This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Reviewed by Kelly Allen
Jenny is a mother three; two twin boys, Ed and Theo, and a daughter called Naomi. Their lives consist of hustle and bustle, quick exchanges of hello and goodbye, grumpy grunts of teenage years, and the stress of adult responsibility.
One night everything changes. Naomi doesn’t comes home, and the family are torn apart by what might have happened. With no body, no witnesses and nothing to go on, the family are disjointed. Jenny moves away to Dorset, whilst Ted remains in the family home. The boys move on in their lives yet it is Jenny that carries a cloud above her head, always clinging on to the fact that her daughter is still alive and she will one day find her.
With drug theft, drug abuse, changing relationships and affairs, one year later Jenny has to face several truths. But how will she cope with most important discovery of all?
I was hesitant when it came to finally reading Daughter. Maybe it is because I have two young children, or maybe it’s because I remember those teenage years vividly. Whatever it was, I read cautiously. I was surprised by how, amidst all the pain and torment of losing a child, the vibrancy of life and the world around Jenny bounced off the page.I thought the descriptions of objects – the textures and smells that were described – filled out the gaps between grief, sorrow and regret. For me, this style of writing helped lift away from some of the doom and gloom associated with the topics of child abduction, drug abuse and unfaithfulness.
I really warmed to Jenny and I enjoyed the difference between the sections written in the present and those in the past around the time of the abduction. She seemed to try her best to learn from her mistakes paying more attention to her children, doing the things that she loved, finally accepting and confronting her husband’s adultery. The other characters were interesting, but Jenny and her neighbour Mary, in Dorset, were my favourite.
Their relationship was based on understand and trust and I really liked that. Unlike most of the men in the book, Mary was gentle and accepting of Jenny. The men either ignored Jenny, or spoke with anger, or wanted to sleep with her. Her only hope was her son Theo, who seemed to be the only well-rounded male in the novel. Jenny had anger, resentment and guilt thrown her way and I completely understood how, by the end of the book, she was too tired to fight anymore, especially with her husband Ted.
If you do have children, this book might be an emotional read for you, but not in a bad way. As I read, I became much more aware of my children, and in fact, how vulnerable any person can be. If anything, it will make you notice more, make you appreciate the time you have with them and make you hold them that little bit closer.
A dark, intriguing read for the detective in you.