Sometimes, all it takes to face your own demons, is to betray your family....
When Rachel Sens estranged father unexpectedly offers her an olive branch and invites her to live at Dalby Manor, she suspects there is more to his sudden interest in their relationship. But despite her initial misgivings, Rachel is lulled by her husbands doubts into believing there might be a chance for her and her father to put the past behind. Nicknamed Torpedo because of his early encounters with the law, her husband Espen Toren has the street smarts Rachel lacks. The only problem is that Rachel has not told him the entire truth about her childhood, or that her superiors have told her she must uncover the seedy dealings behind her father's charitable organization.
Two weeks before she is to deliver their baby, Rachel is approached at her father's birthday party by a pushy reporter, Daphne Cheung. She immediately dismisses Daphne as just the type of reporter to write a puff-piece about her father's self-promoting philanthropic activities. It is only after witnessing her father discretely speaking with a notorious Chinese General, that Rachel begins to have misgivings about the true nature of Daphne's business. Not knowing if she is friend or foe, Rachel unsuccessfully tries to avoid her. Daphne's surprise calling card only adds to the mystery of her true intentions.
Later that night, Rachel finds her mother on the verge of passing out from an overdose of alcohol and pills. While attempting to save her, her mother incoherently hints that Rachel must find the Fenghuang, the mythical Chinese Phoenix. She unexpectedly reveals that Rachel is the beneficiary of a hidden Trust, a Trust that her father is looting. Rachel initially dismisses her mother's ramblings and races to save her life. When she finally draws the courage to confront her father, he acknowledges the existence of the Trust, but tries to bully Rachel into signing her interests over to him. For the first time in her life, she stands up to him. But, it is too late before she realizes the extent of his brutality.
Unwittingly, Rachel finds herself at the center of a struggle with those she once held close to her heart. She soon learns her father's philandering is just the tip of the iceberg, and that his philanthropic activities are a sinister cover-up of international proportions. In a strange twist of events, Rachel is catapulted into the ultimate battle for survival. Rachel must decide to either enlist help from the enigmatic Daphne, or chance navigating the maze of intrigue and unmasking the layers of family betrayals on her own. She is left with an unsettling choice: shamefully expose the truth at the expense of family honor, or live with the torment of her own demons forever. With each twist and turn, Rachel's journey takes her to Norway, France and back to her haunted childhood memories in Hong Kong, where she must make her final stand.
The Babbler Bird's Daughter echoes themes woven throughout Khaled Hosseini's, A Thousand Splendid Suns, which chronicles a woman's journey in tackling difficult family relationships. This is a novel reminiscent of Margaret Cezair-Thompson's, The Pirate's Daughter, another bestseller about family sagas with a focus on female protagonists, which speaks to the issues of financial ruin, double lives, and death.