Ten years ago, Lena Donohue experienced a wedding-day betrayal so painful that she fled the small town of Watersend, South Carolina, and reinvented herself in New York City. Though now a freelance travel writer, the one place she rarely goes is home—until she learns of her dad’s failing health.

Returning to Watersend means seeing the sister she has avoided for a decade and the brother who runs the family’s Irish pub and has borne the burden of his sisters’ rift. While Alzheimer’s slowly steals their father’s memories, the siblings rush to preserve his life in stories and in photographs. As his secret past brings Lena’s own childhood into focus, it sends her on a journey to discover the true meaning of home.

My Thoughts: Colleen and Hallie were as close as two sisters could be until the betrayal that changed everything between them. I was immediately caught up in the family stories that unfolded in The Favorite Daughter, and for most of the book, I was angry with Hallie, on Colleen’s behalf. But then, almost like turning a page and finding a completely different version of reality, another perspective revealed itself.

The pub that was the centerpiece of the family life in Watersend was based on an Irish pub and another family story that was only fleshed out near the end. A journey to Ireland, a travel memoir that incorporates Colleen’s search for home, and the ultimate reunion kept me turning pages until the end. 4.5 stars.



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