Part-time Bluffton resident Patti Callahan Henry’s newest novel will have readers hooked early on. From there, it only gets better.
“The Favorite Daughter” takes place in a small town – Watersend, S.C. – on the bluffs of the May River. Doesn’t that sound a lot like Bluffton?
“The Favorite Daughter” tells the story of Lena Donohue, a strong, accomplished and intuitive young woman who gets a call from her brother to return to her childhood home due to concerns about their father.
Having grown up in Watersend, Lena fled her home after a painful betrayal 10 years ago and built herself a new life as a travel writer, calling New York home and calling herself Colleen. At the time, she saw no other way to cope and, except for phone calls and a couple of quick visits, she essentially rejected her Lowcountry home.
In returning, she re-examines her life as a whole, questioning her drastic departure, yet still hurting and feeling self-doubt. Ten years out from had seemed like the worst thing that could ever happen to her, she now sees it may have been precisely the best thing.
Bit by bit, as she and her siblings, Hallie and Shane, face the decline of their father’s memory, she reflects on her own memories about her mother that have long perplexed and weighed heavily on her heart.
They decide to create a memory book for their father as a birthday gift and a way to perhaps give him back some of his memories. However, in looking through old family photos, there are dates that don’t add up. In interviewing old-timers who knew their father, there are confusing details.
Persevering, Colleen ultimately finds her true home is right where she left it and to her great surprise, she also discovers unexpected truths that clear up the confusion and start to make sense of everything.
There is much more to the story but that is best left for the reader to discover in this compelling, satisfying tale.
With perfectly paced storytelling, Henry has written an epic essay on life’s most difficult and its most wondrous moments. Fans will treasure this story as the touchstones that mark our lives – happiness, heartbreak, revelation and regret – are all here, plus a bonus. Upon closing “The Favorite Daughter” one might feel an irresistible urge to book a trip to the Emerald Isle.
Glenda Harris of Bluffton is a freelance writer and editor, nature lover and aspiring novelist.