The Trophy Child – Paula Daly


Published on 26 January 2017 by Transworld Digital and available to buy here in the UK. In the US, The Trophy Child is published by Grove Atlantic and available here from 7 March 2017.

A doting mother or a pushy parent?

Karen Bloom expects perfection. Her son, Ewan, has been something of a disappointment and she won’t be making the same mistake again with her beloved, talented child, Bronte.

Bronte’s every waking hour will be spent at music lessons and dance classes, doing extra schoolwork and whatever it takes to excel.

But as Karen pushes Bronte to the brink, the rest of the family crumbles. Karen’s husband, Noel, is losing himself in work, and his teenage daughter from his first marriage, Verity, is becoming ever more volatile. The family is dangerously near breaking point.

Karen would know when to stop . . . wouldn’t she?

My thoughts

Paula Daly turns her perceptive and witty gaze to the pushy parent in The Trophy Child. She deserves top marks for Karen Bloom, the step-mother from hell!

The Trophy Child focuses on the Bloom family. They have it all. Noel is a busy GP, married to his second wife, Karen. Karen is the kind of woman, who is ambitious and a social climber. She wants everything for her biological child, Bronte. She is less concerned with her other children. Both Noel and Karen have a child each from a previous relationship, the slacker and the one in therapy. Karen takes pushy parenting to extremes. The poor ten year old girl has no time to herself, doing one activity after another. Karen’s dreadful behaviour sparks chaos. Soon there is a missing child, a brutal murder and a spot of adultery.

Wonderful! I can honestly say that I adore Karen. She is a snob. She is arrogant in her opinions. She is loathed by all. She is completely deluded, about the talents of her precious Bronte. She is on Planet Karen. Karen is a nightmare. She is the kind of woman, you would cross the street to avoid. What a marvellous character!

Paula Daly brings her unique brand of humour, with a delicious mystery to The Trophy Child. I think we have all met a real life Karen, haven’t we? At the very least, we know they exist. An excellent read, with a few twists to throw you off the scent.




About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
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4 Responses to The Trophy Child – Paula Daly

  1. Kay says:

    I finished this book yesterday and liked it quite a bit. I have read other books by Paula Daly and was happy to see a character or two that I recognized. While I may not have liked this one as much as a couple of the previous ones, I agree that Karen is something else. Who wouldn’t cross the street to avoid her? I would. In real life. She was funny and horrifying in the book! LOL

  2. crimeworm says:

    To be honest, she was so dreadful that I was surprised the rather nice Dr Bloom had married her – maybe she just got more bonkers after the birth of Brontë? She was getting all these music lessons yet her meals consisted of sandwiches en route to each lesson, so she wasn’t even getting fed properly – Karen had no idea about priorities! She was utterly deluded. It wasn’t my favourite Paula Daly but was still a great read. She creates some wonderful characters, doesn’t she?

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