The Trophy Childby Paula Daly
There’s nothing quite like a mother’s love . . . but how much is too much before maternal ambition for a perfect child jeopardizes the delicate balance of family life and threatens its very existence?
Paula Daly is acclaimed for her distinctive voice, masterful plotting, and terrifying depictions of ordinary people whose everyday lives are turned upside down through deception and betrayal. In her unsettling new domestic thriller, The Trophy Child, Daly digs beneath the serene surface of the idyllic Lake District community, delivering a suspenseful story of motherhood and fallibility.
Karen Bloom is not the coddling mother type. She believes in raising her children for success. Some in the neighborhood call her assertive, others say she’s driven, but in gossiping circles she’s known as “the tiger mother.” Karen believes that tough discipline is the true art of parenting and that achievement leads to ultimate happiness. She expects her husband and her children to perform at 200 percent–no matter the cost. But in a quest for excellence, her seemingly flawless family starts to rebel against her.
Her husband, Noel, is a handsome doctor with a proclivity for alcohol and women. Their prodigy daughter, Bronte, is excelling at school, music lessons, and dance classes, yet she longs to run away. Verity, Noel’s teenage daughter from his first marriage, is starting to display aggressive behavior. And Karen’s son from a previous relationship embraces the aimless stoner lifestyle. When tragedy strikes the Blooms, Karen’s carefully constructed facade begins to fall apart–and once the deadly cracks appear, they are impossible to stop.
A thrilling tale of ambition and murder, Daly’s richly imagined world of suburban striving and motherly love is an absorbing page-turner about the illusions of perfection and the power games between husband and wife, parent and child.
“[An] absorbing domestic thriller . . . unexpected plot twists and sly commentary on the bourgeois milieu, will keep readers turning the pages.” —Publishers Weekly
“Daly, a master of psychological thrillers has written another gem. Thriller and suspense lovers will delight in this fast-paced novel with its twists and turns.” —Library Journal (starred review)
“A mystery to entertain.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A tale of secrecy, control, and the depths of motherly love . . . an enjoyable, well-written tale whose ending readers will not see coming.” —Booklist
“A crackling good read. Hard to put down.” —Joy Fielding, New York Times bestselling author of Someone is Watching
The thing that people didn’t get when they accused Karen Bloom of being a tiger mother was that she wasn’t at all offended by it. Even when it wasn’t said in a jokey, leg pulling kind-of-way. Even when it was meant as an insult.
Karen was a tiger mother and she was proud of it. Why shouldn’t she be? Just because ordinary mothers had decided it was wrong to push their offspring, just because they took the easy way out, saying it wasn’t a mother’s place to mould and pressure a child into greatness, didn’t mean Karen had to go along with it. Because they would say that, wouldn’t they? It was an easy way to justify their own lazy lives, their own acceptance of mediocrity. And Karen was very sorry, but she just wasn’t having that for Bronte.
It was her responsibility, her duty in fact, to prepare Bronte for her life ahead in the best way she knew how. Life was a competition. Only the best and brightest succeeded, and if that meant Karen had to put her own hopes and dreams on the back burner while she invested everything she had into Bronte’s future, so be it.