with Bec, there was very little background to help the reader understand why she chose to take the path she did, and most of the other characters appeared one dimensional. The family as a whole gave me a sense of unease as they were certainly a very odd bunch, but again I feel they weren’t developed enough for me to invest any real interest in any of them. Alternating between Rebecca’s new life are flashbacks to the summer when the real Bec disappeared. Strange things start to happen to Rebecca such as unexplained blackouts, waking up to find blood in her room and an ominous feeling of being watched and when the imposter begins to sense the same weird feelings she realises the biggest threat maybe from someone close to her.
Only Daughter is a chilling thriller, with an intriguing plot, but unfortunately for me I found it to be unbelievable overall. I wasn’t convinced that Rebecca’s family and friends would have been taken in quite so easily, to me she wasn’t a credible imposter by any means. I think this is what really stopped me enjoying this book and made it a mediocre read for me. The ending to me seemed rushed and came out of nowhere, so much so I felt slightly deflated when I reached the last page. I’m sure some readers will love this book, the past and present points of view work well and make for an intriguing read and the novel is infused with an eerie atmosphere if you can suspend disbelief, unfortunately I couldn’t so I’m afraid I can only give this book 3⭐️⭐️⭐️out of 5
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: MIRA (22 Sept. 2016)