Tuesday 26 August 2014

Review ~ Daughter by Jane Shemilt.

Title: Daughter.
Author: Jane Shemilt.
Publisher: Penguin.
Genre: Psychological Thriller.
Publication Date: August 28, 2014.
Source: Netgalley.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Purchase: Amazon UK

How well do you really know those you love?

Jenny loves her three teenage children and her husband, Ted, a celebrated neurosurgeon. She loves the way that, as a family, they always know each other's problems and don't keep secrets from each other.

But when her youngest child, fifteen-year-old Naomi, doesn't come home after her school play and a nationwide search for her begins, secrets previously kept from Jenny are revealed.

Naomi has vanished, leaving her family broken and her mother desperately searching for answers. But the traces Naomi's left behind reveal a very different girl to the one Jenny thought she'd raised. And the more she looks the more she learns that everyone she trusted has been keeping secrets.

How well does she really know her sons, her husband? How well did she know Naomi? If Jenny is going to find her, she'll have to first uncover the truth about the daughter she thought told her everything.

Without even really knowing why, I had high expectations for this novel. I couldn’t wait to get started with it and I was not disappointed with this clever, incredibly well pieced together plot. Daughter was a startling, highly impressive debut by Jane Shemilt – an author I will definitely be looking out for more from.

Daughter presents the uncomfortable notion of how any parent would feel if one day, their child never came home. Jenny, Ted, Ed and Theo are a family whose lives are turned upside down the day Naomi doesn’t come home. A family threatening to be torn apart, racked with guilt and blame. The novel switches back and forth in time, from before the disappearance, the day of the disappearance and the time after Naomi’s disappearance. The regular switches in time, though executed well, did take a bit of getting used to but once I did, about a third of the way through, Daughter became the desperately difficult to put down kind of novel I’d been anticipating.

This novel is a mystery, as to how and why Naomi disappeared and what has or has not happened to her. But more intriguing to me was the psychological insight into a person and more so into a family. How a simple interaction, a simple conversation could actually be so much more than that. How the ease of one white lie could transform into a whole lot more and a series of coverings up. These were the motions Jenny went through as she began to consider how much she could trust her family – the family she once believed were as honest and as open as they come. It’s certainly a plot that could make you second guess your own relationships. Jane Shemilt has a fascinating way of turning plausible situations into a stunning piece of fiction.

Daughter was gripping and tense. I personally had no clue what was going to be revealed and where things were going to go – and I loved that. What I enjoyed even more was how subtle the plot and the twists were. There was no need for amateur dramatics and over the top incidents to capture my attention – it was written in a much more impactful and shocking style which made it feel grittier, and more real. The ending is one which I think will get mixed reviews but for me, I thought it was brilliant. I read this novel a little while ago and it, along with its characters, has stayed with me ever since. It made for a fantastic read.

Review also posted on Goodreads | Amazon UK


  1. Anonymous26/8/14 12:04

    Brilliant review, Sophie! Completely agree, I loved this book. A fantastic debut. Holly xx

    1. Thanks Holly! Glad you liked it too - was a great first novel :) xx


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