Book Review: Daughter by Jane Shemilt

For once I don’t think this was a recommendation from a friend – I’m not sure if it was a magazine review in Red – or that I noticed it was a ‘Richard and Judy Bookclub’ book – but I downloaded this to read, and read most of it on a transatlantic flight earlier this week.


Here’s what the Amazon blurb says about it:

“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.


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.


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.”

Overall I enjoyed this – the combination of thriller and family drama is often a winner.  The one thing is, and it’s no fault of the writer at all, but I’m getting a bit bored of books that flick backwards and forwards in time each chapter. It seems to be the thing to do at the moment, and frankly – it’s all a bit exhausting!

It made me think a lot about how I juggle family and work life – although thankfully without a missing child thrown into the mix.

Definitely worth a read – and whilst slightly gritty in places, it didn’t have the scariness of ‘I Am Pilgrim’ or ‘Pop Goes The Weasel’ – but maybe the fact it could be more realistic makes it worse?!?  It’s well written – and amazing that the writer juggles being a GP, wife of a neurosurgeon, and mother of 5 (all of which she has utilised in the story to some extent!)

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