Like Mother, Like Daughter By Elle Croft: Bristling with suspense and mystery - book review -

Teenager Imogen Braidwood has always sensed that her family life was out of kilter but  discovers that she is not just adopted, but the daughter of two of Australia’s most notorious serial killers.

Thursday, 16th July 2020, 12:30 pm
Like Mother, Like Daughter
Like Mother, Like Daughter

Teenager Imogen Braidwood has always sensed that her family life was out of kilter…

But when she discovers that she is not just adopted, but the daughter of two of Australia’s most notorious serial killers, the 16-year-old starts to worry that her own dangerously overwhelming feelings of anger are ‘a symptom of something hidden and malignant.’

If you have ever mused on the moral complexities of nature versus nurture, then the dark and disturbing premise at the heart of Elle Croft’s riveting, tension-packed new thriller is guaranteed to test your own theories and leave you clutching the edge of your seat.

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With secrets hidden behind every door, a cast of superbly drawn characters, and a maze of mind games and social conundrums, Like Mother, Like Daughter is a brilliant page-turner starring three powerful female narrative voices and a final, shocking twist that will take your breath away… and make you go back to the beginning and start all over again.

When Kat Braidwood gets a call from her eldest daughter Imogen’s school to say that she has punched another student, her old fears and guilt about the legacy of Imogen’s true parentage surface ‘like a creature in hibernation, long-forgotten but still alive.’

Both of Kat’s girls are smart and well-adjusted and, on the outside, she has always tried to treat Imogen and 12-year-old Jemima equally, but she struggles with Imogen because her birth mother, Sally Sanders, is a serial killer who is behind bars for the rest of her life.

Imogen’s father, who was also complicit, is now dead… but Imogen doesn’t know any of this, and Kat and her husband Dylan haven’t even told her that she is adopted.

What Kat and Dylan don’t know is that Imogen – who struggles to contain an anger like ‘a wound, dark and full of poison’ – has mysteriously discovered the truth about her birth parents and is terrified that this ‘darkness’ is in her blood.

And when Imogen disappears, Kat and Dylan fear that knowing who she really is will take her down a perilous path that ‘was imprinted within her very core.’

Croft plays a blinder with this chilling, unsettling and thought-provoking journey into the psyches of some fascinating and terrifying characters as Imogen seeks out the dark truth of her birth family and their past deeds.

At the heart of the story are three memorable women… troubled Imogen who is trying to escape the poison in her genes, her mother Kat who has her own fears and secrets, and the evil Sally Sanders whose unspeakable crimes might well have forged her daughter’s destiny.

Bristling with suspense and mystery, and packing far more emotional power than your average thriller-chiller, Like Mother, Like Daughter asks difficult questions about the influences of birth and childhood, and how we view other people… and is so dangerously addictive that it should come with a health warning.

(Orion, paperback, £8.99)