The Other Daughter
In Lisa Gardner’s The Other Daughter, we meet the Stokes family, a wealthy Boston family with, as it turns out, a lot to hide. When Melanie Stokes was nine, she was found in a Boston hospital. She didn’t know who she was or where she came from. Harper Stokes, a brilliant cardiac surgeon, helped to save her life and eventually he and his wife, Patricia, adopted her. Five years prior, The Stokes’ had lost their first daughter, Meagan, to a serial killer. Oddly, the serial killer, Russell Lee Holmes, is put to death in Texas on the same night that Melanie is discovered at the hospital. This is only one of many coincidences and surprises in this novel.
Twenty years later, Melanie is all grown up and throwing a party for her charity at the Stokes’ home in Boston’s Beacon Hill area. Suddenly, two people walk into her life who will change it forever – Larry Digger and David Riggs. Larry is a down on his luck reporter who believes he’s broken the story of the century – that Melanie Stokes is in truth Russell Lee Holmes’ long lost daughter. Melanie can’t believe that. Why would the Stokes adopt the daughter of the man who killed their first child? It makes no sense her, but nonetheless she feels compelled by the story. Melanie has never remembered the first nine years of her life and has been having flashbacks lately. This and Larry’s story disturb her. David is posing as a waiter but is in truth an FBI agent working white collar crime. Someone has tipped him off that Harper Stokes is inserting pacemakers in healthy patients for profit. David and Melanie are immediately attracted to each other, but the romance takes a back seat to the mystery.
As Melanie and David dig deeper into the Stokes’ past, they uncover startling secrets that put Melanie’s life in danger. Who is she and where does come from? Did Russell Lee Holmes really murder Meagan or was the crime closer to home? Melanie’s world is torn apart. Her family wasn’t perfect, but they were hers – and the fact that one of them could have been involved in heinous crimes is too much for her to bear. As the world she knows crumbles, she turns to David more and more. David, was once a talented baseball player before crippling arthritis destroyed his dream.. He’s haunted by his past and feels he has failed his father. In the midst of chaos, these two people heal each other. Though the romance is touching, it’s important to note that this novel is more suspense than romance.
The Other Daughter has a good amount of twists and turns and a few surprises. I did solve the major shocker but this in no way detracted from my enjoyment of the novel. The characters in general, were well-fleshed out and their motivations clear. I also have to admit that it was enjoyable reading a novel set in my hometown of Boston. Melanie occasionally grated on my nerves when her behavior would border on shrill, but because of what she has to deal with, I moved past it. If you’re looking for a good psychological suspense novel, this one fits the bill nicely.