The Beautiful Daughters by Nicole Baart

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Release day is April 28th!

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Adrienne Vogt and Harper Penny were closer than sisters, until the day a tragedy blew their seemingly idyllic world apart. Afraid that they got away with murder and unable to accept who they had lost—and what they had done—Harper and Adri exiled themselves from small-town Blackhawk, Iowa, and from each other. Adri ran thousands of miles away to Africa while Harper ventured down a more destructive path closer to home.

Now, five years later, both are convinced that nothing could ever coax them out of the worlds in which they’ve been living. But unexpected news from home soon pulls Adri and Harper back together, and the two cannot avoid facing their memories and guilt head-on. As they are pulled back into the tangle of their fractured relationships and the mystery of Piperhall, the sprawling estate where their lives first began to unravel, secrets and lies behind the tragic accident are laid bare. The former best friends are forced to come to terms with their shared past and search for the beauty in each other while mending the brokenness in themselves.  
4 stars****

This story focused quite a bit on the topic of domestic abuse... a bit of a distressing theme but at the same time it was an engaging story laced with an edge of mystery.   Beautifully written in a somewhat unusual setting.  I loved that this little Iowa town had this unusual castle type dwelling lurking in the midst of farm country...  A place where little girls can sit back and daydream of princes and fairytales.  But, reality can be quite different...  this we learn as the tale of these two best friends slowly unfolds.   The story revolves around five college students who were once all close friends but is being told from Adrienne and Harper's POV... it moves back and forth from present to past.
These two best friends end up going their separate ways after college in the aftermath of a tragedy in which they both felt blame. Five years later they find themselves back together again and being forced to face the truth of the past. This is one of those stories that gently reminds us that you can run from your past but you can't hide from it... eventually you have to face it. And, once you face it... it's usually not as bad as you thought. Sometimes when emotions are high, it alters our perception of how things may have actually happened.
Adrienne had created a new life for herself in Africa where she worked as a nurse... and, Harper eventually found herself trapped in a relationship with a man who was controlling, dangerous and abusive. Both of them coming back to the place that they vowed never to return to was in a way just the medicine they needed to find a way back to taking control of their lives and letting go of the past.
A good story of two friends learning to forgive, let go of the past and embrace the future... it was nice seeing them re-kindle the friendship they thought they had lost. Sometimes all you have to do is take a chance, reach out and let the chips fall where they may...

Highly recommend to Women's Fiction fans...  :)

ARC was provided by Atria publishing thru netgalley

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