Daughter is Jane Shemilt’s first book and there appears to be a lot of her self in this. In real life Jane is a GP and her husband is professor of neurosurgery. In the book, Jenny is a GP married to a neurosurgeon. Jane has 5 children and managed to complete a post graduate diploma in creative writing whilst working. In the novel, Jenny is constantly fighting lack of time and trying to juggle home and family and work. I may be making assumptions here but I suspect this is something Jane understands very well.
Jenny prides herself of knowing and understanding the minutiae of all her children’s lives. She believes that Naomi her 15 year old daughter and Ed and Theo the twins talk to her and tell her everything. When Naomi goes missing she begins to question this.
The opening chapter is one year exactly since Naomi went missing. The book then alternates between the days before and immediately after her disappearance and the situation one year on.
“I write my daughter’s name on the first unmarked page and underneath I sketch the outline of two black high-heeled shoes lying on their sides, long straps tangled together. Naomi. “
After Naomi goes missing a nation wide search is launched. Tension builds as the story develops and the plot does literally thicken. Details of her children’s and her husbands lives are gradually revealed and Jenny realises she didn’t know any of them as well as she had thought.
This book kept me gripped until the end and reading late into the night to finish it. I found the ending a little ambiguous and dare I say it a little disappointing, but it didn’t change my overall enjoyment of this novel
It asks the question ‘How well does any parent know their children?’ Jenny felt she knew all her children very well, she was mistaken.
If I was the parent of a teenage girl I suspect I would feel slightly uneasy having read this.
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