Book Review: The Favorite Daughter by Patti Callahan Henry

This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Title: The Favorite Daughter

Author: Patti Callahan Henry

Published: June 4, 2019

Publisher: Penguin Random House



Ten years ago, Lena Donohue experienced a wedding-day betrayal so painful that she fled the small town of Watersend, South Carolina, and reinvented herself in New York City. Though now a freelance travel writer, the one place she rarely goes is home—until she learns of her dad’s failing health.

Returning to Watersend means seeing the sister she has avoided for a decade and the brother who runs the family’s Irish pub and has borne the burden of his sisters’ rift. While Alzheimer’s slowly steals their father’s memories, the siblings rush to preserve his life in stories and in photographs. As his secret past brings Lena’s own childhood into focus, it sends her on a journey to discover the true meaning of home.


I had a vague expectation to love this book. When I first heard about it, the big thing that caught my attention was that it was a relationship between two sisters and how things can absolutely damage that kind of bond. Stories like this reach out to me as I have a sister that I was never able to connect with because of her disability. We never got to have sister quarrels or grow up doing each other’s hair.

So when I heard about this one, I knew I wanted to read it. But boy did it surprise me. Not only is it about family bonds, but it’s about finding home. Which is another aspect of my life that has been very tricky to determine.

Lena’s whole heart was invested in her community, her family and her career in Watershed. Until she found her sister kissing her fiance on her wedding day. After that everything changed. She left her roots behind, including a brother, mother and father. As well as the sister she couldn’t speak to for the next ten years. Upon her return to assist with her ailing father who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, her and her siblings unearth even more secrets that they fear will tear them all apart.

But rather than create more turmoil for the family, it actually helps Lena to mend her broken heart, find a home she didn’t even know existed, and repair the relationship with her sister that has been pulling them both down for ten years.

So many elements within this story spoke to me on a personal level that I found myself sobbing at many points in the last quarter of this story as timelines unfold and truths are exposed. We are not always what we think we are, but we are always determined to push forward and find our own piece of happiness. This is what home is to many of us ‘travelers’.

Let me know your thoughts below and whether or not you’ve read this one yet. Coming June, 2019!

❤ Ashley


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