Only Daughter by Anna Snoekstra

An imposter returns claiming to be Rebecca Winter, who’s been missing for over a decade.  While the resemblance is striking, can she really step into the life of a girl she knows nothing about?  So begins a tale told in alternating chapters by the real Rebecca, recounting the events leading up to her disappearance, and in the present by the imposter as she tries to unravel what happened to the missing Rebecca.

This debut novel from author Anna Snoekstra is a mild suspense that hints at things to come but in the end veers slightly off from the expected.  It’s a fairly quick read at just under 300 pages and slowly builds plausible outcomes with a couple of red herrings.  Characters include Rebecca’s younger twin brothers Andrew and Paul, her best friend Lizzie, Lizzie’s brother Jack, and her parents. 

Flashbacks indicate the imposter is running away from her own troubled home life and we see glimpses of that as the stress of figuring out what happened to Rebecca begins to take a toll.  Some readers might take issue with the imposter’s ability to evade DNA testing and bloodwork.  And the parents’ lackadaisical response to their daughter’s return might be questionable, though there’s a strong dysfunctional family dynamic that could easily account for this behavior and adds to the mystery.

There are a couple brief references to animal cruelty that, while not graphic, might conjure difficult imagery for some readers.  Some profanities are scattered and infrequent.   Snoekstra lives in Australia, and this story is set in the capital of Canberra during the bush fires of January 2003.  Fans of Liane Moriarty might feel right at home with this one.

 

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