Sins of the father haunt 'Murderer's Daughters'

Growing up in Brooklyn was no picnic for 10-year-old Lulu and her little sister, Merry. Their mother was a dissatisfied woman who loved to flirt and look pretty, and hated her husband with a passion. Their father loved their mother with a hunger that couldn’t be quenched. After throwing her husband out, Lulu’s mother told her never to let Daddy back in the house again.

But one fateful day, Lulu did let Daddy in, and then watched horrified as he killed her mother, stabbed her little sister and then slashed his own wrists right in front of her. Merry survived the attack, but the two girls would be forever scarred by the actions of their father and mother.

“The Murderer’s Daughters,” the debut novel by Randy Susan Meyers, follows the lives of Merry and Lulu as they struggle to overcome the stigma brought upon their family by the sins of their father.

Orphaned, and effectively abandoned by their mother’s family, Lulu and Merry grow up in a less than stellar group home where they have to fight daily for their very existence. Their only relative who has any contact with the girls is their father’s mother, and she tries to encourage both of them to visit their father in prison — after all, they are his family.

Lulu refuses to go, but Merry makes the trip with her grandmother to the Staten Island prison for the rest of the old woman’s life, and she continues the journey into her adulthood.

As they grow older, Lulu and Merry handle their past in markedly different ways. Lulu chooses to brush the family’s secrets under the rug, while Merry deals with it through a daze of alcohol, drugs and men. It’s not until the girls learn of their father’s upcoming release from prison that they must deal with the realization that the lies and secrets soon will become facts they will have to face together.

With “The Murderer’s Daughters,” Meyers has crafted a gut-wrenchingly powerful, emotional novel that takes a very real look at how today’s society handles crimes of passions and their consequences. She handles the subject with a tough-love, gloves-off approach that is both sensitive and practical, and as a result gives readers a look into a life that many live and deal with on a daily basis.

Meyers is donating a portion of the proceeds from “The Murderer’s Daughters” to the Home for Little Wanderers, a national nonprofit child and family service agency that assists children at risk, their families and communities with social and mental services.