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The Murderer's Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers Book Cover

Title:  The Murderer’s Daughters

Author:  Randy Susan Meyers

No. of Pages:  310

First Released:  January 2010

Synopsis (Courtesy of TLC Book Tours): “Lulu and Merry’s childhood was never ideal, but on the day before Lulu’s tenth birthday their father drives them into a nightmare. He’s always hungered for the love of the girl’s self-obsessed mother. After she throws him out, their troubles turn deadly.

Lulu’s mother warned her to never let him in, but when he shows up, he’s impossible to ignore. He bullies his way past ten-year-old Lulu, who obeys her father’s instructions to open the door, then listens in horror as her parents struggle. She runs for help and discovers upon her return that he’s murdered her mother, stabbed her sister, and tried to kill himself.

For thirty years, the sisters try to make sense of what happened. Their imprisoned father is a specter in both their lives, shadowing every choice they make. Though one spends her life pretending he’s dead, while the other feels compelled to help him, both fear that someday their imprisoned father’s attempts to win parole may meet success.

The Murderer’s Daughters is narrated in turn by Merry and Lulu. The book follows the sisters as children, as young women, and as adults, always asking how far forgiveness can stretch, while exploring sibling loyalty, the aftermath of family violence, and the reality of redemption.”

Comments and Critique:  One could categorize The Murderer’s Daughters as a drama, but that seems to ignore the nuances behind the story.   Rather, The Murderer’s Daughters crosses from a drama into a psychological study on the impact of tragedy and its ripple effect.  Sharply written and emotionally evocative, Ms. Meyers is not afraid to discuss a situation that occurs far too often and is ignored by society just as much.  It is a great reminder that suffering does not end when the physical wounds heal.

At its heart, The Murderer’s Daughters discusses the age-old debate of nature versus nurture and child-rearing.  In fact, it raises many questions about Merry’s and Lulu’s fates and the journeys through childhood and beyond.  Were the girls ultimately better off without both parents or were they doomed to a life filled with drama and pain from the start?  Would they have each recovered from the trauma better if they had been allowed to go their separate ways?   Is it fair to put the burden of familial responsibility on children? 

Not only does Ms. Meyers present discussion points about child-rearing, she raises questions about what it means to be a parent.  Is it a title that is earned or granted upon birth?  What right does a father or mother have to demand affection and attention when said parent has done something so despicable that it changes his or her child’s life forever?

Tragic and intense, The Murderer’s Daughters will leave readers questioning everything they know about parenting and what it means to be a family.  Its portrayal of the murder and the emotional aftermath is haunting yet lyrical, demanding the reader to continue with the story.  In Merry and Lulu, Ms. Meyers created two characters about whom it is easy to empathize, involving the reader emotionally.  The entire Zachariah family is one that lingers well after the last page is read.  Not an easy read at times, The Murderer’s Daughters is well worth the time and effort.

For more reviews and reflections on The Murderer’s Daughters, please check out these other tour hosts!

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