Author: Diane Chamberlain
Publication Date: 9 October 2018
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher
Diane Chamberlain is a prolific author I have managed to read a couple of times, and I have still got one on my TBR to get back to. She writes compelling character driven stories and The Dream Daughter is certainly that.
The Dream Daughter is also something very different to her usual stories with elements she hasn’t explored before and it took me totally by surprise. I am not going to say too much about it because it’s something that wasn’t mentioned in the synopsis so I don’t want to be the one to spoil it. It was unexpected but explored in such a way that it just added to the story.
Caroline (Carly) Sears is a recent widow, she lost her husband in the Vietnam War, but she will always carry a piece of her beloved Joe with her because she was lucky enough to fall pregnant before he shipped out. The thought of the baby is often all that is keeping her going, until the appointment that the doctors tell her that her beloved baby girl has a heart defect and there is nothing they can do, nothing anyone can do. Carly is devastated, though a part of her hopes that the Doctors are wrong.
Her brother-in-law is a physicist and tells her there may be a way to help the baby but Carly has to trust him, suspend disbelief and take a leap of faith. Hunter is a beloved member of the family but there is an air of mystery about him and the way he came into the family five years before.
Diane Chamberlain takes us on a heartfelt exploration of what lengths a mother will go to for her child, and her family. It’s hard to talk about the story without spoilers so I’m stuck, and have been for days now. I don’t want to give away the big twists before people read the book but at the same time there is so much I want to say. I actually want to go and trawl the Goodreads reviews to see what’s been given away and how the spoilerless reviews were handled because I’m that far into struggle town but I tend to steer clear of other reviews until after mine is written to make sure my review remains wholly my own thoughts.
I loved this book, it gave me a lot to think about. The characters, with one exception, were all absolutely adorable and the character that I found it hard to like was still understandable. There are some ridiculously tricky decisions to be made that I honestly don’t know if I would be able to make, though I’m certainly pleased to know I’ll never need to.
There are a couple of different mother and child relationships in The Dream Daughter and they are all very different, Chamberlain deftly illustrates that every mother and child relationship is different but that doesn’t change the overpowering love a mother feels for her child and how that love can colour the decisions they make; the sacrifices that they will make to ensure their child has the best they possibly can.
The character cast is quite diverse and there was something to love in all of the characters, even the one that I didn’t really like. A story bursting with strong women who have faced struggles and managed to persevere. A story that encompasses some major world events and adds a different perspective to allow us to see them through different eyes.
The Dream Daughter is thought-provoking and trying to wrap my head around it left me reeling at times but the added element fit this story perfectly, not to change the way Chamberlain writes but as a way to explore the mother-child dynamic from an original perspective. I think the story arc and the character development was expertly woven, even in unfamiliar territory for Chamberlain and I would be interested in more about these characters, almost a filling in the gaps kind of story.
This is definitely a story I would recommend to readers of character driven stories with an open mind and an empathetic heart. I absolutely loved it, and am still thinking about it days later.