Yes, My Darling Daughter: A Novel
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Every once in a blue moon, a masterful writer dives into gothic waters and emerges with a novel that―like Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, Minette Walters's The Breaker, and Donna Tartt's The Little Friend―simultaneously celebrates and transcends the tradition. Welcome Margaret Leroy to the clan.
What's the matter with Sylvie?
Such a pretty girl. Four years old; well loved by her young mother, Grace. But there's something . . . off about the child. Her deathly fear of water; night terrors; most of all, her fixation with a photo of an Irish seaside town called Coldharbour.
"Sylvie, tell me about your picture. Why's it so special, sweetheart?" My heart is racing, but I try to make my voice quite calm.
"That's my seaside, Grace." Very matter-of-fact, as though this should be obvious. "I lived there, Grace. Before."
Haunted and haunting, Yes, My Darling Daughter is a wonderfully original, deliciously suspenseful mystery, "a haunting book and a tantalizing read" (The Providence Journal).
think of Matt with a tug of regret. “Nothing like that,” I tell her. “We have quite an uneventful life.” She picks up her cup, takes a pensive sip. “And this house she draws over and over. The house with the blue border and the doors and windows always just the same . . . We do encourage her to draw other things. Beth tried to get her to draw some people—you know, just very gently. ‘Can you draw a little girl for me?’ But she wouldn’t. She’s a good little artist, I’ll grant her that, but I
Her face is hard, set. “Sylvie, just eat it, okay?” My chest tightens. I feel something edging nearer, feel its cool breath on my skin. But I try to tell myself this is just an everyday argument—a child refusing to eat, a parent getting annoyed. I tell myself this is nothing. Her eyes are on me. Her gaze is narrow, constricted, the pinpricks of her pupils like the tiniest black beads. She looks at me as though she doesn’t recognize me, or doesn’t like what she sees. “I don’t like it here,”
won’t—can’t—be a happy one.” “No. I understand that.” He’s treating me so delicately. I wonder how he sees me—perhaps as rather fragile, labeled HANDLE WITH CARE. We sit there for a moment, and neither of us says anything. Wind rattles at my window. There’s a sound of shattering from the streets, the shocking sound of breaking glass. I reach out for my coffee and see the tremor in my hand. When I pick up the cup, the liquid shivers all across its surface. “Think about it,” he says. “Yes.”
wardrobe, some T-shirts and her suede laced boots and her daisy dungarees. “You’ve packed,” I say. “Yes, Grace. I’m ready.” Slightly impatient with me, as though she thinks I’m being rather dilatory. “Aren’t you ready, Grace?” 32 WE CROSS THE edge of the land. If I lean over Sylvie, who has the window seat, I can see the Irish Sea below us—the white fringe of surf that follows the line of the shore, that from up here seems to have no movement, to be as still as something drawn or painted.
course. Did Brigid tell you that?” “Yes, she told us,” I say. “I blame myself for not seeing how depressed she was. I knew she’d been ill, but I really thought she was recovering. Sometimes we can’t see what’s right in front of our eyes . . . Well, you’re a psychologist, Adam, I know. You’d have some thoughts on that . . .” “It can be hard, certainly,” says Adam. “Depression is often covert.” “The thing is, Alice was a very private person.” Marcus’s face is pensive, concerned. “And maybe no