Finished Not Her Daughter by Rea Frey. I received a copy for review.
Summary (from Goodreads):
“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.”
I love the premise of this novel: is it OK to kidnap a child if you know the child is being abused? It’s also explored in Gone Baby Gone, but this is handled differently. In this case, the reader always knows where Emma is. We know that she’s in good hands, and frankly, we aren’t upset that Sarah took her. Emma is always well cared for, and she’s definitely treated better.
The suspense in this story centers around the question of whether Sarah will get away with it. (Because, after all, how can you stay hidden in the modern age?)
This book is guaranteed to get people talking and examining the way we view everyone in this novel.
If you’re in a book club, I’d definitely pitch this one. There will be fantastic conversations.