Review: The Pilot’s Daughter, by Meredith Jaeger

Overview

The glitzy days of 1920s New York meet the devastation of those left behind in World War II in a new, delectable historical novel from USA Today bestselling author Meredith Jaeger.

In the final months of World War II, San Francisco newspaper secretary Ellie Morgan should be planning her wedding and subsequent exit from the newsroom into domestic life. Instead, Ellie, who harbors dreams of having her own column, is using all the skills she’s learned as a would-be reporter to try to uncover any scrap of evidence that her missing pilot father is still alive. But when she discovers a stack of love letters from a woman who is not her mother in his possessions, her already fragile world goes into a tailspin, and she vows to find out the truth about the father she loves—and the woman who loved him back.

When Ellie arrives on her aunt Iris’s doorstep, clutching a stack of letters and uttering a name Iris hasn’t heard in decades, Iris is terrified. She’s hidden her past as a Ziegfeld Follies showgirl from her family, and her experiences in New York City in the 1920s could reveal much more than the origin of her brother-in-law’s alleged affair. Iris’s heady days in the spotlight weren’t enough to outshine the darker underbelly of Jazz Age New York, and she’s spent the past twenty years believing that her actions in those days led to murder.

Together the two women embark on a cross-country mission to find the truth in the City That Never Sleeps, a journey that just might shatter everything they thought they knew—not only about the past but about their own futures.

Inspired by a true Jazz Age murder cold case that captivated the nation, and the fact that more than 72,000 Americans still remain unaccounted for from World War II, The Pilot’s Daughter is a page-turning exploration of the stories we tell ourselves and of how well we can truly know those we love.

Review

Disclaimer: Although I received an Uncorrected eBook File of this book from the publisher, the opinions below are my own.

Meredith Jaeger’s third split-time novel takes readers from coast to coast on a journey of self-discovery for lead character Ellie Morgan. I’d not heard of Jaeger prior to reading The Pilot’s Daughter, but the cover alone made this book almost too good to pass up. Add in a murder and a mystery, which may or may not be related, and I was excited to grab a copy of the Uncorrected eBook File for review.

Oh, my goodness. This is a book I had to read in one sitting, compelling me to stay up into the early morning hours in an out-of-town hotel room, while my husband snored softly beside me. From the opening prelude set in 1923 about a squeaky dumbwaiter, I was hooked. Whose perspective was this? I had to read it a couple of times after finishing the book to realize. Perspective is an important feature in this novel: while Ellie’s chapters are written in the third person, her aunt’s chapters are told as though Iris herself is telling her story. Thus we, the reader, learn information about Iris’s past the same time as her niece does.

It’s Iris’s story that got to me the most. Ellie’s is revealing, as she comes to understand who she is and what she’s capable of, but the story Iris tells stole the show for me. It’s chilling, almost brutal at times, as Iris discovers that power has no limits and goes from naïve dancer to terrified starlet. There were times I wanted to skip past her chapters simply because of their horrific nature. I knew, though, that they were written for a reason, so I kept going with my heart in my mouth. It’s obvious that Iris escaped her circumstances, but how?

I knew it was a five-star read the moment I reached the end. Desperate not to wake my slumbering husband, I scuttled through to the hotel room’s bathroom so I could wipe my eyes and splash my face. The Pilot’s Daughter had left me an emotional wreck.

Rating

5/5

Product Information

Publisher: Dutton (an Imprint of Penguin RandomHouse)

Publication Date: 02 November 2021

Book Information

Excerpt

author photoAuthor Information

Meredith Jaeger is the USA Today bestselling author of The Dressmaker’s Dowry and Boardwalk Summer. Meredith was born and raised in Berkeley, California, and holds a BA in modern literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She lives outside San Francisco with her husband and daughter.

Meredith Jaeger’s Website https://meredithjaegerauthor.com

 

About Sally M

I'm all about books, history, rail trails, craft beer and wine, and dogs! I'm a Partner with Trades of Hope: my paid job empowers women around the world out of poverty, helping them raise their families, and rebuild their lives after abuse and human trafficking.
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