Review: Not Her Daughter by Rea Frey


Release date: August 21, 2018

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Genre: Mystery


Emma Grace Townsend. Five years old. Gray eyes. Brown hair. Missing since June.

Emma Townsend 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. Abandoned by her mother. Kidnapper.

Sarah has never seen a girl so precious as the gray-eyed child in a crowded airport terminal—and 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 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 she’s gone without a trace.

As Sarah and Emma avoid the nationwide hunt, they form an unshakeable bond. But her real mother is at home, waiting for her to return—and the longer the search for Emma continues, Amy is forced to question if she really wants her back.

Emotionally powerful 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.


Missing children storylines are nothing new in a mystery novel but Frey has managed to turn the idea on its head and come up with an angle that’s new and exciting. What if a child is taken from their family in order to keep them safe and not put them in any danger? What if their home life is so fraught with tension and abuse that being taken in by a total stranger is the best option for them? This book raised SO many questions, there was a depth of thought not often found in a mystery that made me think it would be absolutely perfect for a book club.

This switches back and forth between Amy and Sarah both Before, During, After and Now. The pacing is nice and steady, tension builds gradually and I was totally hooked almost instantly. It was so bizarre to be rooting for a kidnapper and not the grieving parents for once, but the difference in personalities between Sarah and Amy was so stark you can’t help but be pulling for little Emma and Sarah to get away and be happy.

This was a highly emotional read that completely sucked me in, I just had to know how things would turn out in the end. This did require me to suspend a little disbelief but I really wasn’t bothered by it, it fit with the story so well and ended exactly as it should have.

Not Her Daughter in three words: Evocative, New and Gripping.

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

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