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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 (652 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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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

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By jaffareadstoo TOP 500 REVIEWER on 20 Sep 2014
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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20 of 21 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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Janie U TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 Sep 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a thoughtfully written thriller about a teenager going missing, specifically about the effect that her absence has on the rest of the family. The book is narrated by Jenny, the mother, and the author manages to convey the pure desperation of the situation. Particularly interesting is the mother/daughter relationship prior to the disappearance which will be familiar to anyone who has been a mother or a daughter!, with the gap between them widening as the daughter gets involved with things that she doesn't want to discuss with her mother and the mother getting distressed that her daughter no longer shares but having too busy a life to be able to challenge what is going on around her.
Structurally, the novel moves between before/during/immediately after the disappearance and a year later. Doing this allows for the immediate and more long term consequences to be explored. The times are clearly labelled but not in a way which is too obtrusive.
The book is well written but is a subject which is covered frequently in novels and it did have a feeling of familiarity. Often a missing person story is told from the viewpoint of the police procedure and it is good to see the family's view here, the problem is that the police investigation doesn't quite seem right with the progress of the case seeming clunky and unlikely (eg would a detective really allow a mother to go with him to interview a neighbour? I think not!) I also thought that the character of Michael didn't add anything to the story and was a distraction too many.
Overall though I really enjoyed the read and found the ending very powerful.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Joey VINE VOICE on 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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