The Favorite Daughter

On her wedding day, Lena Donohue found her fiancé kissing her sister, Hallie, in the hallway of the church. She fled her small South Carolina hometown, started going by Colleen (her full name) and has built a career in New York as a travel writer. But when her dad, Gavin, starts losing his memory to Alzheimer's disease, Colleen's brother, Shane, calls and asks her to come home. As Gavin struggles to adjust, Colleen, Shane and Hallie begin making plans for his care and gathering stories from his life for a memory book. What they uncover will have far-reaching implications for Colleen--and it may help her edge toward forgiving Hallie.

Patti Callahan Henry (The Bookshop at Water's End) returns to the setting of Watersend, S.C., for her 14th novel, The Favorite Daughter. She brings the town to life, especially the Lark, the family pub that has long served as a community gathering place. Colleen clings to her resentment and hurt, but Henry treats her and the other characters with compassion. Shane's deep love for his sisters and his frustration with their feud are entirely understandable, and Hallie--struggling to parent two young daughters and confront the truth about her marriage--becomes more than just the sister who shattered Colleen's dreams. Henry skillfully depicts layered sibling dynamics and family secrets, exploring the different versions of a person that emerge through the memories of their loved ones. The Favorite Daughter is a warmhearted narrative that honors the complexity and centrality of family bonds. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

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