not her daughter by rea frey

rea frey

Sometimes, characters just do things that don’t make any sense.

RELEASE DATE: August 2018

DISCLAIMER: Novel sent via NetGallery in exchange for a honest review.

SYNOPSISEmma Townsend. Five years old. Gray eyes, brown hair. Missing since June. Emma is lonely. Living with her cruel mother and clueless father, Emma retreats into her own world of quiet and solitude. Sarah Walker. Successful entrepreneur. Broken-hearted. Kidnapper. Sarah has never seen a girl so precious as the gray-eyed child in a crowded airport terminal. When a second-chance encounter with Emma presents itself, Sarah takes her—far away from home. But if it’s to rescue a little girl from her damaging mother, is kidnapping wrong? Amy Townsend. Unhappy wife. Unfit mother. Unsure whether she wants her daughter back. 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?

REVIEW: I really enjoyed this novel. This novel helped break my near 6-month long break from books.

Enraptured by a little girl she sees on a business trip, the character of Sarah knows she needs to have this child in her life. Following an instinct in which she believes the child is being neglected, she starts to take an almost stalkerish approach to the girls day to day life – Sarah journeys from happenstance, to coincidence, to fate. She believes she has entered this child’s life to give her a better one. Enter, the plot of this book.

The characters are so richly developed. At the centre are two adults who couldn’t be more different – Sarah, an innovative company owner who created an empire from the ground up, with a rocky mother / daughter background that seemingly bleeds into every aspect of her current adult life. Next is Amy, a tired mother of two who hates the ‘perfection’ that is her daughter, jealous and sharp in all aspects of her life. When these two women collide, it’s little Emma at the centre that gets caught in the drama. Flipping back and forth between Amy’s and Sarah’s perspective, we get a full 180 view of the situation at hand, so no questions go unturned.

A gripping read, author Frey toes the line between what is socially right and what is morally right. Do we leave a child in an abusive environment because kidnapping is illegal? Or do we take the child onto our own, giving her a better life? Frey toes the line between these two questions in a way that doesn’t include mental illness (it’s not like character going crazy and kidnapping). What Frey does do that is examine the holes left by a rough childhood – does the absence of motherly love affect someone throughout the rest of their life? If you had the option of being a motherly figure to someone who needed it, would you? Is the child better off with you in their life or without you?

The two characters are well developed, but I do believe there was a lot of plot holes that didn’t get touched upon – some of which still have me scratching my head though my reading is long over. There are a LOT of questions about whether or not this is a fantastical story (Can someone that popular just steal a child? What about all of the friends and family who knew you weren’t pregnant or adopting? How do you explain the appearance of a child?). That to me was the only thing that continues to nag in the back of my mind.

Otherwise, a gripping debut. Happy reading.

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