Book Review : Daughter by Jane Shemilt

December 3, 2014 Book review 14 ★★★★

This book hit me hard!  When I reached the ending I felt like I had been caught by the foot, held upside and shaken hard.  I FELT RATTLED.  I was full of questions and FEELS and had an urgent need to talk about the book to anyone who has read it.

Book Review : Daughter by Jane ShemiltThe Daughter by Jane Shemilt
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on 3 March 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Family Life, Law & Crime, Suspense
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
Source: Edelweiss

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.


First Line of Daughter by Jane Shemilt

 “The days grow short.”

 My Thoughts on Daughter by Jane Shemilt:

Gosh this book is a book to jar you.  When the theme of the book is a missing person, especially a teenage girl, you expect chilling and worrying.  And this book is both.  The tension is held during the book as we flick back between Timeline One –  one year after the disappearance and Timeline Two – around the time of the disappearance.  And on page 1, you are hit with the hard fact that Naomi is still missing.

Jenny (her mother) has obviously had her whole life destroyed by this.  And is inclined to take the blame on herself as she had let her daughter grow distant from her.  At first I thought she was taking too much on as no mother knows all the ins and outs of their teenagers lives but as I read on I did feel that she really took her eye of the ball as regards to her family.  No matter what she did or didn’t do though, my heart broke for her.  It is every parent’s worst nightmare and as I read, I felt all her fear and guilt and heartache.

I did think the pace of the book was a bit choppy.  I loved the plot and appreciated the character development but as we switch point of view to ‘one year later’, we move to the present tense.  Which is never my favourite.  Worse, we also got paragraph after paragraph of flowery descriptions about everything.  Every teeny, tiny little thing was described and it slowed the pace right down.  But then when we got back to the action and the story moved on a bit, I loved it again.

The plot is slowly, slowly revealed.  You get little dots scattered throughout and it took a long time for me to start connecting them all.  I loved that the intrigue was held throughout the book.  AND THEN THE ENDING!

Beware!  It’s a Marmite ending; you will love it or hate.  I absolutely loved it and it raised my opinion on the whole book.  If it had ended the way I thought it would, the book would not have lingered for long in my memory but because of what actually happened, it’s one I’ll be puzzling out for a long time.

Overall, despite the pacing issues, I loved it.  And I’m still thinking about it, swirling it around in my mind and still coming no firm conclusions.  If that will drive you mad, stay away but I love books that are a little ambiguous and this is another to add to my favourites in that category.


Rating Report
Did I feel it?
Overall: four-stars


Who should read on Daughter by Jane Shemilt?

I’d highly recommend this to fans of family drama type mysteries.  If you enjoyed Gone Girl or the Good Wife or Little Lies then I think you’d also appreciate this one.  And if you are in a Book Club, this would be an excellent choice, this book is crying out for a group discussion.

Thanks to Edelweiss and William Morrow Paperbacks for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.



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14 Responses to “Book Review : Daughter by Jane Shemilt”

  1. Leanna

    The pacing does sound a bit slow for my tastes but I’m very, very intrigued as to the ending! I’ve got a review copy of this one from Edelweiss but I think it’s for the US release and that’s not until March 2015 so I’ll have to hold off reading it for a while. I’ll let you know what I think of the ending when I get to it, though! 🙂
    Leanna recently posted…Book Review: How We Fall by Kate Brauning.

    • trish

      I liked the story Amanda but then I’m always drawn to missing people themes as they intrigue me. I thought it was worth it because I found the characters interesting and the ending made the book for me. It is VERY purple-prosey though.

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