Book Review: The Perfect Daughter by Alex Stone

The perfect daughter…

Jess Harper has spent her whole life trying to make her mum, Abigail happy and proud. And everything Jess does, from the clothes she wears, the job she has, the men she dates, are all approved by Abigail first.

The perfect boyfriend…

So when Jess announces that she has a new man in her life – plumber Adam – Abigail is less than impressed. ‘A plumber? Really, Jessica….’ Adam encourages Jess to break free from her mum’s manipulation, can’t she see what’s happening?

The perfect mother….

But Abigail is only doing these things to keep Jess safe, to protect her from getting hurt again…isn’t she?

Or the perfect liar?

Jess, caught in the middle, doesn’t know who to believe or trust. And then Adam vanishes without trace.

Now Jess is the police’s prime suspect and they want to know if Jess really is as perfect as she seems….


Jess is always trying to be the dutiful daughter. She runs everything by her mother, Abigail first. That’s normal right?

Her mother knows best after all and Jess isn’t always trusting of her own judgement. Not if past experiences are anything to go by.

Plus, all Abigail wants to do is to protect her daughter.

So, when Jess meets Adam, Abigail is less than impressed.

Determined to prove her mother wrong about Adam, he practically moves in to her flat. They have a future.

However, when Adam disappears without a trace, Jess is the prime suspect.

From page one, this novel had me hooked. Told from Jess’s point of view, we enter the mind of someone who really doesn’t know who she is nor does she trust herself.

She’s had relationships in the past that have not ended well and as far as she concerned, the end results were her fault.

Adam and Abigail were harder to read. Are they the hero/heroine or villains? Is Abigail just trying to protect her daughter? Is she right about Adam? Is Adam all he seems? All these questions arose for me very quickly.

As we go further into the novel, Jess becomes more of an unreliable narrator as we find out there are bits of her life that she can’t remember correctly.

It’s well written. The plot and pace of the novel were developed well and I devoured this novel in a couple of sittings. It’s the perfect kind of psychological thriller where you don’t quite know who to trust and many twists and turns throw you off. Before you know it, it’s the middle of the night and one more chapter has turned into most of the book.

I loved the fact that it was set in Bournemouth. Being from there, I could really place myself in the book. Not that it needed it. The atmosphere and setting is conveyed so well although I couldn’t figure out where Abigail’s house was supposed to be and I’d love to know and then I’d like to go live there please. Haha.

It has mystery but also covers the themes of family dynamics (especially that of mother and daughter) and gaslighting as well as having covert control over others.

I’m not saying any more than that and I’m hoping I’ve not given too much away.

The Perfect Daughter is a compelling, enthralling novel that had me guessing until the last page.

A great debut and I look forward to seeing what Alex does next.


About Alex Stone: 

Alex Stone, originally an accountant from the West Midlands, is now a psychological suspense writer based in Dorset. This beautiful and dramatic coastline is the inspiration and setting for her novels. She was awarded the Katie Fforde Bursary in 2019 and her debut thriller The Perfect Daughter was published by Boldwood on 19th October 2021.

Say hello to Alex on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Thank you to Boldwood Books, Netgalley, Alex Stone and Rachel’s Random Resources for the advanced review copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Click to buy The Perfect Daughter on Amazon UK


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I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

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