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Daughter [Paperback]

Jane Shemilt
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (511 customer reviews)
RRP: £7.99
Price: £3.85 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

28 Aug 2014

*A Sunday Times top five bestseller and Richard & Judy Autumn Book Club pick*

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.

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.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (28 Aug 2014)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1405915293
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405915298
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (511 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


We absolutely loved this book. It's about a GP and her family and the sudden horror that devastates their lives when their 16-year-old daughter disappears one night. It's difficult to believe that this accomplished book is a debut (Judy Finnigan, Richard and Judy book club)

Ostensibly a suspense novel about the disappearance of a teenage girl, this taut and thought-provoking debut novel explores a working mother's guilt, something all-too familiar to many of us (Woman & Home)

Complex and baffling. Jane Shemilt builds layer upon layer of tension in a novel you won't be able to put down (TESS GERRITSEN)

Gripping to the last page! (My Weekly)

Thrilling (Sunday Express)

Clever (Sun)

Taut and thought-provoking (Sunday Mirror)

Utterly gripping. A tautly coiled spring of suspicion and suspense which builds to a devastating ending (Mail On Sunday)

A wonderful plot, full of tantalising reasons to read on, and of course with a killer twist at the end. What impressed me most was (. . .) the impossibility of truly knowing those closest to us, the pressures of parenthood - in particular working motherhood, and the terrible loss at the heart of all parenting: they grow up and away (Christopher Wakling, author of What I Did)

About the Author

While working as a GP, Jane Shemilt completed a postgraduate diploma in Creative Writing at Bristol University and went on to study for the MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa, gaining both with distinction. She was shortlisted for the Janklow and Nesbit 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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good first half ***possible spoilers*** 11 Sep 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I had really high hopes for this novel. The first half was terrific, the scene was set at a good pace and sufficient questions left unanswered in order to hold my interest, however, at exactly the 50% mark it began to drag and I ended up skim reading.

Jenny is a GP, her husband Ted is a neurologist. They have 3 adolescent children, two sons and one daughter. One night, daughter Naomi does not return home and the novel follows what how this fractures the rest of the family and the secrets they hold.

The real disappointment for me was that there is no actual reason given for Naomi's disappearance, there was no real detail around Naomi's relationship with her mother, which I presume was to keep the reader guessing whether she was abducted or a runaway. There were lengthy descriptions of Jenny painting which got to bore the socks off me which could have been better put to going into family dynamics in my opinion.

I'll read the author's next book as like I said, the first half was really good and shows promise.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping but unrealistic in parts 6 Oct 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am giving this four stars as I did enjoy it; it was a real page turner and very gripping, as well as very well written. I would definitely read more from this author and recommend this book. However there were a few things about it that troubled me. Daughter is the story of the 'perfect' family, GP Jenny, her neuro-surgeon husband Ted and their three teenage children. Their lives are blown apart one day when their fifteen year old daughter Naomi fails to return home after her school performance. The story is told from Jenny's point of view, and as she is plunged into every mother's worst nightmare, we see her trying to piece together the clues she missed in the lead up to Naomi's disappearance. It is soon revealed that she did not know her daughter at all, and their family is far from perfect. This book is certainly gripping and powerful, and I had to keep reading it every chance I got. Sadly the more I read the less I engaged with the characters. There were times I felt pity for Jenny, as she shoulders the blame for being a busy working mum while nothing is made of how unavailable the husband is. He seems to get off scott free which annoyed me. The two timelines, one told in the present where Jenny is still trying to find out what happened to her daughter, and one told in the past, leading up to and after the disappearance actually works very well. It makes you turn the page, desperate to piece the puzzle together. There are twists and turns and the ending was a surprise. What I found unrealistic was Naomi's obvious hatred for her mother. It was hard to fathom that Jenny had done anything to deserve such behaviour. Jenny herself becomes rather weak and irritating as time goes on, and there were many times I wanted her to stand up for herself where her children were concerned, Thought provoking though and a very powerful first debut.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 1 Oct 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I tend to agree with other unfavorable reviews : I found the characters unpleasant and shallow for the most part, the plot was creaking and Naomi, the daughter in question, seemed to be hiding almost every secret you can imagine a teenager might hide. The ending was ridiculous and unsatisfactory. By the end of the book I couldn't have cared less about Jenny, the narrator, her husband, Ted or their two sons and Naomi; even the dog seemed unreal, Rather fed up with characters dragging themselves around in miserable over long descriptions of their misery.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't live up to the hype 16 Oct 2014
By Love Books VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It seems to be happening more and more that certain books are given shedloads of hype and marketing which helps project them to the top of the bestsellers lists. Then I (and presumably thousands of other readers) get all excited and rush to read said books only to be disappointed.

This is a book that's 'of the moment' in that it concerns a middle-aged, middle-class mother of teenagers whose daughter doesn't come home after performing in a play one evening. The family is very well off (as they always seem to be in this kind of book) the kids all have their own bathrooms etc. Each member of the family, teenage daughter, over-stretched mother, successful father, non-identical twin sons, lives up to their literary stereotype as do the minor characters.

The book takes place in two timelines, immediately before and after the daughter's disappearance, and 13 months later. The first timeline is, in my opinion, far more gripping than the second, and I was soon skipping sections of the second in which really, until the end, not a lot happens.

A sub-plot about the mother (a doctor) and a child from a working class family had real potential and had me gripped for a while but (SPOILER ALERT) that fizzled out after a while and I was so enraged by the cliches heaped upon the 'poor but loving' characters in that family that I wanted to scream. Would they really love and look after old grandma at home but leave her sitting in a pool of urine? I think not. Surprise surprise but even working class people know that's not kind!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!
Powerful and poignant! Echoes of every dysfunctional family I know or have been part of. Excellent first novel - loved it. Please write another ...
Published 58 minutes ago by HILS
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A good read
Published 3 hours ago by m.j.mckernan
4.0 out of 5 stars loved
Gripping....loved it
Published 4 hours ago by mrs s m humbert
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fabulous. A real page-turner, with twists and turns right through to the end.
Published 4 hours ago by Sarah Green
4.0 out of 5 stars Daughter
Well written,every families worst nightmare convincingly told. What a surprising twist at the end,but what a complicated family, you felt like banging their heads together and... Read more
Published 20 hours ago by myra cooke
5.0 out of 5 stars makes you think how well you know people.
Brilliant kept you guessing till last page.
Published 22 hours ago by Susan Millard
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written but it grew tiresome
The story is about a disfunctional family but there was never given any reason why the children were so rude and horrible to their parents and each other. Read more
Published 23 hours ago by UKRosie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read, not finished yet but keeping my attention all the way through so far.
Published 1 day ago by vera swift
5.0 out of 5 stars A totally absorbing book. Keeps you guessing to the ...
A totally absorbing book. Keeps you guessing to the very end.
Published 1 day ago by Deborah Chetwood
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping read
This book held my attention from the middle ment I picked it up. A great read to the very last page.
Published 1 day ago by Jo Williams
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