The Other Daughter

ISBN: 0752831976
ISBN 13: 9780752831978
By: Lisa Gardner

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Reader's Thoughts


This is the first Lisa Gardner book I have read and I found it good but not great. The plot which centres around Melanie the adopted daughter of a wealthy couple who lost their first daughter to a kidnapper and murderer, was intriguing. I really didn't predict the ending and genuinely couldn't stop reading to find out whodunit. However I found the writing style was a bit script like. Some of the 'lines' didn't seem believable and it read like a cheap daytime soap in some places. I have read reviews praising her other 'series' books so if they are better I will give them a read because despite all of my negative comments I was drawn in and it was an easy read.

Ayu Ikhwani

This is my first Lisa Gardner book and to be frank, I was really disappointed. I actually wanted to give it a star and half.I found this while book-browsing at a bookstore nearby. I was impressed seeing so many books by Lisa Gardner so of course it made me more excited to try her book. I mean, if you aren't doing well, you wont have so many titles, would you? I took my time choosing which one I wanted to try first since there was a lot and finally settled with two titles. However, I put one back on the shelf at the last minute.. and am wondering if my subconscious was trying to tell me something.On second thought, maybe I had put my expectations a bit too high..?!First and foremost, the pace is very.. err, confusing. It was all over the place. The characters also didn't seem to develop much which left me quite lost at times. I didn't feel any chemistry between Melanie and David, nor did I feel the so-called 'sexual-tension' between them. In fact, if it were really life, I'd say they'd had parted ways as soon as the case was closed.Dr Stokes Sr did seem as rotten as he turned out to be, but maybe that was because we know early on that he's a bad seed. Dr Stokes Jr, on the other hand was described as troubled but I didn't see any of that throughout the book. So yeah, it was described (told by other people) how disturbed Brian was, but whenever his actual character appeared in the book, there was nothing much to support that.The mother though was the one best described, even if she was a drunkard and all. She sort of shone even more than Melanie who's supposed to be the main character. As for Jamie, the godfather, its nice to find at least one character who'd evoke even a tiny bit of emotion in you (love him because he's charming at first, and hate him for being.. well, him.. in the end)I took so long in reading (while finding excuses to ignore it) this book that I could've finished overnight. And it didn't help that the ending was a bit to sudden that I had to recheck the pages if I had missed some. Though I have to give some credit that I didn't see, until halfway through the book, who the bad guy was.Now I'm thinking of giving Lisa Gardner another chance and try her other books.. or should I just forget about her altogether?!


This book intrigued me at the start. The setup for the mystery was bizarre but compelling: Melanie, 29, was adopted at the age of 9 by a family who had lost their first daughter. A reporter approaches her at the beginning to tell her that her real father was a sadistic serial killer and the man who had murdered her parents' first daughter. After that all the key players start getting notes saying, "You get what you deserve." The reporter is murdered. Melanie is almost murdered. Everyone in the family is harboring secrets and the whole thing is coming apart. It's hard to review mystery novels because a lot hinges on the reveal and I can't tell you about that without spoiling the book. I can't honestly say the ending was predictable, though the outcome was one of several possibilities I seriously considered. The trouble was that even though for a time I was sure I had it figured out (and I did), I ended having to dismiss my guess because the facts weren't adding up. When the ending came and all the details were revealed I felt the same way -- that it didn't quite add up. My biggest problem was the fact that Melanie was adopted as a 9-year-old with no memories. I found that somewhat convenient at first because her memories clearly held the key to the whole puzzle. And though she regains *some* of her memories at the end I still had two big questions: 1.) Why did she lose her memory in the first place?2.) What else wasn't she remembering? The characters were fine. They were diverse and fairly well drawn, although I didn't connect with anyone, not even Melanie or David. There was a minor romantic subplot between Melanie and David (FBI) that struck me as pointless. I'm usually all about romantic subplots but in this case it felt like the tragic result of a modern trend to put romantic subplot in every book regardless of whether or not it needs one. Sometimes a mystery is just a mystery. It's okay. I'm not sure whether to recommend this to mystery fans or not. I'm not as well-read in mystery as other genres so maybe I'm being too hard on it. I'm mostly annoyed that at the end I didn't feel that, "Aha!' moment. I felt an, "Ooooookay" moment. :)


Reviewed for THC ReviewsI believe I first heard of Lisa Gardner through one of the many romance discussion forums to which I belong, so going into reading The Other Daughter, I wasn't entirely certain if it was a romantic suspense or a straight suspense/thriller. After reading the book though, I would have to say it is the latter, but with a minor romantic element. There is a hero and a heroine in the novel. They do develop an attraction for one another, and there is one brief moderately descriptive love scene. However, their relationship wasn't that romantic to me, and I would estimate that it only comprised less than five percent of the total story. Therefore, I would not recommend it to readers who are looking for a true romantic suspense, but it was a good standard suspense/thriller that kept my attention fairly well engaged.Melanie, the heroine and main character, was adopted twenty years earlier by a wealthy family who had lost their little daughter to a serial killer. She has no memory of the time prior to being found abandoned in a hospital a few months before her adoption. Over the years she has truly become “the other daughter,” essentially a replacement for the child the Stokeses lost. Melanie had, albeit perhaps subconsciously, taken on the role of caretaker to her highly dysfunctional family. Now, she, and they, are being plagued by someone who claims that she is actually the daughter of the serial killer. Melanie is a pretty good character, but I found it rather odd that she still lives at home with her parents at the age of twenty-nine, and her parents, in some ways, still treat her like an errant teenager. I also thought that her returning to her parent's house after she knew that they could possibly have been complicit in their daughter's death was a move that bordered on TSTL, and when she ran away after accidentally shooting a man in self-defense, that truly was TSTL. However, I will admit that the author used both of these incidences to propel the plot forward. I was also a bit baffled as to why Melanie kept getting upset with David for keeping things from her regarding his investigation. There are agents in committed relationships who can't reveal such information, and Melanie and David had only known each other for a few days. I guess maybe I can give her a pass though, since suddenly learning that her family had been keeping horrible secrets from her for years was incredibly stressful and made her feel betrayed. I just wish that the author had given a few more insights into her line of thinking.David was an FBI agent, working undercover in a white collar crimes unit, and investigating Melanie's dad for insurance fraud. He works in this supposedly lower-key division, because a severe arthritic condition which causes him excruciating back pain keeps him from doing anything more strenuous. However, before he knows it, he finds himself embroiled in a twenty-five year old murder investigation that everyone thought was closed, running down clues, and fending off a potential assassin. David struck me as a no-nonsense, hard-boiled detective who was very good at his job. He has a pretty intense alpha type persona with an extremely limited gentler side. I guess as the story went on, he softened up a little, and since this wasn't really a romance his personality didn't bother me as much as it normally would. He and Melanie are both pretty stubborn people though, so they have a tendency to argue quite a bit, but not necessarily in an annoying way.The Other Daughter was a pretty good mystery/suspense. Although I wouldn't say that it was un-put-downable, it was a rather intriguing story. I must admit though that in spite of not being particularly good at solving mysteries, I did correctly figure out the biggest piece of the puzzle very early in the book, and I was only more convinced by my theory as the story continued. However, the how, who and why for the most part kept me guessing until the end. I was a little disappointed that the author never really explained how Melanie lost her memory though. The Other Daughter was my first read by Lisa Gardner, and for the most part, I liked her writing style. She has an interesting way of conveying information and progressing the mystery through narrative dialog. Even though this made the dialog quite a bit more dense than I'm used to, it somehow worked OK for me. The book got off to a pretty snappy start, but about a fourth of the way in, it started to slow down as the author explored the tense, sordid relationships of the extremely dysfunctional Stokes family. This made the mystery unfold at a rather languid pace until perhaps the last quarter or so of the book, when things picked up again as all the long-held secrets started to unravel. Overall, I enjoyed The Other Daughter pretty well, and would definitely be open to reading more from Lisa Gardner when I'm in the mood for a good suspense/thriller story that's light on romance.Note: This book contains a graphic description of an electric chair execution which is not for the faint of heart. Although not particularly descriptive, the way in which the body of the little girl was found mutilated might be troublesome to anyone who is particularly averse to violence against children.

Elizabeth Phillips

I am not one to recap a book play by play and I don't like to give spoilers so instead I will just summarize my feelings. Lisa Gardner is a new author to me. I have found I have read and re read all of my favorites that I needed to branch out and discover a new author. Iris Johansen had some good things to say about Gardner so I decided to check her out. The one word that comes to mind in describing this book is WOW. The plot summary moves along pretty well. I found that I had to pay attention at times because of the twists and turns throughout the book, which there were many. I enjoyed the story development and felt she did a good job giving a brief history to each of the characters for the most part. There were parts I had to really stretch to connect some dots but for a weekend read, it was exactly what I wanted and then some. All in all, it's a pretty fast moving book and the twists were pretty interesting. She takes family dysfunction to another level in this novel. I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading the next one.


I like Lisa Gardner’s suspense thrillers for their fast pace and many twists. The Other Daughter was no different – with just enough romance thrown in to offset the darker elements of the story, it contained enough false leads and 180 degree turn-arounds to keep me guessing until close to the end. However, I must admit that for me the plot was a little bit too far fetched, which took away a lot of the enjoyment and the suspense, despite its action-packed finale. I think that basing the whole plot on the protagonist’s amnesia is always a bit troublesome – especially when the character then conveniently remembers things just in the right moments of the story … not very credible, I’m afraid. Which may be the reason I found it hard to engage with Melanie, not to mention the rest of this very dysfunctional family – and did not much care for what happened to them in the end. When Melanie finally solves the mystery of her origins, I felt that the outcome was no better than any of the alternatives (not saying any more, as I do not want to give anything away). I have had better from Gardner, but nevertheless a readable thriller if you’re stuck for something else to read.

Marta Martins

Great book! Great story, so unbelievably complicated and so simple at the same time! Loved the Melanie character and her pure strength! Loved the way the pieces came together so perfectly. Will be reading Lisa Gardner again very soon with high expectations.

Dana Marie

This is not the first book that I read by Lisa Gardner and it's a good thing. If I had, I would not read anything else by her. Fortunately, the first book I read by her is part of the DD Warren series and I've become caught up in the lives of Ms. Warren and her former lover Bobby Dodge. The Other Daughter has an interesting premise - On the day that a convicted serial killer is executed, a young girl is found abandoned in a hospital across the country. She's adopted by the Stokes, parents of Meagan Stokes, one of the girls the serial killer has confessed to killing. Years later, a reporter down on his luck shows up at the Stokes home and tells Melanie that he believes she's the serial killer's daughter. Then everyone is receiving notes saying "You get what you deserve." What does it all mean?Cool, right? That's what I thought. Unfortunately, there is so much going on in this book that you have the worst time keeping up. By the end, the suspenseful twist isn't that suspenseful anymore because there's all these other suspenseful twists thrown in. There's too much details about each character - Melanie's ex-fiance cheated on her but also told her that he was worse off than her because she was adopted but he wasn't. So when she's recounting the story to the FBI agent, it's not clear why she broke up with him. Harper, Melanie's father, is charming and wonderful, but also cheats on his wife. There's the recovering alcoholic mother, the awesome god-father who halfway through the book isn't so charming but runs guns. There's the FBI agent, working under cover, that just happens to rescue Melanie from the reporter and her horrible migraine. Melanie manages to eavesdrop on a call where the FBI agent is carrying on a monologue about how his partner, rookie Chenney, should follow the ex-fiance. The profiler from Quantico not only has no problem talking to the FBI agent over speaker phone, he's okay with letting Melanie hear the entire thing as well. AND, dun dun dun, it's possible that someone in Melanie's family was responsible for Meagan's death.I have no problem suspending disbelief but this book required me to not only suspend disbelief but take it out back, shoot it, and bury it.


A young girl turns up in a hospital in Boston at the same time a serial killer is being executed by the state of Texas. Two events that don’t seem connected, except for the fact that the wealthy family who adopts the little girl lost their first daughter to the executed serial killer. The little girl, Melanie, grows up with the best of everything. There is little her parents or uncle won’t do for her.But when a washed up reporter shows up to talk to Melanie about her past and claims she is the biological daughter of the serial killer, her world turns upside down. She has memories popping up of seeing her adoptive family’s other daughter before she was killed. Someone begins stalking Melanie and each member of her family leaving notes stating "You Get What You Deserve". An FBI agent, who has been quietly investigating Melanie’s father, Dr. Stokes, gets involved in Melanie’s search for her real identity.This was an OK book, it didn’t require a lot of thinking about things as you read. I took issue with a few of the scenes, as I didn’t really find them believable. They made me feel that the author wasn’t really sure how to get the characters out of their current situation so she just threw in sex as an ending point. But for a light read on a quick lunch break or a long drive it would be good.


Wow.How does Lisa Gardner think of these things.It was amazing and wonderful and I was up til 1am to finish it.Perfect combo of creepy and action and romance and family. And the house of cards was caving in fast....Other favourite words (view spoiler)[ "She looked like Melanie but she was was not Melanie. She was Daddy's Girl. Abandoned, nameless. No identity, no past, no parentage. You looked like Megan, all right? her mother cried. I looked at you and saw Meagan! Killer's brat, killer's brat, Larry Digger hissed. Tell me, do you look at children and feel hungry?" (p.339). (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>


I'm torn between 3 stars and 3.5 stars.This book started really well. Ticked all the right boxes, had me intrigued - right from the first sentence. However, along the way, it got a little ... tiresomely predictable perhaps ... I don't think I can explain it well, but I'll try. I'm a big fan of this author, I've really enjoyed other books she has written. This one felt a little too tidy. The mystery started strong. A 9 year old girl is found in a hospital A&E suffering from some allergic reaction ((view spoiler)[and we never find out WHAT IT WAS!! OR why she had no memory!! All questions I wanted answers to! (hide spoiler)]), with no memory of who she was or how she got there. She is adopted by one of the Doctors and his wife who lost their first daughter and lives a life of a pampered child.I think I enjoy Lisa Gardner's other mysteries where plot twists happen when you least expect. In this one, Melanie starts experiencing flash-backs conveniently timed with particular events, the romance side plot felt a little too "I-have-to-have-a-romance-somewhere-so-this-will-do" ... just that sort of thing. Nothing major, just enough to put this book as not one of my absolute favourites, but a good read just the same.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

M.M. Silva

Happy first day of September! Does this mean summer is coming to an end?? Say it isn’t so…Anyway, I have a GREAT read for you for this week called The Other Daughther by Lisa Gardner. I’ve read some of Gardner’s series starring main character D. D. Warren, and I liked those, so I thought I’d give this book a shot, and it did not disappoint.This story is about a young lady named Melanie Stokes who was abandoned in a hospital twenty years prior and subsequently adopted by one of the wealthy surgeons and his wife. She’s raised with love and all things money can buy, but one day–out of the blue–a reporter tracks her down to tell her that she’s really the daughter of a serial killer who was coincidentally put to death twenty years ago. While Melanie tries to ignore the allegations, some strange and scary events begin to occur which force her to face her past. And she realizes the family who “randomly” adopted her has possibly been lying to her for decades. By her side throughout the ordeal is an FBI agent with some ghosts of his own, and sparks quickly fly between the two…not enough to make you vomit, but just the right amount.This is a very quick read, but you need to be paying attention because of all the twists and turns. I had to force myself to slow down a couple of times to make sure I had everything right in my head. It was a great book, and Gardner did a masterful job of tying up a million loose ends to make a nice and tidy conclusion. So give this one a go, and ’til next week, happy reading!


I've read other Lisa Gardner books in the past and felt like a mystery/suspense so I picked this up and read it on my vacation. It was a pretty fast read - 2 to 3 days (but of course I was on vacation) - and for the most part I liked it. It was a little predictable. I was able to guess the ending maybe half-way or two-thirds in, but I still enjoyed it. I liked that the hero was physically flawed and had some real issues. The heroine occasionally got a little 'princessy', but it never got too annoying. I hadn't realized how long ago the book was published though until I started reading and realized that they were still using pagers/beepers and public pay phones, lol. I enjoy Lisa Gardner and would definitely read more of her books, though her later ones that I have read are definitely more polished. Overall I would recommend it if you want something quick to read that you don't have to think too hard about.


Twenty years ago, Melanie Stokes was abandoned in a Boston hospital, then adopted by a wealthy couple. Gifted with a loving family, Melanie has always considered herself lucky. Until tonight.Melanie has no memory of her life before the adoption. Now someone wants to give it back, even if it includes the darkest nightmare the Stokes family ever faced: the murder of their first daughter in Texas. As Melanie desperately searches for her real identity, two seemingly unrelated events from the past will come together in a dangerous explosion of truth.As Melanie pursues every lead and chases after shadows in search of her real identity. Two seemingly unrelated events will come together in a dangerous explosion of truth. And with her life at stake Melanie will come to fear the family she loves maybe the people she should trust the least!

Heather Schmutz

I've learned that I do need some kind of a happy ending and a deeper tension and connection between characters to become attached to a book. I know this was one of Lisa's earlier works but I liked seeing the taste of her and comparing it to the growth I know now. The beginning dragged a bit for me but once I was tugged at it hooked and pulled me in from then on.Twenty years ago, Melanie Stokes was abandoned in a Boston hospital, then adopted by a wealthy couple with a life that appears picture perfect until the cracks come into light and she begins to see it was all a lie. Throughout Mel fights the notion that her family could be capable of such wrongs but the evidence piles against her and reality crashes through. A flash in the pan reporter turns up investigating her past and her family is pulled into a series of, "You Get What You Deserve" momentos sheding question as to who someone really is. Visions of the past confuse Melanie further but despite disillusion she is still on the unknowing right path with the help of FBI Special Agent David Riggs. 20 years later and Melanie still has no memory of her life before the adoption but someone is bent on changing that and destroying the pristine Stokes family image; a family who thought that they had seen the worst when their first daughter was murdered in Texas at age 4. The twists and turns near the end had me staying up late to turn the next page. Just shy of 5 stars... taking too long to draw me in cost that last stellar star.

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