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The Other Daughter by Lauren Willig centers around Rachel Woodley, a governess living and working in France when she receives a telegram alerting her to her mother's failing health in England. Upon her return to England, she discovers she is too late: her mother has succumbed to influenza. While going through her mother's things, Rachel finds a picture of the father who had presumably died twenty-three years prior. The only issue is that the picture came from a recent issue of a gossip magazine and he is posing with a woman who is listed as his daughter. Rachel realizes that everything she had been told about her father had been a lie; not only is he alive, but he is an Earl and has another family.
Rachel travels to London to learn more about her father and in the process, she meets Simon, a gossip columnist who helps her to come with a plan to gain access into the high ranks of society so that she can confront her father. What follows is a really unbelievable plan in which Rachel assumes the name Vera Morton, a distant cousin of Simon's, and she is set up in a lavish London apartment complete with a new wardrobe to help her assume her new identity.
I found the concept of being able to change a person's personality and diction in a few days to be extremely hard to believe. Even Professor Higgins took more than a few days to get Eliza Doolittle ready for society in My Fair Lady. Regardless, the story continues with numerous mysteries being uncovered, flawed characters unveiled, and emotions running wild.
I think The Other Daughter has potential, but as a historical novel, it does not quite fit the mold. Not enough is discussed about what is happening in England during the late 1920s when the novel takes place. The only detail given is to the lavish furnishings and gardens of the entitles characters in the novel, as well as the clothing and partying life. Overall, I give Willig's novel a 7.5 out of 10, as the details of the minor characters and time period were not developed thoroughly enough for my liking.