Okay, so well worn copies of Gone Girl and Dark Places languish on your bedside cabinet, and you’re still coming down after the Gillian Flynn whirlwind that was HBO’s Sharp Objects, but don’t worry. You don’t need to sit staring into space until the next Flynn publication. Oh no. You’re about to add a new favorite to your list. Enter Kaira Rouda.
It is no exaggeration to say that Rouda is the new mistress of domestic suspense. Let’s start at the beginning, with her first thriller Best Day Ever, dubbed by Publishers Weekly as “A tensely written, shocking book that will hold readers on the edge of their seats to the very last page.”Good Housekeeping called it “Chilling, satisfying suspense,” while the Library Journal, in its Starred review declared it “Destined to fly off the shelves.”
Her website gives the following synopsis:
Paul Strom has the perfect life: a glittering career as an advertising executive, a beautiful wife, two healthy boys and a big house in a wealthy suburb. And he’s the perfect husband: breadwinner, protector, provider. That’s why he’s planned a romantic weekend for his wife, Mia, at their lake house, just the two of them. And he’s promised today will be the best day ever.
But as Paul and Mia drive out of the city and toward the countryside, a spike of tension begins to wedge itself between them and doubts start to arise. How much do they trust each other? And how perfect is their marriage, or any marriage, really?
Forcing us to ask ourselves just how well we know those who are closest to us, Best Day Ever crackles with dark energy, spinning ever tighter toward its shocking conclusion. In the vein of The Couple Next Door, Kaira Rouda weaves a gripping, tautly suspenseful tale of deception and betrayal dark enough to destroy a marriage… or a life.
No wonder Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke, bestselling authors of The Good Widow, called it a “Creepy, spine-tingling and utterly addictive tale of domestic suspense!”
Before we get to her latest release, the hotly anticipated The Favorite Daughter, let’s take a look at what led her to where she is today.
According to her website, Kaira Sturdivant Rouda is “an accomplished business leader, entrepreneur, national speaker and internationally bestselling and award-winning author.” Writing has long been part of her life in her roles as a magazine editor, and society columnist, however did not become her focus until after she had achieved huge success in other areas including business, female empowerment and social activism. In her twenties, she was “active in the areas of homelessness, food security, and empowering women and girls as a volunteer. She [also] created the first walk-in emergency shelter for homeless families in Central Ohio,” which won her numerous awards. After this, she was the recipient of the Stevie Award for Women in Business for her work “creating the first female-focused residential real estate brand, Real Living, and growing the brand to more than twenty-two states before its sale to Berkshire Hathaway.” It was then that she published her debut book, Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs, after which she embarked on “a national speaking tour where she inspired thousands.” Since then, she has turned her attentions to novel-writing full time, and after the treat that is Best Day Ever, we’re delighted she has!
So now, it’s time to take a look at The Favorite Daughter, which Bustle promises “Will hit you right in the heart.” In addition to being one of PopSugar’s Best Books of Spring, and receiving a Starred review from Publishers Weekly, The Favorite Daughter has been described by USA Today bestselling author Cristina Alger, as “compulsively readable and deeply satisfying psychological suspense.” Liv Constantine, author of the national bestseller The Last Mrs. Parrish, which was a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick, said it “leaves you wanting more”, while New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf dubbed it “a smart, wickedly plotted psychological thriller brimming with dark surprises.”
So if, somehow, you’re still reading and haven’t abandoned this article in pursuit of ordering both of Rouda’s thrillers, knocking your Gillian Flynns on the floor in your haste, then check out the synopsis of The Favorite Daughter.
The perfect home. The perfect family. The perfect lie.
Jane Harris lives in a sparkling home in an oceanfront gated community in Orange County. It’s a place that seems too beautiful to be touched by sadness. But exactly one year ago, Jane’s oldest daughter, Mary, died in a tragic accident and Jane has been grief-stricken ever since. Lost in a haze of anti-depressants, she’s barely even left the house. Now that’s all about to change.
It’s time for Jane to reclaim her life and her family. Jane’s husband, David, has planned a memorial service for Mary and three days later, their youngest daughter, Betsy, graduates high school. Yet as Jane reemerges into the world, it’s clear her family has changed without her. Her husband has been working long days—and nights—at the office. Her daughter seems distant, even secretive. And her beloved Mary was always such a good girl—dutiful and loving. But does someone know more about Mary, and about her last day, than they’ve revealed?
The bonds between mothers and daughters, and husbands and wives should never be broken. But you never know how far someone will go to keep a family together…
So, Flynn fans. You have no choice but to board the Kaira Rouda train and ride it all the way to Thrilltown. That was corny. But it’s true.
Featured Image Via Kaira Rouda