The Daughter

The Daughter

by Jane Shemilt


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Jenny is a successful family doctor, the mother of three great teenagers, married to a celebrated neurosurgeon.

But when her youngest child, fifteen-year-old Naomi, doesn't come home after her school play, Jenny's seemingly ideal life begins to crumble. The authorities launch a nationwide search with no success. Naomi has vanished, and her family is broken.

As the months pass, the worst-case scenarios—kidnapping, murder—seem less plausible. The trail has gone cold. Yet, for a desperate Jenny, the search has barely begun. More than a year after her daughter's disappearance, she's still digging for answers—and what she finds disturbs her. Everyone she's trusted, everyone she thought she knew, has been keeping secrets, especially Naomi. Piecing together the traces her daughter left behind, Jenny discovers a very different Naomi from the girl she thought she'd raised.

Jenny knows she'll never be able to find Naomi unless she uncovers the whole truth about her daughter—a twisting, painful journey into the past that will lead to an almost unthinkable revelation. . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062320476
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/03/2015
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 98,715
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

While working full time as a physician, Jane Shemilt received an M.A. in creative writing. She was shortlisted for the Janklow and Nesbit award and the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize for The Daughter, her first novel. She and her husband, a professor of neurosurgery, have five children and live in Bristol, England.

Customer Reviews

The Daughter: A Novel 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Twink More than 1 year ago
The Daughter is Jane Shemilt's debut novel. How's this for a 'grab your attention and keep you reading until you're going to be tired in the morning opening line'.... "If only. If only I"d been listening. If only I'd been watching. If only I could start again, exactly one year ago." Jenny and her husband Ted are parents to teenagers Naomi and twins Theo and Ed. They're both busy physicians and there just never seems to be enough time to keep on top of everything - things get missed. In this case, it's Naomi who goes missing. Shemilt tells the story of this family from the perspective of Jenny then - just before Naomi's disappearance - and now, one year later with Naomi still missing. I loved this dual narrative. A hint or a line from the past or a remembered nuance sparks a segue to the present and back again. With hindsight, Jenny relives the months leading up to Naomi's disappearance. Did she focus on herself too much? What did she miss? How did she not act on the changes she noticed in her daughter? How could she be blind to what was happening in her family? Shemilt's story tells the story of a horrific loss in a seemingly idyllic family - and exposes the secrets and problems beneath that exterior gloss. But the pressing question is what happened to Naomi? Is she still alive? And Jenny comes to realize she didn't really know her daughter at all.... The publisher's blurb reads: "a compelling and clever psychological thriller". I'm not sure about the thriller label, but The Daughter kept me engrossed from start to finish. I was engaged in Jenny's self recriminations (I did found Jenny difficult to like or feel sympathy for though) and got caught up in the search for Naomi. For me, the book was a slow measured suspense novel, with the focus on the mother rather than the daughter. The ending wasn't quite what I had expected, but as I thought about it, I decided I liked it after all. The Daughter was a good debut and I would pick up the next book from this author.
TheBibliophilicBookBlog More than 1 year ago
In THE DAUGHTER, a family is torn apart by the disappearance of their 15-year old daughter. It’s apparent to me this family doesn’t communicate very well and the parents, Ted and Jenny, are oblivious to what their 3 children, Ed, Theo, and Naomi, are up to on a daily basis. I don’t know if this obliviousness is deliberate or just due to having busy lives. I don’t think THE DAUGHTER should be taken as a morality lesson about women needing to stay home with their children, as there have been many parents I know who work and are able to be present in their children’s lives. Sure, it’s a given fact we never know the people in our lives (family, friends, co-workers, etc.) as intimately as we know ourselves. However, there just seems to be a distance in this family which is exacerbated when 15 year old Naomi disappears. I also don’t think it was fair for Jenny to be blamed for the distance when Ted was no better a father. THE DAUGHTER was slow-moving and there were points when I totally lost interest in the characters because I felt little to no connection. THE DAUGHTER also ends in a strange way, with no real conclusion or closure which may not appeal to some readers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book holds your attention throughout and to the end. The end starts to take you one way only to end as a surprise! Life, today, sometimes seems to be in the fast lane and so much is missed, as this book shoes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ending was surprising
sneps More than 1 year ago
Excellent Thriller About a Mom's Discovery: There are books that make for a great book club discussion, or are just a great read. Then, there are those that are great reads, great book club discussion reads, AND will push your buttons all at once. This was one of them. Naomi is a 15 year old, who goes missing, and a nationwide search begins. With the story alternating between present and past chapters, it keeps will keep the reader guessing what happens. At the end, both past and present meet, with the ending being quite shocking. I was even more freaked out when I read the last chapter- that has maybe 3 sentences! No afterward, no epilogue, not even book club discussion questions that would hint at what the ending implies. So, this is the kind of the book that you will have to process with someone else that has read the book! Jenny is a successful doctor, her husband a surgeon, and they both have one daughter (Naomi) and 2 teenage sons (twins). The story is told through Jenny’s point of view, so we never know what Naomi was thinking about or what really happened. It’s more speculation on Jenny’s part and the reader has to guess, too. With Naomi gone, Jenny reflects on the time leading up to Naomi’s disappearance and her family. It raises interesting questions: Can a woman have it all? Can she have a career and a family? Can she be fulfilled in her marriage and still have a successful practice? Can she balance work with children? Is one are of her life going to lack when the attention is spent elsewhere? Can someone truly separate work from home, and not let the issues bleed into another? Both of Jenny’s sons and husband have their own issues to contend with, as well as having guilt of what happened to Naomi. However, it isn’t fully explored. It is so sad that Jenny has to contend with those questions and internal struggles, whereas her husband simply places blame on her for his choices, and one of her sons does, too. Jenny realizes she wasn’t as available to her children as she thought and that everyone had their own secrets that may split the family apart. Jenny has an idea of what her family looks like and when she sees some potential signs of problems, she brushes them off or rationalizes the situation. However, we all know that even closets have to get cleaned out, skeletons and all. Jenny does that, but will it be too late for her family? Jenny does realize that she didn’t make herself as available as she needed to for her children. However, in the end, readers will find out if she is able to change that and what consequences there are from the aftermath. While Naomi does go missing and the story centers around finding her, the story is really about Jenny: a wife, mom, and career woman, whose choices impact those around her. Naomi missing does highlight the cracks in the foundation of the family, which looks perfect on the outside, but is quite fragmented and detached. However, there is hope, acceptance, and love that runs much deeper than anything or anyone can try to break apart. In the end, it is awesome that Jenny sees her family for who they are and lets them know that she sees them, loves them, and is there for them. It’s a such a great story that is beautiful and heartbreaking.
Lorraine E. Oxley 4 months ago
Cindi Wells 6 months ago
Kept me intrigued the whole way!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too much on the mother. Never moved into where the girl might be until the very end. But, because of the ending guess that’s the way it had to be.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Story is so unique.
EmmyT More than 1 year ago
I found the highlight of the Daughter to be the last few chapters. I would say this book has a slow beginning and middle. Should you be looking for a casual read this might be the book for you. If like me, you are looking for an edge of your seat book I wouldn't recommend this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wanted to like this book, but honestly it's written like word salad.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The ending ruined the whole book for me. It was like she tried to have two endings and ended up leaving no real closure. An epilogue would have been a nice way to have that closure and answer looming questions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's a page turner. Great characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was just okay for dragged and when I finally reached the end I was very dissapointed not because it finished but because I would have liked a real interaction between daughter and mom...I don't think I will pickup another book by this author.