Author: Jane Shemilt
Publisher: William Morrow
Type of book: Suspense, abduction, Gypsies/Travelers, clues, secrets, England, 2009-2011, family, cracks in a foundation, missing child
Year it was published: 2015
How well do you really know those you love?
Jenny loves her three teenage children and her husband, Ted, a celebrated neurosurgeon. She loves the way that, as a family, they always know each other's problems and don't keep secrets from each other.
But when her youngest child, fifteen-year-old Naomi, doesn't come home after her school play and a nationwide search for her begins, secrets previously kept from Jenny are revealed.
Naomi has vanished, leaving her family broken and her mother desperately searching for answers. But the traces Naomi's left behind reveal a very different girl to the one Jenny thought she'd raised. And the more she looks the more she learns that everyone she trusted has been keeping secrets.
How well does she really know her sons, her husband? How well did she know Naomi? If Jenny is going to find her, she'll have to first uncover the truth about the daughter she thought told her everything.
I feel that I didn't really get a chance to know any of the characters, and the things I do get to know are on a superficial level rather than in depth; Jenny is a controlling perfectionist who seems to make mistakes when it comes to her family and focuses more on appearances rather than the emerging cracks within the family. Her husband, Ted? I think, has his own secret which can be easily figured out and is a workaholic who also pays very little attention to the family. Jenny and Ted have three kids; twins Ed and Theo and a daughter, Naomi. Ed is a sullen and predictable teenage boy who longs for a connection but at the same time repels it; Theo is the twin who is artistic and is close to his mother, while Naomi is the youngest sister who is a budding actress but is also sullen and little by little shut out her family from her life.
I have no clue what the message should have been; you truly never know anyone?
The story is in first person narrative completely from the mother's-Jennifer's-point of view. It does travel back and forth from 2010/2011 to 2009 when the daughter Naomi vanished mysteriously. In my view, Jennifer wasn't a very reliable character and that somehow made it for an interesting read because one is questioning what she is right or wrong about. It was also pretty cool that she is the only the reader hangs out with rather than anyone else. However, the loose threads and the fact we didn't get to know the characters as well as I hoped added a layer of frustration for me because I wanted to see what Jennifer was right and wrong about when it came to her family.
About Jane Shemilt
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.
Follow Jane on Twitter, @janeshemilt.
Don't get me wrong; I enjoy reading books where I puzzle out the clues and try to figure out the author's message to the audience; but what I enjoy a lot more is a story that ties up all the loose ends and answers the ultimate questions as to the characters' motivations, which is something that the author failed to do in the book. The ending left me upset and angry because I didn't get any of my questions answered about the motivations, but prior to that, the author writes brilliantly, incorporating the everyday mundane into the story and making it very interesting. I honestly would have given the book five stars if it weren't for the characters' lack of motivations.
This is for TLC Book Tour
Jane’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, March 3rd: A Bookish Way of Life
Wednesday, March 4th: Kahakai Kitchen
Thursday, Marcy 5th: Read. Write. Repeat.
Friday, March 6th: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Tuesday, March 10th: My Book Retreat
Tuesday, March 10th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, March 11th: FictionZeal
Thursday, March 12th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Monday, March 16th: BoundbyWords
Tuesday, March 17th: A Bookworm’s World
Wednesday, March 18th: The Well-Read Redhead4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)