The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

trophy-childAbout the Book

Karen Bloom is not the coddling mother type. She believes in raising her children for success. Some in the neighborhood call her assertive, others say she’s driven, but in gossiping circles she’s known as: the tiger mother. Karen believes that tough discipline is the true art of parenting and that achievement leads to ultimate happiness. She expects her husband and her children to perform at 200 percent—no matter the cost. But in an unending quest for excellence, her seemingly flawless family start to rebel against her.

Her husband Noel is a handsome doctor with a proclivity for alcohol and women. Their prodigy daughter, Bronte, is excelling at school, music lessons, dance classes, and yet she longs to run away. Verity, Noel’s teenage daughter from his first marriage, is starting to display aggressive behavior. And Karen’s son from a previous relationship falls deeper into drug use. When tragedy strikes the Blooms, Karen’s carefully constructed facade begins to fall apart—and once the deadly cracks appear, they are impossible to stop.


The Trophy Child by Paula Daly tells the story of one very complicated family. I will try and break it down for you. Karen and Noel are married. Karen has a son from a past relationship, Ewan and Noel has a daughter from his last marriage, Verity. Karen and Noel have a daughter together, Bronte. Some members of this family like each other which others totally dislike each other. From the beginning, it is evident that Karen is a bit of an overbearing mother. She puts all her attention on Bronte who she believes is very talented and intelligent.

Karen is a character who is easy to dislike. I maybe in the minority here but I didn’t dislike her enough to abandon her on a desert with no food or water. I mean, she is not the best mother but she could have been worse. She was overbearing and expected way too much from her kid. As the story progressed, I sympathized with her especially after the second mystery in the book. I feel like the other characters judged her a bit too harshly. I really didn’t like Noel. He seemed selfish and weak. Although he was one of the MCs, he felt more like a support character. I did like the detective in the story though. Joanne was different from the usual hard-core, no-nonsense detectives. As a matter of fact, readers are introduced to her during a blind date. She felt real and easily likeable.  I really can’t say much about the other characters because I feel like I  didn’t get to know them.

I have always seen other bloggers use this term, slow-burn. I have never used it to describe any book until now. This book is slow but it is not boring. The suspense builds slowly until everything falls apart. There were stories and mysteries with the main story. One of the main mysteries was sort of solved only for a bigger one to occur although in the end, they were all connected. I don’t know if there was much of a twist in the book. I didn’t have any OMG moments and the reveals didn’t feel shocking but that really wasn’t an issue. I would have wanted a different ending though. I just felt like a lot was left hanging. In addition, I didn’t like how two of the characters, one who I disliked and one who I liked, ended up together.

This book has many good reviews on goodreads but it wasn’t for me. I felt like it took me two years to get through it though it was just a week. The pacing was a bit slow for my liking. In addition, I didn’t like most of the characters especially Noel. However, if you like domestic noirs, a bit of mystery and books that can be described using fancy words like slow-burn (I hope that I am using it correctly) then I think that you will enjoy this one.