- Post by MysteryPeople Contributor Meike Alana
Central Texas author Alexandra Burt thrilled us in 2015 with her debut, Remember Mia. Her latest, The Good Daughter, is every bit as suspenseful and atmospheric and is not to be missed.
Dahlia Waller’s childhood memories are murky at best. As a young girl she led a vagabond existence with her eccentric mother Memphis, living in seedy motel rooms which they often fled in the middle of the night. As an adult, she wants nothing more than to distance herself from those memories, but she finds she can’t move forward until she gets some answers about her early years.
Dahlia moves back to the small town of Aurora, Texas to push Memphis for information, but her life is turned upside down when she discovers the comatose body of a young woman while jogging through the woods. She feels a strange connection with the unidentified young woman and begins having visions while being overcome by unusual scents and sensations. At the same time her mother begins to unravel, acting more and more strangely until the night she disappears from home. Upon her return, she causes a fire that displaces the two women. With nowhere to go, Memphis reveals that she is the owner of a farm that was deeded to her years ago by a woman named Quinn Creel and the two women move into the crumbling farmhouse.
In The Good Daughter, Burt artfully interweaves the story of Dahlia and Memphis with the history of Quinn Creel. Brutally raped and left for dead by a gang of hunters, the teenage Quinn overcomes her deep shame to marry Nolan Creel, owner of his family’s farm, and believes happiness may be possible. But the promise of a full life soon fades when Quinn realizes the rape left her infertile; with no children forthcoming, Nolan begins to distance himself from Quinn and she fears she will lose her sole chance at a normal life. The fiber which binds the two stories becomes tighter as the novel progresses to its deeply disturbing conclusion.
Burt is a master at creepy domestic suspense. As the parallel story lines progress, the reader becomes increasingly aware of an underlying evil that is brilliantly foreshadowed. Aurora typifies the dying small Texas town, filled with decaying buildings and struggling small businesses, and lends itself perfectly to the eerie tale. Pick up a copy of The Good Daughter—you’ll never look at a cricket quite the same way again.