Thursday, September 3, 2020

BLOG TOUR - The Stepdaughter


It’s a normal afternoon when I walk out the patio doors of our kitchen to check on Mia, my stepdaughter, who is swimming in our backyard pool. But she’s gone. My heart stops when I see the back gate is open, her pink, fluffy towel lying folded on a chair. I was just feet away. Why didn’t I hear her scream? Who took our little girl?

My husband can’t understand how I could have let his daughter disappear. And when the police come asking questions, I wish I could wind back time to that normal afternoon when I was cooking lasagna for my family, Mia’s favorite. I can tell the officers don’t believe me: they’ve cast me as the evil stepmother.

I just wish I could understand the messages I’ve found from my husband on Mia’s phone: I’m so sorry, I still love you. And why his wedding ring is found at the bottom of the pool after Mia disappeared. He never told me it was missing. What else is he hiding?

But the detective keeps asking me where I was during those ten minutes when Mia vanished. And I can’t tell her my secret. From the way she’s looking at me, I know she thinks I did something to my stepdaughter. Mia and I haven’t always been that close and sometimes she drives me nuts, just like any normal teenager, but I would never hurt her.

I just need you to believe me. 

A twisty novel packed with unputdownable suspense about the power and damage of secrets we hide. Perfect for anyone who was totally hooked by The Mother-in-Law, Kerry Fisher and Big Little Lies.


Title:   The Stepdaughter
Author:  Georgina Cross
Publisher:  Bookouture
Genre:   Psychological Thriller
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   266
Date of Publication:   September 2, 2020
My Rating:  4 Stars

A replacement wife. That is pretty much what Vanessa feels like, even five years after marrying Tripp Tanner. Tripp is a widower who had lost his wife two years before they met. A year or so later Tripp and Vanessa married. When Tripp met Vanessa, his daughter Mia was seven years old. Was he moving too fast when they began dating? Mia never fully adjusted to the loss of her mother. When Tripp and Vanessa decided to marry, in a rather casual manner, Tripp discusses Mia's needs. He wants a stay-at-home wife, someone who will be there for Mia's every needs.

Tripp is a busy attorney who works way too many hours. He gently encourages Vanessa to quit her job to care for Mia. Despite the fact that she is a well-respected career woman, she reluctantly agrees, much to the dismay of her best friend Janie. Actually, Janie saw red flags from the very beginning. Not so for Vanessa. She fell head over heels for Tripp, and vowed to be the best stepmother possible.

Mia was an elite swimmer, although thirteen years of age by this time in the story, clearly destined for the Olympics. One day after school she goes outside to practice in the pool, and before Vanessa can realize it, Mia has disappeared. She was in a swimsuit. Her towel is still folded on a chair. Where could she have gone? Meanwhile, her neighbor Julia's home goes up in flames. Distracted by what is becoming a devastating fire, Vanessa doesn't check on Mia for what couldn't be more than a few minutes.

Was she careless, neglectful even? With Mia's age, and the fact that she was a champion swimmer, a few minutes unsupervised in the pool should have never become an issue. However, because Mia is gone, it most certainly is a huge issue. The police ask a lot of questions and multiple search teams are employed. Where is Mia? Did she go off on her own accord, or was she taken? How could she be there one minute, and gone the next?

Vanessa is beside herself. She considers her relationship with Mia. With Tripp. Was Mia unhappy enough to have run away? Julia, the next door neighbor, is sitting with her, helping her while at the same time, understandably worried about her house burning down, and thankful that her mother Charlotte was resting at Vanessa's home at the time of the fire.

So, we have a lot of players in this story: Vanessa, Tripp, Julia, Charlotte, and even snippets of Mia as the story is relayed in first person alternately. What a thrilling story of family drama, angst, secrets and lies. For this to be a debut novel, I feel I must give Georgina Cross props for writing such a compelling story, one that captured my attention from beginning to end. The mystery did not turn out as I expected, and I think that is because this story had more than one unreliable narrator. The way this was written made it impossible to know who to trust. Who to believe.

Actually, I felt like I was watching a tennis match while reading this book. As soon as I cast doubt towards one character, I soon was feeling someone else was guilty. Needless to say, I was wrong on every turn. Well done Ms. Cross.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion. 


Georgina Cross is the author of The Stepdaughter (publishing September 2020) and Book 2 (title to be released January 2021) and Nanny Needed (to be published 2021) which are works of domestic suspense, psychological suspense, and thriller.

She is represented by Rachel Beck with Liza Dawson Associates with her suspense fiction appealing to readers of The Good Girl by Mary Kubica, The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle, The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth, and Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty.

Georgina has been writing since she was a child. Notebooks & floppy discs filled with stories: adventures growing up in New Orleans and tales from Malaysia & England where her family lives. After graduating from Louisiana State University, she pursued a career in marketing & communications and founded Susie's Wish non-profit which sends patients with life threatening illnesses to the beach. She spends time with her husband and their combined family of four sons watching plenty of scary movies and is thrilled to be a full-time author.

Author Social Media Links:
Author website:
Twitter: @GCrossAuthor
Facebook: GeorginaCrossAuthor
Instagram: GeorginaCrossAuthor

No comments:

Post a Comment