Book Review: Daughter by Jane Shemilt

9781405915298Daughter by Jane Shemilt
Release Date: 28th August 2014
Publisher: Penguin
Buy: Paperback  Kindle
5 star



She used to tell me everything.

They have a picture. It’ll help.

But it doesn’t show the way her hair shines so brightly it looks like sheets of gold.

She has a tiny mole, just beneath her left eyebrow.

She smells very faintly of lemons.

She bites her nails.

She never cries.

She loves autumn, I wanted to tell them. She collects leaves, like a child does. She is just a child.



Naomi is still missing. Jenny is a mother on the brink of obsession. The Malcolm family is in pieces.

Is finding the truth about Naomi the only way to put them back together?

Or is the truth the thing that will finally tear them apart?


Mother Jenny Malcolm thinks that she has the perfect family/work/life balance. Yes, her job as a GP keeps her busy but her teenage twins, Ed and Theo and daughter Naomi are fine. She knows her children inside out; they would tell her if anything was wrong. Wouldn’t they??

It seems that Jenny doesn’t really know her children as well as she thinks when Naomi disappears from their lives on one seemingly normal night in November. As the hours since Naomi was last seen stretch into days, more and more secrets are discovered about the daughter that Jenny always thought ‘told her everything’. The story re-caps the days before the disappearance, the horrific time during and then takes us one year into the future to see how the lives of those around Naomi have changed in her absence.

I love a good crime thriller novel and I was hugely excited about reading Daughter. The synopsis grabbed me immediately and there is a quote from Tess Gerritsen on the cover, promising that Daughter is a novel you ‘won’t be able to put down’. Tess…you’re not wrong!
This story drew me in straight away and I will warn you now, it’s no simple abduction story. There’s so much more to it than that, as secret upon secret is revealed and before you know it absolutely nothing and no one are as they seem.
You are kept guessing right until the end as to what happens to Naomi and then just when you think you know what’s happening-BOOM-you’re wrong.
I found debut author Jane Shemilt’s writing to be superb. It’s amazing that this is her first novel as it could easily have been written by a hugely accomplished crime/thriller writer as this is truly impressive. She weaves the story in such a way that nothing is revealed (despite the switching between the actual time of the abduction and then twelve months later.) At first I wasn’t sure how this switching between time frames was going to work but Jane pulls it off brilliantly and crafts the perfect scenario so that you never fully know what’s going to happen or who to trust, even where Naomi is concerned.
I don’t want to reveal too much about this novel as it would be so easy to spill secrets, so I’m just going to end by saying that I am delighted to have discovered Jane Shemilt’s work and I predict that this novel is going to be huge. I’m hoping it will be Gone Girl type huge because it definitely deserves to be. It’s clever, thrilling and so, so addictive.


I’d like to say a massive thank you to Jessica Jackson at Penguin for sending me a copy of Daughter to read and review.


While working as a GP, Jane Shemilt completed a post graduate diploma in Creative Writing at Bristol university and went on to study for the M.A in Creative writing at Bath Spa, gaining both with distinction. She was shortlisted for the Janklow and Nesbitt award and the Lucy Cavendish fiction prize for Daughter, which is her first novel.

She and her husband, a Professor of Neurosurgery, have five children and live in Bristol.

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: Daughter by Jane Shemilt

  1. Love you blog, and might I ask who did the graphics for the cute pink shoes you use to rate?
    I’d love to have something to use to rate books and things for my own blog. It sounds like a really awesome or thrilling story. I’m interested to see how much the author actually reveals to the readers about Naomi and what happened. I’ll have to check it out, and I also wanted to let you know that I have nominated you for the Liebster award. ❤


    • Hello! Thank you SO MUCH for your lovely comment. It’s made my day & I really appreciate you taking the time to read my blog! I made the pink shoe rating graphic myself (only using Paint, I’m not very technical! 😉 ) Sorry to not be of more help.
      Thanks again (for the Liebster Award nomination too!)
      …And yes, do give Daughter a read if you get the chance. It’s brilliant!
      Holly xx


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