Monday 10 June 2013

Book ~ "Birthdays of a Princess" (2013) Helga Zeiner

From Goodreads ~ To be famous and be admired by total strangers can be very dangerous. 

Her little girl has always been her princess. In fact, she was so lovely, Melissa entered her toddler into child beauty pageants, making her a star from an early age. But her dreams and hopes are shattered one October morning, when Melissa watches a breaking news story on television. A young girl has been filmed by bystanders, committing a brutal assault in broad daylight in a downtown Vancouver Starbucks … and it looks like the girl is her daughter. From this moment on, a story unfolds, so shocking, that it will hold you captive and you will find yourself reading faster and faster into the night. 

Guided by a forensic Psychiatrist, Helga Zeiner has captured the tormented inner thoughts of a former beauty queen and her mother with amazing sensitivity. The 5-star bestselling author delivers yet again an impeccably researched thriller – this time one that takes you into the complex world of child beauty pageants - with an ingenious plot. Just when you think you know the ending … read on, the ultimate surprise waits at the end of the thrill-ride.

Melissa has lost control of her 15-year-old daughter, Tiara.  She is watching the news one day and discovers that Tiara has been arrested for stabbing a woman, perhaps to death, in a coffee shop ... there is no doubt she did it.  Tiara is taken to a youth correctional centre and refuses to see her mother.

Police officers Mackenzie and Harding are assigned to the case.  Mackenzie is months away from retirement and had been looking forward to gliding into it. ... so he's not happy to be involved in this case.  Tiara is assigned a psychiatrist, Stanley Eaton, to determine her mental state.  She is at first non-communicative so he gives her a notebook and encourages her to use it as a diary to record her thoughts.  We learn that Tiara was a former child beauty pageant winner and had been the breadwinner for her mother and her aunt, Gracie (her dead father's sister).  We find out what leads her to do what she that day in Starbucks.  The title refers to the thoughts in her diary ... she lists her birthdays and what had been going on at that time.

This is the first book I've read by this author.  It took me a bit to get used to the writing style but once I did, I enjoyed this story.  It is written from two points of view ... first person when the focus is on Tiara and third person when it is everyone else.  As a head's up, the language and some activity is for mature readers.

The story was an interesting one.  If you watch Toddlers and Tiaras and remember JonBenét Ramsey, you'll know what Tiara had gone through as a child beauty pageant contestant.

There were very few characters that I liked when I started this book.  Tiara was a willful saucy teenager but I grew to like her as the story went on and I got to know her and her background and she let her guard down.  She was so sheltered with Melissa and Gracie that she doesn't know how to relate to others, especially those her own age (she was always homeschooled).  Mackenzie was an A-hole, begrudgingly having to take on this case but once he realizes what Tiara has gone through, he becomes her biggest supporter and will do anything to solve the case.  Melissa is extremely weak and is a horrible mother and left most of the raising of Tiara to Gracie, who is an unscrupulous character (she's a drug dealer).

I would recommend this book.


CMash said...

So glad you enjoyed this book. I found it to be a "hard to put down" read. Very nice post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

JCB said...

I was doing so well and reading SO much and all of a sudden my reading has gone to the dogs :(

Masshole Mommy said...

Sometimes I get confused with books told in more than one point of view.