Not Her Daughter by Rea Frey



Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say:

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?

The Review: What a cracker of a book! This is the story of Emma, who is being dragged through life by a mother who’s tired of existing and very bitter with her lot. She has a beautiful daughter who she feels jealous of, she never had the looks or the confidence she sees she has. Enter Sarah. Sarah sees Emma being pulled along and snapped at by her mother. She sees a girl in a dirty dress with a dirty ribbon in her hair and then one day she sees her again and she sees the worst possible thing she can see (oh my word to when you see this day through the mother’s eyes later, it nearly killed me). Sarah is an everyday successful businessperson and is reminded of her own mother and childhood, which was one of sadness and a plan begins to come about.

To start on this book I’m going to take you to the end, where there is an excellent list of questions for book clubs and I found myself going through my own ideas in my head. Because it’s easy to pick a side and then shift, and then shift again. Some people will be more definite-Sarah was saving Emma, and Emma’s mother, Amy, didn’t deserve to have a child, but of course the beauty of this book is that there is no clear cut answer. Sarah has it black and white in her head, she’s the knight saving the princess, but it’s easy for her to think like this when she doesn’t know the daily ins and outs of having children.

I found Sarah to be very tunnel visioned  and focused and in some case deluded and I at times I wondered what other people thought reading this book, people without kids might have a different opinion to those with kids. I’ll keep my opinion to myself but I will say the ending was disappointing to me. I flew through the book with my heart thumping as we chased Sarah and Emma as they evaded the law, her family and work. We also looked into Sarah’s childhood giving us a glimpse of a woman that definitely had issues. What I loved more was the complexities of Amy (special mention for her initial reaction to Emma going which I thought was tragic and showed me who she really is) who I could easily relate to in parts yet feel horrendous regarding her thoughts in others, as she truly didn’t seem to know what being happy was and couldn’t realise what she had. The dynamics of their home life after Emma was gone was spellbinding, both in and outside the house. A special mention to the lovely Emma too, I really felt for her and all her reactions were so well done. I never knew before I had kids how much they react to the moment, how things are clear cut at that precise time-you either love them or are against them and that’s something Sarah would not have been au fait with. Actually I’m going to go, you don’t want my psychoanalysis-just my recommendation. Excellent book and very highly recommended and I look forward to reading the author’s work again . Thanks so much to St Martin’s Press for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

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