Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Review: Not Her Daughter by Rea Frey

Title: Not Her Daughter
Author: Rea Frey
Release Date: 8/21/18
Source: ARC from netgalley

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Gripping, emotional, and wire-taut, Not Her Daughter raises the question of what it means to be a mother—and how far someone will go to keep a child safe.

Emma 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?


What a whirlwind this story takes you on as you rehash the past and present from the views of two very different women regarding one sweet child.  
Sarah past formed her, a once ignored turned motherless child who finds herself in quite the conundrum when she witnesses another child going through what she thinks is an abusive parental relationship. Sarah only wants to help - but the only means she believes she has are illegal; taking the child away. 
Amy struggles as a mother, finding her place in the world and trying to do it all.  She doesn't have the mother daughter bond she expected with her daughter, she gets angry and agitated and at times seems irrational, but she loves her daughter, doesn't she? 
Emma is a sweet child, a child who's lost, who doesn't understand why her mother is mean to her, why she's not loved and taken care of the same as other children.  There's a deep struggle within Emma, and it's clear to see how different she is with Sarah than with Amy. 
This story brings up an unusual question:  Is it ever okay to kidnap a child?  Told in two main point of views, that of Amy and Sarah, and equal parts before, during, and after, we are given an extreme outlook on the situation.  The little pieces and how they fit together to lead up to this moment, this split second decision Sarah makes that not only affects her life, but also Amy's life and most importantly, sweet Emma's.  Not Her Daughter will take you on an emotional journey, one that leaves you wondering what is the right thing to do? As a mother, I don't think I could ever side with someone who took my child from me, but within these pages, reading the story and seeing it from all angles, I wasn't as prone to hold the actions against Sarah.  
With just the right amount of anxiety of what would come next, Not Her Daughter kept me hooked from page to page, my heart beating fast, my brain working hard to come up with what the answers were and should be.  This book really made me think and question so much.  

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