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Title: Not Her Daughter
Author: Rea Frey
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publish Date: August 21, 2018
Genre: Psychological Thriller
My Rating: 4/5
Gripping, emotional, and wire-taut, Not Her Daughter raises the question of what it means to be a mother—and how far someone will go to keep a child safe.
Emma Townsend. Five years old. Gray eyes, brown hair. Missing since June.
Emma is lonely. Living with her cruel mother and clueless father, Emma retreats into her own world of quiet and solitude.
Sarah Walker. Successful entrepreneur. Broken-hearted. Kidnapper.
Sarah has never seen a girl so precious as the gray-eyed child in a crowded airport terminal. When a second-chance encounter with Emma presents itself, Sarah takes her—far away from home. But if it’s to rescue a little girl from her damaging mother, is kidnapping wrong?
Amy Townsend. Unhappy wife. Unfit mother. Unsure whether she wants her daughter back.
Amy’s life is a string of disappointments, but her biggest issue is her inability to connect with her daughter. And now Emma is gone without a trace.
As Sarah and Emma avoid the nationwide hunt, they form an unshakeable bond. But what about Emma’s real mother, back at home?
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Emma is a five-year-old that lives a sad life. Her mother and father are less than perfect parents who don’t seem that interested in their daughter. When Sarah first encounters Emma, she has an immediate connection with the little girl because Sarah’s childhood was a bit sad and she often felt unwanted too. On a chance encounter, Sarah takes Emma. As the two avoid the nationwide search for Emma, they bond. However, Emma’s parents are back home wondering what happened to their child. Amy, Emma’s mother, is taking the worst of the suspicions and attacks on the family. To complicate matters, Amy is an unhappy wife and mother, and starts to question if she really wants her daughter to come back to them.
The story is told from both Sarah and Amy’s points of view. The story also alternates from before, during, and after the kidnapping. This was mostly fine, but there were a few times when the changing of timelines was confusing.
Not Her Daughter is fast-paced and compelling. I wasn’t sure how I wanted things to be resolved, but I wanted to keep reading to see how it would end. It’s sad to imagine a child growing up in an abusive household and feeling unwanted, but it’s near impossible to imagine a child living a safe life with a kidnapper. Basically, both Sarah and Amy were unstable, so I couldn’t really root for either one of them.
Overall, Not Her Daughter is a great debut novel. I would have enjoyed a little more resolution toward the end, but, then again, it’s nice to ponder a few things.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.