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Daughter [Paperback]

Jane Shemilt
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (440 customer reviews)
RRP: £7.99
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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.

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.


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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: 15 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (440 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 67 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

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
15 of 15 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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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good first half ***possible spoilers*** 11 Sep 2014
By Joey VINE VOICE
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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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic debut novel 1 Sep 2014
By Sophie
Format:Paperback
(actual rating 4.5)

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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An accomplished debut... 20 Sep 2014
By jaffareadstoo TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
The disintegration of family life is demonstrated in this story which focuses on the disappearance of teenager, Naomi. On the surface, it would seem that her parents, Jenny and Ted, both busy professionals, have their family under control, but the cracks which start to appear in the aftermath of Naomi’s disappearance show just how fragile is the gap between survival and complete devastation. The story is told in alternative chapters, mainly from Jenny’s perspective, and initially, it’s difficult to keep a grasp on what is happening in terms of time scale but eventually, the style of writing becomes easier to understand, and a story starts to emerge of family secrets, devastating lies and overwhelming tragedy.

For a debut novel, the writing is accomplished with some interesting observations made about families and the role each member must play in the bigger picture of family life. However, there were some gaps were I would have liked a little more of an in depth study. For example, I would have liked to have learned a little more about Ted, he was an interesting father figure but was peripheral rather than a shared central focus. Unfortunately, much as I wanted to like Jenny, I didn't, she irritated me so much that I had little sympathy for her plight, which, in a way, sort of spoiled the book for me. I wanted to be more emotionally involved and I was disappointed that I didn’t feel more empathy with any of them.

Overall, I thought the book was an interesting look at the dynamics of family life. The final dénouement when it comes is the best part of the story and is emotional and in light of how I felt about Jenny, entirely appropriate.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read very thought provoking and emotive ..get the hankies ready
Published 6 hours ago by karynn
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, couldn't put it down. The ending was a surprise.
Published 10 hours ago by monsmeg
5.0 out of 5 stars What a wonderful story teller Jane Shemilt is
What a wonderful story teller Jane Shemilt is. Loved this book. Little things, like the old man with heart failure, really touched me. Can't wait for her next book.
Published 12 hours ago by Loulou
5.0 out of 5 stars A highly emotive read
This was a brilliant, well written story. You could feel the pain of the mother, clutching to the hope at every turn that she would see her daughter again whilst struggling to... Read more
Published 14 hours ago by mrs m gissop
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommend
Gripping!
Published 15 hours ago by Louise Glass
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent read
Top marks for this book, I wasn't expecting much but I was drawn in and thoroughly enjoyed reading it! Five stars
Published 18 hours ago by Mrs. S. J. Ford
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard to put down
Good read. Unusual twist at end
Published 18 hours ago by Mrs Gillian Freeman
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent book
Published 19 hours ago by P STATHAM
2.0 out of 5 stars Starts well
It started well, engaging situation and the timeshift structure was effective. In the end though, the teenagers conformed to cliche and the climax descended into farce.
Published 20 hours ago by C. Wells
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart tugging but Annoying!
I really enjoyed this book from start to finish. I wanted to hug her mam but shake her too. She couldn't see how her way of life had pulled apart her family. Read more
Published 1 day ago by TerryHeth
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