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The Daughter: A Novel by Jane Shemilt
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The Daughter: A Novel (2014)

by Jane Shemilt

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Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
Not a very memorable book. I didn't really connect with any of the characters. Readable though. ( )
  DarrellR | Jun 23, 2017 |
Fifteen year old Naomi goes missing. She's the daughter of loving parents and she has twin brothers, one of whom was supposed to have picked her up from her theatre practice on the night of her disappearance.
The story is told from the mother's point of view, Jenny. Jenny is a successful doctor. She lives a well-off, middle class life. She's comfortable, secure, happy, but all of that changes as she torments herself about her daughter's disappearance. In fact, as the story unravels we see how little Jenny really knew her own daughter and how distanced Jenny was from the feelings and passions of her own family.
I had two irritations with this novel - the first was the constant switching between the past and present which I found disorientating and misleading. The second was the repetitious self-criticisms of the mother, which, though understandable, I found became annoying the more it was repeated. It is also true that the last half of the book really dragged with very little new material added.
That said, this story has a powerful ending as we find out what really happened to Naomi and Jenny finds out too.
3 and a half stars. ( )
  AnnGirdharry | Feb 16, 2017 |
I really enjoyed this book...right up until the last few pages. I can't think of another book I've read that I had such mixed feelings about. The ending is so odd and doesn't fit in with the rest of the story at all. Frustrating! ( )
  mmreed | Feb 4, 2017 |
I was really looking forward to this one thinking it would be a twisting turning mystery thriller but I actually found it quite slow and boring. The chapters in the past that follow the disappearance as it happens were fantastic but the ones in the present really slowed down the pace. I expected more from the book. ( )
  Hanneri | Jul 17, 2016 |
Daughter by Jane Shemilt is a recommended debut novel about the breakdown of a family.
"It’s easier than you think to lose sight of what matters," says Jenny, a GP in Bristol, England. Jenny and her husband Ted, a neurosurgeon, are the parents of three teenagers: 17-year-old twins, Ed and Theo, and 15-year-old Naomi. When Naomi fails to come home on the second night of performance for her school play, the police are called in to try and unravel what has happened to Jenny. As the investigation plods along, Jenny realizes that she didn't know Naomi, or her boys, as well as she thought she did.

The novel switches back and forth in time, going from Naomi's disappearance to a year later when Jenny is living alone in her family's vacation cottage in Dorset. We know, then, that Naomi is still missing a year later and we know that other events have taken place to disintegrate the fragile family bonds that Jenny thought were so strong. Apparently for years Jenny has been turning a blind eye to clues that were all around her regarding her whole family, not only Naomi. Shemilt also touches on mistakes doctors can make as well as mistakes parents can make.

While this certainly is not a bad debut novel, there were a few problems for me. The first half of the novel moves very slowly. I kept with it hoping to find out what happened, but some of that was a sense of duty from accepting a review copy. Jenny is a well-developed character, but the rest of the family remains largely a mystery. Sure, we don't always know other people as well as we think we do, but Jenny is taking the blame being thrown at her for not seeing this or doing that, while Ted is basically being given a pass for all these things he should have noticed too. Her son Ed is a spoiled brat who needs to be told to stop blaming others for his decisions. Naomi is really a mystery. Jenny thinks she was one way when she obviously wasn't. Finally, the ending of Daughter may irritate some readers because there is no closure, just more unanswered questions and unresolved issues.

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of HarperCollins for review purposes




( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Mar 21, 2016 |
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To my husband, Steve, and our dearest children, Martha, Mary, Henry, Tommy and Johny
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The days grow short.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062320475, Paperback)

When a teenage girl goes missing her mother discovers she doesn't know her daughter as well as she thought in Jane Shemilt's haunting debut novel, Daughter. The Night Of The Disappearance - She used to tell me everything. They have a picture. It'll help. But it doesn't show the way her hair shines so brightly it looks like sheets of gold. She has a tiny mole, just beneath her left eyebrow. She smells very faintly of lemons. She bites her nails. She never cries. She loves autumn, I wanted to tell them. She collects leaves, like a child does. She is just a child. Find her. One year later - Naomi is still missing. Jenny is a mother on the brink of obsession. The Malcolm family is in pieces. Is finding the truth about Naomi the only way to put them back together? Or is the truth the thing that will finally tear them apart? Daughter by Jane Shemilt is an emotional and compelling story about how well you really know those you love most. While working as a GP, Jane Shemilt completed a post graduate diploma in Creative Writing at Bristol university and went on to study for the M.A in Creative writing at Bath Spa, gaining both with distinction. She was shortlisted for the Janklow and Nesbitt award and the Lucy Cavendish fiction prize for Daughter, which is her first novel. She and her husband, a Professor of Neurosurgery, have five children and live in Bristol.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:57 -0400)

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