Daughter By Jane Shemilt
‘Daughter’ is Jane Shemilt’s debut novel.
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.
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’ is a complex story that makes for chilling reading as it’s about every parents nightmare when their child goes missing.
It’s seen entirely from Jenny Malcolm’s perspective and is written in both the past and present tense when Jenny’s daughter Naomi mysteriously disappears one night. The flashbacks refer to the moment when she vanishes and then the story follows on fourteen months later and how things have altered for the Malcolm family and the repercussions as they try to carry on with their lives. But Jenny never gives up and continues on with her own private investigation, discovering new secrets about her not so perfect family along the way.
Jenny is a fascinating character, as a mother I felt a strong sense of empathy for her, as she goes through this particularly difficult time although the rest of the family seemed to have moved on, even though there was no conclusion regarding Naomi’s sudden absence. Her mind regularly spirals out of control, wondering what happened to her daughter which is quite disturbing reading at times, as she imagines quite horrible things.
I felt a flurry of emotions for Jenny, although it was mostly sympathy for her, I did find myself quite frustrated by her. As a professional woman in a doctoring occupation, her children treated her unfairly with cruel, nasty comments and accusing her of favouritism. She never stands up for herself and let them hurt her, much to my irritation.
The story is filled with many dislikable characters, mainly the Malcolm family and Naomi herself, who had quite a bitchy streak and wasn’t as innocent as Jenny had thought.
Written in a frank and gripping manner, the book flows at a fast pace, where everyone is suspect and nothing is quite as it seems. With a hauntingly creepy cover and intensity dripping from the pages, ‘Daughter’ is filled with many twists and turns and an unexpected ending that will leave you baffled and shocked in equal measures.
You can buy Daughter from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.