Publication date: March 3, 2015 by William Morrow
Source: Publisher for an honest review
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.
The premise of The Daughter is one that always gets me and I just couldn't pass it up. Jenny is a working mother who is trying to have it all -- the job as a doctor while being a wife and mother to three great teenagers. She has convinced herself that she has things mostly under control and is aware of everything of importance in her kids' lives. We all know where this is headed, right? Her fifteen year old daughter, Naomi, is very busy with a play and is tired and rarely around anymore, but things will get back to normal soon. This is the set up for Naomi's sudden disappearance. Every mother's worst nightmare.
I have to say that I was caught up in the story (nightmare) right away. Maybe it is because I have two teenage daughters and I could too easily imagine how I would feel in Jenny's position. The search for Naomi brings out all kinds of information about Naomi, her brothers and father that previously were either unknown, ignored or just overlooked by Jenny. There is a lot of time given to examining choices, mistakes made and the consequences to these.
The timeline goes back and forth between the days after Naomi's disappearance and a year later. I actually like the split timeline thing in books, so this didn't bother me. I don't want to give away too much, so I won't discuss the later timeline. I will say that I was a little surprised by the ending, but I wasn't disappointed or upset by it. I actually preferred it to some of the other possibilities. And with so much about this book, it made me stop and think. I think that the biggest thing I took away from this book was a reminder to pay attention to your family - even the mundane, boring stuff, because that is what makes up life. Don't try to convince yourself that you know people --- it would be better to have a conversation with them. It serves as a reminder to listen and actually hear what is being said. We are all just doing the best we can and we should understand that about ourselves and others.