The Other Daughter (The Homecoming Series, Book 1)
Kregel Publications (2007)
Reviewed by Leslie Granier for Reader Views (5/08)
Susanne Carson is supposed to be spending the evening celebrating her birthday with her husband David. Boy does she get a huge surprise when a ragged-looking teenaged girl knocks on the door and says her mother has died and that David is her father. Shocked and in disbelief, Susanne hopes this is a hoax or a misunderstanding, but since the girl (Brianna) resembles David so strongly, she knows it is the truth. Together, Susanne and David must decide how to handle the situation to do what is best for their own children, while not abandoning Brianna. After a life-altering decision, they learn to embrace the gift they have been given by putting their lives in God’s hands.
The author does an excellent job of allowing the reader to feel what the characters are experiencing. Susanne’s anger with David for his unfaithfulness and the resentment she feels toward Brianna for showing up and disrupting their lives is realistically portrayed. David’s difficulties in accepting Brianna led him to become a passive decision-maker about her future. Instead, he burdened Susanne with formulating the plan on how to handle the situation. Brianna’s feelings were also well-documented. She did not want to get close because her mother had always told her that her father did not want her. It’s ironic how the other children (Josh and Meagan) had no difficulty accepting Brianna as their sister. It is funny how children sometimes need to teach adults how to behave.
This book will appeal to teenagers and adults. It contains a strong message of the importance of turning control of one’s life over to God. It reminds the reader that we can not change the past. Instead, we must accept what has happened and decide to move forward while keeping the best interests of everyone involved.
“The Other Daughter” is a well-written book that will trigger deep emotions in the reader, regardless of which character he or she associates with most closely. It will leave readers thinking about how they might handle a similarly difficult situation. This would be an excellent choice for a reading group because there are many situations in this book that will allow for intense debate.