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Daughter Paperback – 28 Aug 2014


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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (28 Aug. 2014)
  • ISBN-10: 1405915293
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405915298
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (863 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 333 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

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

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By rinylou on 4 Nov. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
2.5 stars. I struggled with this. I actually started reading it months ago - twice - and put it down each time. When I picked it up for the third time I knew for sure that it wasn't just that I wasn't in the mood for a slow-burn depressing domestic mystery, and forced myself to finish.

It's not bad. It's very accomplished for a debut and there are instances of breathtaking prose. The structure is clever and handled admirably; I didn't get lost or confused as to where we were in the Before or After once. But the structure itself causes fault - it means that you lose all tension or anticipation with the Before scenes, as you know from reading the interspersed After scenes that all these red herrings are exactly that, and lead nowhere, as Naomi is still missing over a year later. And the After scenes, well, they are just Jenny sitting in a cottage, thinking to herself, painting - hardly gripping.

I just didn't connect or care, and that was what made it a slog. Nothing rang particularly true - and I know I'm not a GP or a mother of three teenagers, but still. All the characters are odious pricks. The ending was a bit eye-rolly, right when I wanted it to pack the sort of punch that would have made it a solid three-star read. It never got there.

So, all in all, a bit of a disappointment. But it does sit better with other readers, and if you're interested by the blurb and an aficionado of the genre, certainly don't be put off by my review!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 17 Sept. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book is set at two different times a year apart, one around the time of Naomi's disappearance, the other around a year later, and flits between these two settings with no real rhyme or reason, making it disjointed. While the premise was enjoyable and the book got off to a promising start, I felt the author was throwing every possible scandal and twist into the plot. It felt like she was trying too hard to make the story gripping and, as a result, the book lost credibility. After all the plot twists and turns, the ending was very flat. I'm not sure I'd go out of my way to read another of her books.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Chanatkins on 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By MB on 30 Dec. 2014
Format: Paperback
My expectations were raised by the hype and maybe that is why I am disappointed.
It is a carefully crafted novel and I think that herein also lies the problem. The plot is interesting and I kept turning the pages but the execution jarred.

Jane Shemilt’s writing talent has been processed through a postgraduate diploma in creative writing AND an MA in creative writing (which she was awarded with distinction, as the publishers are keen to point out).
Tutors will have advised the budding author to write about what she knows. Jane Shemilt is a GP who writes about a GP. Her husband is a professor of neurosurgery and so the husband in the book is a neurosurgeon. The author has five children, her main character has three.
Now, either all this does not matter in which case why mention it at all but clearly the publishers make a big deal of it because they believe it will give the author extra authority. Does it though?

Too often it seemed there was a formula in brackets hovering behind the words, like an Excel spreadsheet. Allow me to illustrate with a couple of examples:
1. Places always smelled of ‘something’ and ‘something’:
Page 84 – her elderly mother’s rooms smells of ‘mothballs and Pledge’ (I am glad it was not the classic ‘boiled cabbage’).
Page 174 – the bookshop smells of ‘wet hair and banana bubblegum’.
Page 179 – the café smells of ‘tea and wet dog’.
Page 221 – the cottage smells of ‘coffee and batter’, etc.

2. The professional middle classes may reach for the wine bottle more than they should but there appears to be no meaningful conversation or activity in the book where this is not mentioned. It was like playing bingo after a while.
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