A Daughter’s a Daughter by Agatha Christie

A Daughter’s a Daughter by Agatha Christie is the story of Ann and her daughter Sarah. They are in what can be described as a toxic and codependent relationship. When Sarah leaves on holiday with Gerry, Ann meets Richard Caulfield and they plan to get married in only a few weeks’ time. The blurb gives out too much of the story, so I highly recommend not reading it if you are curious and want to read the book.

To avoid spoilers I will not comment on the other characters, just on the mother and daughter. One of men said something I really liked and which I think was central to the story: ‘The truth of it is, Sarah, that women are never content to marry you for what you are. They wish you to be different.’ (page 187)

Everyone believed they were right and they were protecting the loved one, while, in fact being selfish and ending up hating the other person because of the sacrifices they made, which were not seen or understood at their true value.

A Daughter's a Daughter by Agatha Christie

Mediocre books have unrealistic “happy” endings, amazing books don’t. This is why I gave the book 3 stars. It was great until the last pages. There was no point in a “happy” ending, it is not realistic. Even if people seem that they understand and want to change, unless something really significant happens (starting with changing where they live, who they interact with, and maybe a bit of therapy) they don’t. A character said something like sacrifices don’t end, they are ongoing. This was the essence of the book, and the ending lost that.

Maybe it was too personal for Agatha Christie, as I read it is believed to be based on her own daughter, and she wanted a happy finish. I read reviews of the book and for some the ending was the best thing about the book, as the rest is depressing. Well, that’s how a dysfunctional family acts, it’s not a silly romance novel (which I particularly like, but on its own). The men in their lives were supposed to change for them (hilariously, this is what other reviewers said), well… why?! Why should someone completely change who they are to suit someone’s else unrealistic expectations?

Books under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott (links to reviews):
Giant’s Bread (1930)
Unfinished Portrait (1934)
Absent in the Spring (1944) – 5 Stars
The Rose and the Yew Tree (1948) – 3 Stars
A Daughter’s a Daughter (1952)
The Burden (1956)

A Daughter’s a Daughter by Agatha Christie

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 3/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes-ish
Published by: HarperCollins
Year it was published: 1997 (first published in 1952)
Format: Paperback
Genre(s): Fiction
Pages: 224

About the author: Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was born in Torquay, Devon, as the youngest of three. Before marrying and starting a family in London, she had served in a Devon hospital during the First World War, tending to troops coming back from the trenches. During the First World War, she worked at a hospital as a nurse; later working at a hospital pharmacy, a job that influenced her work, as many of the murders in her books are carried out with poison. During the Second World War, she worked as a pharmacy assistant at University College Hospital, London, acquiring a good knowledge of poisons which feature in many of her novels.
Her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, came out in 1920. During her first marriage, Agatha published six novels, a collection of short stories, and a number of short stories in magazines. In 1930, Christie married archaeologist Max Mallowan (Sir Max from 1968) after joining him in an archaeological dig. Their marriage was especially happy in the early years and remained so until Christie’s death in 1976.
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4 thoughts on “A Daughter’s a Daughter by Agatha Christie”

  • Trying to change someone into what you want them to be is never a good idea – I’ve been trying for almost 44 years and haven’t managed it yet!! (only joking, I love him just the way he is). I’m not sure that I could read all of Agatha Christie’s books which aren’t mysteries, but I am guessing that perhaps the happy ending format and style of writing, are more a sign of the times in which they were written, as much as anything else?

    • I am not sure why she decided on a happy ending as it unrealistic. The writing is lovely, I like it, some things are a bit old, but almost all feels contemporary. Anyway, I’m reading now another one with the next on reserve at the library. I want to read all 6.

  • I didn’t realize how many books Christie wrote that weren’t mysteries. I love the quote you shared and I think it’s a major factor in many marriages not working out. Rarely can you change a person into what you want them to be.

    Sometimes unrealistic happy endings are exactly what I’m looking for as a light form of escapism – especially if I’ve been reading a lot of heavy “misery” books. Then again, I don’t like it when an author just wraps things up with a pat, happy ending… as if they were in a hurry to finish the book. .
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    • It was more of the second version, but I think she wanted for the story to have a happy end. Of the 3 I read, 2 endings were letting down the books. The one I loved, Absent in Spring, was fantastic because it didn’t have a happy ending, but a realistic one. Up to those few last pages, the book was amazing, this is why I am so annoyed.

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