Friday, March 13, 2015

The Daughter - Jane Shemilt

The Daughter
Jane Shemilt
Morrow, Mar 3 2015, $14.99
ISBN: 9780062320476

In 2009 Bristol, England, doctors Ted the neurosurgeon and Jenny the family medical practitioner raise their three teenage offspring (seventeen years old twins Ed and Theo, and fifteen years old Naomi) in an affluent happy household.  To friends, neighbors and even Ted and Jenny, the five Malcolm’s have the perfect family. 

In her school’s production of West Side Story, Naomi stars as Maria.  Near the end of a successful run, one night after the curtain came down Naomi fails to come home.  The police searched for the missing teen without any success as she seemed to just vanish in thin air.  As the months pass with no news, the interrelationships between the Malcom family members implode.  Looking back at the traumatic pivotal moment after a year passed makes Jenny feel guilty for ignoring the signs of help her daughter sent to her and her husband.  This leads her to analyze what she knows about her other children and spouse from her Dorset cottage where she no longer resides with Ted, Ed and Theo.

The Daughter is a cautionary family drama that warns parents don’t become complacent wearing comfortable blinders when it comes to truly seeing family members especially your children.  Jenny is a memorable protagonist as she examines the signs she missed hidden behind a veneer of materialistic normalcy.  Enigmatic Naomi purposely remains somewhat in the shadows adding further fall-out tension to her mother’s already nuked existence.  The remaining three exist only in relation to the matriarch or the missing daughter.

Harriet Klausner

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