A Daughter’s Secret…. by by Eleanor Moran
A Daughter’s Secret is my most personal book to date. Mia, my heroine, is a thirty something psychotherapist who specialises in working with children and teens. On the surface she’s got it all sussed – she’s got a wealthy older boyfriend, a thriving career – but the secrets of her past mean that she’s more vulnerable than anyone would ever guess. And the client who walks through the door on the day we meet her will bring the whole house of cards tumbling down.
Gemma is a sullen, angry teen who is also holding onto a whole host of secrets. The last person to see her beloved Dad before he went on the run, taking down a major criminal trial in the process, she’s got nothing but contempt for therapy. The first session ends with her storming out, but not before Mia’s seen the savage cuts she’s inflicted on her arms. Mia’s immediately protective, not least because she knows how devastating it can be to be abandoned by your father, but she’s convinced it’s the last she’ll see of Gemma. Within a few short weeks, she’ll probably wish that it was.
Mia’s under strict instructions to share anything relevant to the criminal investigation with the police, and the arrival of silver tongued Irish police lawyer Patrick turns up the pressure. But as Gemma starts to reveal how damaged her relationship with her beloved father actually is, Mia loses all perspective. She’ll do anything to free her from his dangerous control, including putting her own career, her own safety, on the line. But who is pulling the strings – is Mia really in control of the process, or is the manipulative Gemma playing a twisted game with her? Mia will have to delve into the past she’s buried to find her way to the truth, but in doing so she stands to lose everything she holds dear.
I wanted to write about the visceral intensity of father/daughter relationships, which is something I’ve rarely seen explored in fiction. I was a real ‘Daddy’s Girl’ growing up (in fact that was my working title for the book on the first draft). I’ve had a lot of therapy myself over the years, and read so much about how our blueprint for love is set in that first primal relationship. I’ve spent many years (and pay checks!) unravelling it, and I wanted to tell a big, epic story about what it means. We delve deep into Mia’s tangled past via flashbacks, and her twisted bond with Gemma takes her right to the edge. I don’t spare either of them, and I think that makes for a better plot.
All that said, I promise it’s not all anguish! I love writing about female friendship, and Mia’s relationship with best friend Lysette is a big feature of both the past and the present narratives. There’s also a big romantic story running through the heart of the book, which I hope my readers will really invest in.