The Favorite Daughter by Patti Callahan Henry

The Favorite Daughter

Patti Callahan Henry

When her father's secret past brings Lena’s own childhood into focus, it sends her on a journey to discover the true meaning of home.

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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Bookshop at Water’s End, here is a lush, heart-wrenching novel about the power of memory, the meaning of family, and learning to forgive.

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.

Advance Galley Reviews

Unfortunately time got the best of me and I wasn't able to make it through this book.

I can't say I enjoyed this all that much. The story was just kind of boring and I didn't care much for it.

3.5 Stars On the happiest day of her life, her wedding day, Lena is traumatized and betrayed in the worst way when she catches her sister in the arms of her husband-to-be. She flees her small hometown to New York City creating a new life for herself never speaking to her sister or fiancee again. Ten years have passed since the day she was jilted when her younger brother calls and begs her to return home to help him care for their ailing father who is battling Alzheimer's. She reluctantly agrees to return home but refuses to speak to her sister and her ex, now her sisters husband. While trying to help her father old family secrets come to light and the concept of forgiveness for the sake of family makes Lena question her own stance. I liked the beginning of the novel it had a lot of potential but the last half became a little too far fetched and I didn't like the ending. Felt like there were gaps in the family secrets that needed to be flushed out more but I don't want to give too much away so I will leave it at that.

Just in time for packing your summer beach bag, Patti Callahan Henry is providing The Favorite Daughter to help you stock it. Set mostly in a small coastal South Carolina town, Henry’s latest story explores loss and betrayal, family history and its secrets. Lena Donohue has been in New York for ten years when her brother calls to say the family needs her help. She’s been largely absentee since a significant betrayal sent her running - away from the family and away from her hometown. Now, her father has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and figuring out how to cope will require the help of all three of his children. As Lena and her two siblings start to pull together milestones from her father’s past in order to help him hang on to it longer, the pieces don’t all quite fit, leading the three siblings to question the family lore they’ve believed to be true. And as the real family history emerges, Lena, in particular, gets some answers (as well as new questions) she didn't know she needed. While this should be a post about Henry’s book, I need to stop and rave for just a minute about the author herself. I had the privilege of meeting Patti about ten years ago when she spoke at my mom’s Literary Club. In person, she’s completely down to earth and simply lovely. If you ever have the chance to see her (she frequents the annual Decatur Book Festival!) do it. If you don’t, follow her on all the socials. She is one of those gracious authors who engages with her readers. (Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.) If your summer TBR is already full, then you might want to add The Favorite Daughter to your audiobook lineup. Henry announced in April that fellow-author Joshilyn Jackson would be narrating the audio version. If you’ve never listened to one of her books, you’re missing out. I’ve written here before that Jackson is one the few authors that I enjoy so much on audio, it's my preferred experience with her writing. Bottom line - it is a treat to have these two authors teaming up. The Favorite Daughter is a perfect summer read with enough heartache, strife and family drama balanced by redemption, retribution and resolution to be a quite satisfying read. Lather on the SPF or pop a wide umbrella because you won't want to leave your chair when you get going with The Favorite Daughter.

What a wonderful novel. I loved the way Patti Callahan Henry brought the story to life. Even though Lena and Hallie, her sister, had a huge falling out, Lena came home to help take care of their ailing father. Lena finally decides she has to find out what happened in her father's past. After Lena, or Colleen, as she announces herself, meets Sully she finally realizes what home actually means and decides where she belongs. This was really a coming home story in the full meaning of the word. Elegantly written, I will definitely be looking for more novels by Ms. Callahan Henry.

I thought this was a beautifully written novel with exquisite detail. I felt as though I was watching this book play out as of it were a movie. It is a story of family, forgiveness, and moving forward while learning from the past. This is the first book in have read by Author Patti Callahan Henry, but it will not be my last I was given an Advanced readers copy from First To Read and this is my honest opinion.

When I read the summary of this book, I was very interested in the storyline and characters. I enjoyed the book. I felt that the story built and was carried through to the end.

I love reading southern fiction and Patti Callahan is a fantastic writer in this genre. She has been a favorite author since I read her first book. With her new book, she has become one of my Top 10 of the few authors that I will pre-order their books without knowing anything about them. Lena and Hallie are sisters - very close in age and each other's best friend. They live with their parents and brother Shane in a small town in South Carolina. When a terrible betrayal happens on her wedding day, Lena runs away from her home and tries to live a new life in NYC. She becomes a travel writer and travels all over the world, she has a small apartment and lots of friends and boyfriends but she hasn't been part of her family or spoken to her sister in over 10 years. When her father's illness makes it necessary for her to return home, she realizes that it will be difficult to be around her sister but that she has to endure it for the sake of their father. While Alzheimer's slowly steals their father's memories, the siblings rush to preserve his life in stories and in photographs. As the family tries to create a book of memories for their father, Lena realizes that it's time for her to look at some of her old memories to see if they are true or her perceptions. This is a wonderful novel. I enjoyed all of the characters, especially the father and I felt their love and concern for each other throughout the book. I hated seeing the sisters estrangement and their problems in re-connecting with each other since there was so much pain on both sides. The other fantastic part of this novel were the settings of the SC Lowcountry and Ireland - which are two of my favorite places to visit. The locations are described so well that I felt like I had taken a mini-vacation to both places at the end of the book. My prediction is that this is going to be one of the very popular books of the summer. I know that it will be in my top 10 list for 2019.

2.5 stars Even though I'm giving this book a fairly low rating, it's not a case of me thinking this is a horrible book and nobody should like it. I believe it will appeal to many readers but I had a few problems with the characters and storyline which prevented me from fully enjoying the book. Lena Donohue has avoided seeing her sister, Hallie, for a decade. Let's just say Lena's wedding years ago didn't go exactly as planned and even though so much time has passed she still has unresolved issues with Hallie. Unfortunately their father has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease so she returns to her hometown to help Hallie and their brother document his life story. But when you flee your past can you ever truly come back home? Unfortunately, I had just read a book with similar storylines and that one just worked better for me than this one. I didn't really care for the two sisters so it was hard to feel fully invested in their relationship. When you start the book you have a pretty good idea about the end game, but I was disappointed in how the author chose to get there. I wish she would have gone in a completely different direction in regards to Hallie and her husband's marriage as it just felt tired, stale, and exactly the same plot as every other love triangle type story. I also thought the romance between Lena and her love interest was kinda boring and fell flat. I really enjoyed the author's previous novel, The Bookshop at Water's End, so I wish this book would have been a better read for me. But just because it wasn't a good fit for me, doesn't mean others won't find more positive things to take away from the novel. Thank you to First to Read for the opportunity to read an advance digital copy!

This was a really great story. The Favorite Daughter is a fascinating look at family relationships, secrets, and the ways in which our memories define us. The family secret was a bit predictable, and I figured it out very early on in the story. However, that did not lesson my enjoyment at all. I loved the relationships between Colleen, Hallie, Shane, and their father - their family dynamic felt realistic and all of the characters were extremely well-written. Overall, The Favorite Daughter is a moving, poignant story and I highly recommend it.

This was my first book by this author and I loved it! The story developed gradually and had several twists and turns. Some were predictable but were still enjoyable. The book was relatable and I enjoyed how thought provoking it was in regard to my life. I would highly recommend this book.

The writing was excellent.There were many beautiful family moments which were written quite well and I enjoyed the personality of Coleen's brother, Shane. However, I could never quite connect with the main character, Colleen. I actually found her quite irritating. How could it take 10 years to forgive your sister and family and over a guy who clearly wasn't worth it. She went on about how close she was to her father and yet had to be pressured by guilt by her brother to return home in his time of need. Who does that? I have enjoyed many of this author's books and her tales of family are written so well so that I would recommend her writing style and books. This book has much to recommend it. I am just sorry that the protagonist irritated me. Unfortunately, I experienced Alzheimer's very closely with a loved one and this was a bit of sugar-coated look at being a caregiver for this disease.I did love the idea of the memory book. Unfortunately, I was not the best reader for this book. I believe that many others will love it. Thank you to First to Read Program for this ARC.

This was a great read. So many levels of misunderstanding in the family. Lena never felt she was her mother's daughter. Before her dad passed away he revealed his life while in Ireland. Reconciliation was difficult for the siblings.

I loved this story. The author did such a fantastic job of combining two separate story lines and how they ran into one another. The characters are genuine and real, very well developed. The writing was smooth and effortless. I was swiping pages and done before I knew it. Can’t wait to read other books by Patti Callahan Henry

Memories and how each individual "remembers" the effect they have on one's life is central to this book. Lena's return home to assist her siblings as their father struggles with Alzheimer's makes her confront the memories she had left behind. A long buried family secret helps Lena understand why she never felt she was the "favorite" daughter. Not quite the happily ever ending but a satisfying one.

After 10 years of basically avoiding her sister after a life changing betrayal, Lena's brother calls her to come home. Not for her sister, but for their Dad who is diagnosed with Alzheimer's. The three siblings must reconcile old hurts to be able to take care of their Dad. Thru the journey they all find out secrets, that forgiveness helps not only the wronged person, but the person who did the wrong and what home really means. It shows them they all have grown in 10 yrs, Lena not as much as she should have, but now must for her Dad's sake. And it also shows them how much memories play a part in a person's life and how much someone can be affected by losing those memories. The siblings are well developed and the story plays out well with each finding out some things they never knew about their Dad or their selves. Enjoy the journey with them.

A return to Watersend looks at family history, and the part memory plays in the stories we tell ourselves. A truly lovely read about how family defines us. I particularly valued the insight into dealing with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis in a beloved parent.

This book initially captured my attention, but it started to fade by around the 100th page. I simply lost interest in the main character, because I couldn’t really connect with her. I started to question why, after 10 years, she still allows the betrayal of her sister to have such a hold over her. Perhaps I completely missed the point, but quite simply this book just wasn’t the one for me. I cannot fault the writing though - it is superb.

The Favorite Daughter is a great read. The emotions drum the full gamut from the ultimate betrayal to sheer joy. It begins with a wrecked wedding and ten years of isolation and silence. Lena returns home to witness her father's rapid decline. Family secrets are divulged that pull the family together, yet apart as well. The wrap up is satisfactory and Lena arrives at a definition of what home really means to her.

We all cope with devastating circumstances in our lives differently. The Favorite Daughter revolves around the story of Lena's journey to cope and find her way home. Patti Callahan Henry is superb at character development as well as painting the beauty of the Lowcountry with such grace that it can be seen, heard, smelled, and felt through her words. Be prepared to live through the pain of Lena and her family as they journey through illnesses and struggle with forgiveness. Even at its end, the story still resonates in your heart.

Colleen (Lena) moves away because of an awful betrayal from her sister. Her brother Shane calls her home 10 years later after her father is diagnosed with Alzheimer's. She has to deal with her father's failing health and her fall out with her sister. I loved the way the story was written. It was easy to lose yourself in the book. This book will stay with me for a while! Loved it!

The book as a whole caught my attention whilst I read it, but didn't sustain it throughout. It engaged me but it wasn't captivating. It may have probably been the writing pattern but I felt the author could have dug deeper and been more enthralling. It lacked an element of fluidity in execution. Also, I believe the title of the book should have been different as there are so many facets to the storyline. The narrative leaned towards the subject of infidelity and betrayal more than any other issue in my opinion. Furthermore, there were a lot of loose ends that didn't come together expertly. The book could have been more concise and achieved a more profound intrigue and suspense in its plot and build-up. Overall an average read.

What a wonderful story! Great characters and a storyline that kept my attention and kept me reading and away from Netflix once I started it. I’d highly recommended this to all. Thank you to FirstToRead for my ARC.

4 stars out of 5 The wedding of Colleen(Lena) and Walter was set for spring .The temperature was in the seventys with flowers out.Lena was set to wear her aunt's dress from forty years ago.Lenas sister Hailie was maid of honor and planner .Lena declares the marriage will not affect her relationship to her sister and that they will always be close. Hailies longest relationship is six months and that's how long Walter and Lena where together before the engagement.Then the unthinkable happens. I think you can know from the beginning whether someone is right for you.Ten years later Colleen works for a travel company,no longer goes by Lena and has apartment in Brooklyn.Colleen is called home when her dad starts showing signs of Alzheimer's.I understood Colleen and how it's hard to let go of the past but I wanted her to spend more time with the family.I also thought it would be good for her to start a family of her own.I wanted her to drop the walls she has up with not letting a bf close.I liked how they all rallied around their dad. Also reviewed on goodreads and and mentioned was a first to read book.

A lot can change in ten years, but time and distance have done nothing to erase or relieve the main character Colleen "Lena" Donohue of her sister's betrayal. She is forced go back home with her father's fast deterioration upon the revelation of his Alzheimer's diagnosis. Together with her two siblings, they have to overcome their heart wrenching past to help keep their fathers memories alive. This leads them down a winding road where they are forced to confront forgiveness, acceptance and the truth. Set against the backdrop of a small Southern town that embodies everything we love about them and how much they matter in our lives. It is incredibly real and relatable... I found myself wondering if it were someone's biography from time to time. It's rich with Irish proverbs and as I think of it, this book is gold on the surface of a clear river. I absolutely recommend this, I could not put it down and I'm sure you won't too.

I have never been a fan of “low country” literature but I throughly fell in love with this story. Patti Callahan Henry took me to a place I could imagine. She brought characters that I could relate to. All in all, this s is a book that should be read by all!

I received an advance copy of The Favorite Daughter by Patti Callahan Henry through First To Read in exchange for an honest review. I love this book! I have read nonstop since I started this book earlier this morning. The Favorite Daughter is a story about family, what keeps a family together and what tears it apart. The story pulls you in immediately. I initially thought the favorite daughter was Hallie, then I thought it was Lena, and then I realized it was both of them for a different parent and for different reasons. I highly recommend this book. Thank you for the opportunity to read an advance copy.

I just finished reading an ARC of The Favorite Sister by Patti Callahan Henry, received through Penquin Random House's First To Read program. I loved this book! Haunted by her sister's betrayal, Lena Donohue hasn't been home to South Carolina's Lowcountry in ten years.  When she finally returns to assist with her father's rapidly progressing Alzheimer's, she's flooded with memories of childhood, family, and the feeling her mother always loved her a little less. While working to perserve her father's memories, she is forced to confront her own, learning that memories are often based on perception, and can change with time. Finally reconciling fact with the memories that have haunted her for so long, Lena sets on a journey to discover the importance of family and true meaning of home. This is a lovely, although sometimes painful, story of family, sisters, Alzheimer's, and finally finding home. I enjoyed it and highly recommend.

This is a story of betrayal, family, relationships, love and forgiveness. I spent the first part of this book feeling indignant on behalf of the main character and in disbelief and shock by the behavior of her family members toward her - maybe even more more so than the reason for the estrangement itself. The constant reminders, anger, blame and resentment on the part of her family members felt misplaced and to the point of almost being cruel. I wanted to stop reading and pull a DNF but I couldn’t because the story kept me engaged and interested throughout. Somewhere along the way the story took a turn for me and became a window into the personal lives of people where not everything is always exactly as it seemed. No one is more surprised than I am that I ended up feeling so differently by the time I finished the book. It is really a testament to the author and her storytelling ability that I was able to go from one extreme to the other and end up loving the story. I recommend reading The Favorite Daughter and plan to read more of this new to me author.

***Thanks to First to Read for providing me a complimentary copy of THE FAVORITE DAUGHTER by Patti Callahan Henry in exchange for my honest review.*** As Colleen (Lena) is about to walk down the aisle, she catches her younger sister Hallie in the arms of her fiancé. Ten years later, now living in New York and estranged from Hallie, who married Walter, Colleen is summoned home by their brother to help their father, who has Alzheimer’s. Patti Callahan Henry writes beautifully, creating a an atmosphere that made me feel like I was in South Carolina. THE FAVORITE DAUGHTER wasn’t my favorite of her books. It felt like a predictable story I’d read before, estranged siblings reluctantly coming together due to a family tragedy. How long do you punish someone you love for betraying you? While I understood Colleen’s anger, I had a hard time connecting to her. If my sister had cheated with my spouse to be, I would feel like I dodged a bullet and that they deserved each other. I’d get some therapy to process my feelings so I wouldn’t feel like s victim ten years later. I wouldn’t want to put my family in the middle. How long should we be judged by our worst lack of judgment? On the surface, Hallie did a terrible thing, but appearances can be deceiving and Colleen never had a discussion, she just fled. MY FAVORITE SISTER is an fine, not an extraordinary read.


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