Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Review: 'Dear Daughter' is engrossing fiction debut by Elizabeth Little

This book cover image released by Viking shows

Enlarge Image

This book cover image released by Viking shows "Dear Daughter," by Elizabeth Little. (AP Photo/Viking)

"Dear Daughter" (Viking), by Elizabeth Little

The unlikable protagonist with a biting personality and outrageous actions, but who is fascinating at the same time, has never been more popular. Just think of "Gone Girl."

In her confident fiction debut, Elizabeth Little puts a fresh spin on this character in the form of Jane Jenkins, a young woman famous for being famous until she was sent to prison for the murder of her wealthy socialite mother. Little also makes "Dear Daughter" a parable about the cult of the celebrity stoked by a relentless press and a ruthless public's thirst for details of a woman it loves to hate.

As a teenager, Jane was a train wreck, constantly in the news for her out-of-control drinking and drugs, the complete opposite of her mother, Marion Elsinger, who was known for her philanthropy. Then, at 17, Jane was sent to prison for her mother's brutal murder. The case against Jane was sketchy, and now, 10 years later, her conviction has been overturned because of mismanaged evidence. Jane, who has little memory of what happened, now has one goal: to find out if she killed her mother or if her mother's mysterious past led to her murder.

Scant clues lead Jane to the tiny, crumbling town of Adeline, South Dakota, and the adjacent community of Ardelle. Although she has dropped out of the public eye with a disguise and a new identity, Jane is vilified in news programs, gossip shows and by a nasty blogger who offers a reward for her location.

Little leads "Dear Daughter" through a realistic labyrinth as Jane's mission to find out about her mother's past uncovers some unsettling truths about herself. Little skillfully stays true to Jane's personality while allowing the character to grow emotionally and mature. Often rage-filled with little regard for others, Jane never becomes a sweet, appealing woman, but she is unfailingly interesting. Even when the reader begins to root for her, Jane remains prickly and caustic.

The barren, soulless South Dakota towns where Jane comes seeking the past succinctly mirror her own struggles with her identity in the engrossing "Dear Daughter."



  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.


Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
The First World War at 100

Social Media