Gateway Gazette

From My Bookshelf: Jane Shemilt

By Lynn Willoughby

The Daughter ~ Jane Shemilt

What to say about this novel?  We have what seems to be the perfect family – the mom a GP, married to a highly successful neurosurgeon, three teenagers and a dog.
Naomi, who is fifteen and the star in her school play, leaves to head to the Thursday performance, and never comes home.  There are the usual worst case scenarios – kidnapping or murder.  But days, then weeks, then months pass and the case goes cold.  But Jenny, her mom, is desperate and will not stop digging for answers.  Almost as disturbing as her daughter’s disappearance is how different the real Naomi is from the daughter Jenny thought she knew.  What REALLY happened the night Naomi disappeared?
Jenny’s guilt  would fit any mother of teenagers.  What didn’t ring true, for me, was their attitude toward their daughter and the fact that neither the mother or the father actually ever talked to their children, or confront them on fairly basic issues.  We know that talking to teens is not easy, but Jenny seemed to be living in a bubble.  Not only didn’t she see or know Naomi, but Jenny kept finding out things about her husband and her sons as well.
The book ended abruptly and I found I still had a lot of unanswered questions.  Things that seemed to be clues pointing to a conclusion were evidently just fill, and there was just way too much tea making and dog walking!  I didn’t particularly like either Naomi or Jenny.  Ted had no personality at all and with all this lack of character development or plot, it seemed like a waste of time to read this book.  However, one reviewer said “This book will fascinate and alarm parents of teenage kids…”

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