REVIEW: THE PERFECT DAUGHTER, BY D. J. PALMER

Penny Francone, age sixteen, is a murderer. Her guilt is beyond doubt: she was found alone in the victim’s apartment, covered in blood, holding the murder weapon. The victim’s identity and her secret relationship to Penny give Penny the perfect motive, sealing the deal. All the jury needs to decide now is where Penny will serve out her sentence. Will she be found not guilty by reason of insanity, as her lawyer intends to argue? Or will she get a life sentence in a maximum-security prison?

Already reeling from tragedy after the sudden passing of her beloved husband a few years before, now Grace is on her knees, grateful that Massachusetts doesn’t allow the death penalty.

As Penny awaits trial in a state mental hospital, she is treated by Dr. Mitchell McHugh, a psychiatrist battling demons of his own. Grace’s determination to understand the why behind her daughter’s terrible crime fuels Mitch’s resolve to help the Francone family. Together, they set out in search of the truth about Penny, but discover instead a shocking hidden history of secrets, lies, and betrayals that threatens to consume them all.

The perfect daughter. Is she fooling them all?

 

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Alternating narrators tell us the current and backstory in The Perfect Daughter. I loved that Grace was so determined to find the truth and protect her beloved adopted daughter, Penny, whose alternating personalities might be a key to finding the truth.

Did Penny really have DID, or had she found a way to go back and forth between characters, hiding who she really is?

Even as I read along with all the narrators, including Dr. McHugh, I wasn’t even sure what we would discover.

The fact that DID had fallen into some disrepute by doctors and psychiatrists, there were others who still believed in the possibilities.

Digging into the past of Rachel Boyd, Penny’s birth mother, might yield some answers. But just when we thought we had the answers, an unexpected turn brought everything we needed. 4.5 stars.

***

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