I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for a Review. Publication date: 21/7/18, 352 pages.
This story revolves around Emma Townsend, a 5 year old girl. She is a quiet, beaten-down child, largely down to her crass, uncaring mother, Amy. Amy has another child, Robbie, but has never bonded with her first born and seems to blame Emma for all of her failures, often abusing her verbally and sometimes physically.
The lives of Amy and Emma change course drastically when by chance, Sarah Walker witnesses their toxic relationship not once but twice. Sarah, a successful entrepreneur who has triumphed over her troubled childhood, immediately recognises parallels between Emma’s life and her own past.
Things escalate quickly and Sarah takes Emma from her back garden. Although knowing that what she is doing is wrong, she justifies her actions by convincing herself that she is saving Emma rather than kidnapping her. This is the first issue I have with this story. Sarah is an educated, level-headed business woman and I found it unrealistic that she would take such drastic, illegal measures. She would know what she was doing was wrong and I feel she would be able to separate her childhood from Emma’s situation.
I really enjoyed the way that the author alternated between Amy and Sarah’s viewpoint, as well as the timeline before / after the kidnapping. The ‘before’ chapter often gave me insight as to why the characters did certain things throughout the investigation.
Without giving away any spoilers, the ending left me feeling a deflated and disappointed. I felt that it was a little rushed, leaving a few loose ends in regards to Sarah’s ex boyfriend and her relationship with her own mother.
That being said, I did enjoy this book. It was captivating, unsettling and well-written. It made me think that we never know what is going on behind closed doors.
Whilst not perfect, I do think ‘Not Her Daughter’ is worth a read.