Not Her Daughter
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?

Not Her Daughter Details

TitleNot Her Daughter
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 21st, 2018
PublisherSt. Martin's Griffin
Rating
GenreFiction, Mystery, Thriller, Mystery Thriller

Not Her Daughter Review

  • Deanna
    January 1, 1970
    My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr...As soon as I read the description of this novel, I knew it was one I had to read. I was pretty sure that I was going to love it.I was right.Sarah Walker has just gone through a tough break-up. She’s trying to get on with her life. Sarah is on her way to the airport for a business trip when she sees HER . A little girl, not more than five or six, stood in a red dress complete with sequins, a red bow, and even ruby-red slippe My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr...As soon as I read the description of this novel, I knew it was one I had to read. I was pretty sure that I was going to love it.I was right.Sarah Walker has just gone through a tough break-up. She’s trying to get on with her life. Sarah is on her way to the airport for a business trip when she sees HER . A little girl, not more than five or six, stood in a red dress complete with sequins, a red bow, and even ruby-red slippers. “She looked like Christmas”. Then she sees the girl’s mother. Face red with anger, she was yelling at her daughter “Emma hurry up”…”Emma stop it, just STOP” …”Emma, what is wrong with you”…”Emma.. GO!” Sarah watches openmouthed as the woman shoves the girl out of the way, yells at her husband, and then continues to yell at the girl. She feels like she’s the only one who notices this spectacle.It all takes her back to her own childhood, her own mother. Sarah remembers how she used to envy other girls when they were out with their mothers. She would see the tolerance, love, and patience on those mother’s faces, instead of the annoyance, exhaustion, and intolerance she saw on her own mother’s face….and what she sees now on this mother’s face. She knows that parents get stressed and being at the airport can make anyone overwhelmed and cranky… “I knew all of that, but seeing this outright act of cruelty for no apparent reason made me want to punch this woman in the face” Sarah can’t get the image of the woman pushing and pulling her daughter around out of her head. Weeks later, out on a project for work she sees Emma again. “The girl I first saw in the airport. The girl who rocketed back into my life when I was just starting to forget her”. It can’t be a coincidence…She knows she should just leave, but one question keeps hounding her “What if she needs to be rescued?” She can leave and go back to her normal life. She can make an anonymous call and hope this family gets the help they need. But then she sees something and she’s no longer thinking, the decision has been made and she’s acting on it.Amy Townsend is an unhappy wife and mother. Her life is ALWAYS the same …kids, work, cleaning, cooking, and errands. No matter how she tries to organize she is always behind.Amy doesn’t know why she’s able to keep her cool with her son but lashes out when it comes to her daughter, Emma. Every night she promises herself that the next day will go better. But it never does. Now Emma is gone and Amy hasn’t told the entire truth about what happened.Amy Townsend is definitely an unfit mother. Does she deserve a second chance? Does she even want one?The story is told from Sarah and Amy’s perspective and alternates between before, during, and after.This was a gripping read. I’ve read quite a few missing children books over the years and I found this one very unique. This was a well-written, quick read that was very easy to follow. There were a couple of things some readers may find unlikely, but it is a fictional story so instead of worrying about it, I just gave myself over to the story and enjoyed it.Rea Frey’s writing comes across very authentic and honest and she addresses some very important issues. I was completely invested in this story and anxious to see how things were going to turn out. I was almost holding my breath as I waited to see which direction the story was going to take. I was very satisfied with how everything came together in the end. This was a fantastic debut novel and I really hope Rea Frey is hard at work on her next novel... because I can’t wait for more!I'd like to thank St. Martin’s Griffin for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Christina - Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    2, this book has more plot holes than swiss cheese stars!!!I'll start this by saying I really, really wanted to like this book. When a novel with such high ratings falls totally and completely flat for me I get a bit nervous about leaving the lone bad review. However, it would be a disservice to rate this any more than the 2 stars it has warranted. Sarah: she's beautiful, thin and fit. She's incredibly successful, she created her own company, maintains long-term healthy relationships, self-descr 2, this book has more plot holes than swiss cheese stars!!!I'll start this by saying I really, really wanted to like this book. When a novel with such high ratings falls totally and completely flat for me I get a bit nervous about leaving the lone bad review. However, it would be a disservice to rate this any more than the 2 stars it has warranted. Sarah: she's beautiful, thin and fit. She's incredibly successful, she created her own company, maintains long-term healthy relationships, self-describes herself as not being needy or over-the-top. She's an "Anne Hathaway" look alike to boot (pre-casting our upcoming 'Major Motion Picture' are we Frey). Meet Emma's kidnapper. Amy: she's "fat, ruddy and gassy", she eats too much cheese and hates being a parent. She hates her husband, her monotonous life and everything in between. She is neglectful and resentful at best and borderline abusive at worst. She is the stark opposite to Sarah's "Mary-Sue", written to have literally not one redeeming quality. Meet Emma's biological mother.Emma: child of two ugly parents, one hateful and one neglectful, she is still somehow (of course) stunning and beautiful. She is a strong-willed and difficult child (but what children aren't sometimes). When Sarah sees Emma at an airport causing a scene, she also sees Amy's reaction and while it's overly aggressive and not appropriate it is not abusive. Fast forward a few months and Sarah sees Emma again by happenstance - she's playing alone in a sandbox where she's slinging a product her company distributes to schools for children. When Sarah sees Emma this second time, apparently everything Frey has led us to believe about Sarah short circuits and she swan dives in Olympic proportion into insanity. Sarah follows Emma home, pulls the good ol' Peeping Tom routine in her backyard and after an altercation between Amy and Emma (that while wholly wrong, again, is not evidence of prolonged abuse) she just plucks Emma from the only life she's known and goes on the lamb. The implausibility here compounded with the horrendous descriptors used for Amy's physical appearance lost the first 2 stars for me. When we are introduced to Sarah she's successfully running her own business, she's a literal workaholic and incredibly passionate about the life she's building for herself. However, she sees a beautiful child in an inarguably sub-par family and out of literally nowhere decides to commit a felony that could ruin everything she's worked for? I don't buy it. As every page turned my questions built one on top of the other until it felt like I was drowning in a sea of unrefined plot points that hadn't been fleshed out. The last star got knocked out of the park like the home-run in a baseball game that's gone into extra innings with that ending. If I thought this novel couldn't have gotten more implausible I was sorely mistaken. I won't spoil it for future readers, but the sheer impossibility of that scenario happening in 2018 (let alone any recent time period) is astounding. For all of the wasted attention to detail throughout a fairly quick read, it's shocking to see so little attention paid to the ending and final "twist". It's literally just thrown at the reader in the second to last chapter like a swift slap to the face. I don't see how Frey could spend such an inordinate amount of time describing how ugly and physically horrible Amy is and we're just given a grand total of 3 pages on the ending.My biggest disappointment in reading is when I feel a story has endless promise but doesn't deliver. This is the perfect example of that. I loved the idea of seeing the other side of kidnapping, seeing a child who really was dealt a bad hand end up with a good, loving and caring mother. All the pieces are there but Frey did not deliver a cohesive story. I completed this as a Traveling Sisters read and turns out I'm in a coulee all alone on this one. Most of the sisters rated this quite highly and really enjoyed the story but it was not mine to be had. I do think this book is riddled with discussion opportunities about different moral obligations and questions but the development into the characters and motives (or lack thereof) left me unimpressed here. Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martins Press for a copy of this ARC. Shoutout to Kristin for listening to my growing bewilderment as this story progressed .
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  • Crumb
    January 1, 1970
    It's time to do my happy dance, because I've just found another author to love!A kidnapping plot is nothing new; however, Rea Frey manages to excite and intrigue. Kid goes missing, search ensues, blah blah blah. Sound familiar? Well, rest assured because this book does not follow the typical road map that one might expect. Sarah is a lady Boss (bawse)! She is a CEO of TACK, a learning initiative program for children. Traveling to a location for work, she sees a child, Emma, getting mistreated by It's time to do my happy dance, because I've just found another author to love!A kidnapping plot is nothing new; however, Rea Frey manages to excite and intrigue. Kid goes missing, search ensues, blah blah blah. Sound familiar? Well, rest assured because this book does not follow the typical road map that one might expect. Sarah is a lady Boss (bawse)! She is a CEO of TACK, a learning initiative program for children. Traveling to a location for work, she sees a child, Emma, getting mistreated by her mother, Amy. Wanting to do something, but not quite knowing what, Sarah continues on to her flight. Several months pass and while visiting a school for Sarah's work, in a moment of pure serendipity, Sarah spots Emma. And this time, Sarah resolves to do something..I am always weary going into a book that has a kidnapping theme because it is so overdone. However, this novel tests moral boundaries. It begs you to reconsider your ethics, urging vigilantism it might seem. Sometimes, laws just don't work in every situation and this is a book exploring that idea. I found it riveting and completely engrossing. This novel might require you to suspend disbelief and so what? I thoroughly enjoyed this and I am anxiously anticipating what Rea Frey will offer next.Thank you to St. Martin's Press for providing me with an ARC in exchange for a review
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  • Berit☀️✨
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 Compellingly Complicated Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟💫WOW! You’ve got to love a book that makes you question everything! A book that blurs the line between right and wrong... good and bad... lies and truth... what makes a “good“ mother? Blood? Love? It is the hardest job you’ll ever do and yet no one teaches you how to be a mother... there is no class, no certification, unless you consider those eggs you had to carry around in high school and pretend were a baby... anybody else do this? Being a mother is the 4.5 Compellingly Complicated Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟💫WOW! You’ve got to love a book that makes you question everything! A book that blurs the line between right and wrong... good and bad... lies and truth... what makes a “good“ mother? Blood? Love? It is the hardest job you’ll ever do and yet no one teaches you how to be a mother... there is no class, no certification, unless you consider those eggs you had to carry around in high school and pretend were a baby... anybody else do this? Being a mother is the most important job you’ll ever do and yet it is all trial and error... and just because you are a woman doesn’t mean you are cut out for motherhood and there really should be no shame in that.... not everybody is cut out to be a dentist either and no one ever seems to shame you about that... but I digress....This is not your ordinary kidnapping story...Sarah is a strong single business woman who recently had her heartbroken... Amy is an overwhelms unhappy mother of two.... after two chance encounters with Amy and her beautiful five-year-old daughter Emma, Sarah is determined to “save“ Emma from her abusive situation... Sarah herself had a difficult childhood, a neglectful mother who eventually left her, and a father who never got over the mother who left.... so in “saving“ Emma, Sarah was really also saving herself.... but is doing something wrong ever right?This book was a crazy ride that had me questioning my ethics at every turn.... it made me keep asking myself, “what would I do in this situation?“ told from both Sarah and Amy‘s point of view... you really got a glimpse into both of these women’s lives.... I found this tremendously impactful, not everything about Amy was bad and not everything about Sarah was good.... so who would be the better mother to Emma? And is the better choice the right choice? So many important questions and no easy answers...This is Rea Frey’s fictional debut, and what a Way too make a splash into the book world! This is the kind of book that sucks you in from the very beginning and won’t let you go even after it is done, I am seriously still contemplating this book and it has been a few days... perfectly paste with extremely well drawn characters, I seriously think I would recognize Sarah and Amy if I saw them walking down the street... Color me impressed! And I cannot wait to see what we have coming next from this extremely talented author!Absolutely recommend whether you are a thriller lover or not, this was one of the most thought-provoking books I’ve read all year!*** many thanks to St. Martin’s Press for my copy of this book ***
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  • Rose (Traveling Sister)
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars for Not Her Daughter, a novel that presents a devastating moral dilemma that will have you speeding toward the end! Note: After a great discussion with the Traveling Sisters group, I've edited this review. Instead of rounding up to 4, I am rounding down to 3. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's for the ARC.“A shaky breath vibrates against my ribs. My ankle throbs. I blink and make my decision. I stand, every joint below my waist on fire. As though underwater, I whisper the two syll 3.5 stars for Not Her Daughter, a novel that presents a devastating moral dilemma that will have you speeding toward the end! Note: After a great discussion with the Traveling Sisters group, I've edited this review. Instead of rounding up to 4, I am rounding down to 3. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's for the ARC.“A shaky breath vibrates against my ribs. My ankle throbs. I blink and make my decision. I stand, every joint below my waist on fire. As though underwater, I whisper the two syllables from the trees.”Sarah is a young professional who owns a company devoted to children’s education. She’s recently broken up with the man she thought she would marry, which has left her lonely and somewhat scattered. She witnesses a mother abusing her daughter at the airport, which resonates with her deeply. By fate, Sarah stumbles across the same young girl, Emma, later as she tries to strike a business deal with the school she attends. “It’s then that I realize I know that cry. It hits me in a primal wave. The screams I heard are Emma’s screams.”Though she had hoped the incident at the airport was a one-off, a brief reflection of a frustrated mother, it becomes clear that Emma’s life is a never-ending battle. Her neglectful father (Richard) and abusive mother (Amy) are slaves to their vices, and they show no intention of changing. Sarah is faced with a monumental decision: provide this girl with a better life and become a criminal, or leave her to endure a miserable childhood. For Sarah, the driving factor is the absence of her own mother, who left without warning 25 years prior. She knows neglect, she knows abuse, and she knows there is something special about this little girl. “I just wanted to know the woman I should have already known but didn’t: I just wanted to covet what she coveted.”In saving Emma, Sarah is subconsciously saving herself, whether that be the 8 year-old left motherless or the 33 year-old workhorse. This is a challenging plot, and I applaud Rea Frey for being able to take something as unforgivable as kidnapping and make it seem, in some way, redeemable. “That’s what I’m going with: my intention to keep her safe. In spite of the facts, in spite of what I’ve done. Because it feels right. Being with Emma feels right. It’s the only thing I trust.”The narrative is split between Sarah (first person) and Amy (third person). As time goes on, we are led to understand each woman’s perspective, whether we agree with them or not. If a woman doesn’t want her child with every inch of her body and soul, does she deserve her? If a woman has perfect intentions with a child but goes beyond the law, does she deserve her?Unfortunately, the ending leaves quite a bit to be desired. While it was satisfying plot-wise, there were several logistical questions left unanswered. This didn't bother me so much at first, but a week later, my questions just keep growing. There's also quite a bit of body-shaming going on: Frey presents her protagonist as beautiful and fit, while her antagonist is heavy-set and homely. Regardless, I was swept away by Emma and Sarah’s relationship, and I think it's successful in its handling of mother-daughter dynamics.
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  • Mackenzie - Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    An emotional, gripping, suspenseful, tug-on-your-heartstrings book that will have you questioning everything you thought you knew about morality and doing what is right! This is not a run-of-the-mill kidnapping book. Rea Frey debuts with a slam-dunk novel about crossing lines, rethinking your own ethical boundaries, and leading with your heart instead of your head! This book is riveting and filled with heart—it’s a book I won’t soon forget!About the BookEmma Townsend is 5-years old with grey eye An emotional, gripping, suspenseful, tug-on-your-heartstrings book that will have you questioning everything you thought you knew about morality and doing what is right! This is not a run-of-the-mill kidnapping book. Rea Frey debuts with a slam-dunk novel about crossing lines, rethinking your own ethical boundaries, and leading with your heart instead of your head! This book is riveting and filled with heart—it’s a book I won’t soon forget!About the BookEmma Townsend is 5-years old with grey eyes, and is an exceptionally beautiful girl. But Emma lives her life without much love. Her mother takes out her anger on Emma all of the time, and her father is barely present, worrying and spending his time on her baby brother. One night Emma’s mother gets so angry, she leaves Emma out in the yard. And then Emma goes missing…Outwardly, Sarah Walker has it all—a successful business that she loves, and an amazing team of staff to support it. But Sarah also recently went through a break up with the love of her life, and is still working through some demons from her past. Sarah’s mother was emotionally abusive before abandoning her. Sarah is so filled with love to give, if only someone will be there to accept it.And then one night Emma Townsend fatefully enters Sarah’s life. And Sarah does exactly what her head tells her not to do—she takes Emma and runs.With a nationwide-search underway, Emma’s mother Amy questions whether she really wants Emma back. Maybe this is a chance at a new life? Meanwhile, Sarah must keep running if she’s going to save the most sought-after girl in the country. What will win, Sarah’s heart or her mind?ReflectionThis may sound like something you’ve read before, but it is anything but that. I went into this wanting to shame Sarah for what she did, because taking a child is firmly in the “wrong” category of morality. But when you read this, you will find yourself all sorts of confused! I questioned frequently how I decide what is wrong, when there are things wrong on both sides. I questioned how I would act in Sarah’s shoes, knowing what she lived through with her own mother and with a broken system in place to help kids in that situation. I questioned whether I am someone who always does what is “right”, because I was struggling to convince myself what right was.And let’s talk about Amy for a moment. Amy is such a fascinating character, because all of her internal unhappiness with her situation and life is projected into her appearance and the way she treats both herself and her children. You will want to judge Amy (and trust me, she deserves a lot of judgment), but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a bit for her as well. She’s terrible in many ways, but she also speaks to how hard being a mother can be sometimes. I don’t excuse Amy’s actions or thoughts, but I imagine being a mother to be one of the hardest jobs in the world. Amy is unfortunately someone who doesn’t want to be a mother. It doesn’t excuse the way she acts, or let her off the hook for her responsibilities, but Amy’s is an important story to tell. It is a story that highlights all of the challenges that come when you become a parent.It’s funny—I just started teaching an MBA course this semester on Decision Making. One of the concepts we talk about in the section on ethical decision making is the idea of moral obligation in decision making. In the classic Trolley Problem, the decision maker is faced with the decision to pull a lever on a trolley line to divert it. If it continues on it’s original track, it will kill 5 people. If the lever is pulled, it will switch tracks and kill one person. So the dilemma is, do you choose inaction and allow five people to die, or choose action and save five people, but kill one?I bring this up (not to get too psychological) because it is such an interesting parallel to this book. Does Sarah choose inaction and allow a child to be abused, or take action and kidnap a child away from her mother, saving her from abuse? Of course, there are many other options to take. But the point of this exercise is to say that acting in these scenarios is not clearly better or worse than inaction. Pulling the lever saves five lives, but makes you the cause of another death. Not acting when you could intervene is not any better though. What would you choose if you had the trolley lever? What would you choose if you were Sarah? Do we have a moral obligation to act when harm is coming to another person?Thank you to St. Martin's Press for an advanced copy to review.
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  • Mary Beth *Traveling Sister*
    January 1, 1970
    Emma decided to go into the woods and Amy, her mother, tells her I have told you so many times not to go into the woods. She tells her to get over here right now. It's time to go inside. Emma reaches for her- an apology, or a hug, and Amy lifts her right hand and strikes her daughter across the face, knocking her body into the dirt. Sarah Walker wants to make an anonymous phone call to the school and hopes to get this family some help. But she knows how hard it is for mothers to change. She sees Emma decided to go into the woods and Amy, her mother, tells her I have told you so many times not to go into the woods. She tells her to get over here right now. It's time to go inside. Emma reaches for her- an apology, or a hug, and Amy lifts her right hand and strikes her daughter across the face, knocking her body into the dirt. Sarah Walker wants to make an anonymous phone call to the school and hopes to get this family some help. But she knows how hard it is for mothers to change. She sees Emma in the woods and she takes Emma since her mother locked her daughter out of the house, and she was only 5 years old. She takes her away from her mother, her house and her life.Amy locked her daughter out of the house and thinks that Emma, five years old, is alone. Any can't find her daughter anywhere. She is gone without a trace. Amy thinks that since Emma ran away on purpose, she probably hiding in a place where the cops can't find her. She is a clever girl. Richard and Amy were just terrible parents. Sarah asks Emma, Do you want to go to the lake? Yes! Can we play in it, Emma, asks. Sarah tells her the same tale, Ethan told her, about the small fairies and lots of gold. Emma's eyes widened at the possibility of actual magic in the water. I did have some mixed feelings in the vetoing but after the beginning it turned out to be an emotional gripping read. It was a page turner and just loved some of the twists. I was so intrigued that I couldn't put it down. The characters were done so well. My favorite character was Emma. She was just adorable. She was five years old, grey eyes, and brown hair. She was so lonely. Her mother Amy was an unhappy wife, an unfit mother. Sarah Walker was a successful entrepreneur and broken hearted kidnapper. I loved the ending, and it ended just the way I wanted it too. This was a Traveling Sister Read and it was a great discussion and I enjoyed reading this with them.I want to thank NetGalley, St. Martin's and Rea Frey for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Melisa
    January 1, 1970
    An absolutely intense and ethically ambiguous tale, you will be questioning what you believe is right and wrong. Such a thin line here, so much questionable morality.When a 5 year old girl is kidnapped, is it actually what is best for her? Who is the judge of that? What is the line you will cross to protect a child?I was constantly on edge while reading this book (in a great way) – it made me beautifully uncomfortable and stirred up so much emotion. These two main characters are so well develope An absolutely intense and ethically ambiguous tale, you will be questioning what you believe is right and wrong. Such a thin line here, so much questionable morality.When a 5 year old girl is kidnapped, is it actually what is best for her? Who is the judge of that? What is the line you will cross to protect a child?I was constantly on edge while reading this book (in a great way) – it made me beautifully uncomfortable and stirred up so much emotion. These two main characters are so well developed – you truly will be immersed in their lives – and you will perhaps even have a very strong response to them as I did. And oh, poor sweet Emma. How I felt for this helpless child.There is so much to discuss here – right vs. wrong, morality, ethics. If you are looking for a great book club pick, look no further. Loads to discuss here.I’m thrilled to be able to read and review Rea Frey’s Not Her Daughter with my #6bookbesties as our first group pick. Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for our copies! This book is now available!
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  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    January 1, 1970
    All five stars to this original and captivating story! 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟I read Not Her Daughter as a group with Berit, Holly, Kendall, Mackenzie, and Melisa, and what a fun and engaging read this was to share. There is much to relate to in this book and much to think about…More than the typical suspense read. Emma is five-years old living with her mother, Amy, who is uncaring and hateful towards her, as well as her unobservant father who has no idea what happens in his own home, and her younger brother All five stars to this original and captivating story! 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟I read Not Her Daughter as a group with Berit, Holly, Kendall, Mackenzie, and Melisa, and what a fun and engaging read this was to share. There is much to relate to in this book and much to think about…More than the typical suspense read. Emma is five-years old living with her mother, Amy, who is uncaring and hateful towards her, as well as her unobservant father who has no idea what happens in his own home, and her younger brother who is preferred by Amy. Sarah is successful at work and with owning her business, but she has dark secrets of her own difficult upbringing. Shockingly, Sarah is a kidnapper. When Sarah notices Emma in the airport, she finds it hard to look away. Amy is in rare form picking at Emma at every turn, overcorrecting her, and physically hurting her. Haven’t we all witnessed something like this at one time or another? What would do you do, if anything? Sarah does not take Emma at the airport, but she cannot get the child off her mind…and when a second opportunity presents itself, she takes Emma and runs. The structure of the narrative is between past and present with the voices of Sarah, Amy, and later, Emma. Being privy to the thoughts from all narrators added to the empathy I felt for each character. There was not one right or wrong answer for me. There were shades of gray, and adults who grew up in challenging environments finding it hard to choose a different path in life. It is easy to judge Amy. All her faults are splattered all around her for the world to see, but when you look deeper into the narrative, she is a person out-of-control who cannot seem to stop the way her life is spinning. And while Sarah may look like the more caring type, she, too, has scars and is imperfect, and hello- she abducted a child! I appreciated the discussion we had in our group because thoughts arose around the ethics of what happened. Who was right? Who was wrong? What is best for Emma, and who decides that? Not Her Daughter is definitely a book you will want to discuss. And beyond that, Frey writes with precise intention. The narrative flows with tension building, and the story could not have been more original. A mass of kidnapping stories are out there, but Not Her Daughter turns a new page. Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for the ARC. All opinions are my own.
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  • Kendall
    January 1, 1970
    Happy Pub Day to this beauty!!!!! Put this one on your radar! You won't be disappointed!!! <3. Not Her Daughter is an emotionally gripping tale that explores parenting, child abduction, love, and loss. I really enjoyed Rea Frey's writing style... she easily grips her readers with an emotional story that leaves you hanging on until the end! Sarah is still heartbroken from her break up with former boyfriend Ethan. Sarah throws herself into her job to help ease the pain of the breakup. She trave Happy Pub Day to this beauty!!!!! Put this one on your radar! You won't be disappointed!!! <3. Not Her Daughter is an emotionally gripping tale that explores parenting, child abduction, love, and loss. I really enjoyed Rea Frey's writing style... she easily grips her readers with an emotional story that leaves you hanging on until the end! Sarah is still heartbroken from her break up with former boyfriend Ethan. Sarah throws herself into her job to help ease the pain of the breakup. She travels frequently for her job and one day she sees a family with a little girl in the airport. Sarah quickly feels for Emma as she sees her mother Amy dragging and pulling her through the airport. Amy on the other hand... is a mother that loses her patience very easily with her daughter Emma. Emma and Amy have a very strained relationship.... with Amy losing her temper very frequently. One day... Emma disappears without a trace... and the story unfolds with a dark yet beautiful emotional voice from Rea. I loved how the story alternated between Amy and Sarah's POV with "before", "during", and "after" Emma's disappearance/kidnapping. This was a gripping thriller that I really enjoyed. There were some aspects that were a tad bit unbelievable especially at the end. Characterization was strong in this novel. Rea did an amazing job portraying motherhood and the different struggles of being a mother from Amy's point of view and Sarah's. The story flows beautifully and the characters are interwoven beautifully through the lens of her readers. This is definitely an author to put on your radar and am looking forward to seeing what Rea comes out with next! :)Thank you so much Jordan, St. Martin's Press, and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for my honest review.Book Besties has a giveaway going on for this lovely book right now.... go hit up our instagram https://www.instagram.com/6bookbesties/4 strong stars!Publication date: 8/21/18Published to GR: 7/8/18.
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  • Norma * Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    NOT HER DAUGHTER by REA FREY is a compelling, heartbreaking, and conflicting domestic suspense novel that is not your typical child kidnapping story but rather focuses on the moral ramifications around motherhood. This story definitely had me conflicted and questioning almost everything that happened throughout this book. I was immediately drawn into this story and it had me feeling quite uneasy multiple times when the suspense was high. However, some parts didn’t pull me in as much as others th NOT HER DAUGHTER by REA FREY is a compelling, heartbreaking, and conflicting domestic suspense novel that is not your typical child kidnapping story but rather focuses on the moral ramifications around motherhood. This story definitely had me conflicted and questioning almost everything that happened throughout this book. I was immediately drawn into this story and it had me feeling quite uneasy multiple times when the suspense was high. However, some parts didn’t pull me in as much as others though. But I will say though that I was emotionally invested in the well-being of this adorable little girl, Emma and my heart went out to her. REA FREY delivers an intriguing, suspenseful, entertaining, and enjoyable read here that was told from the perspectives of Amy and Sarah in a before, during, and after the kidnapping timeline. I really enjoyed how this story was delivered and gave me a good sense into each of these women’s personalities and their motivations. I didn’t know who I should be rooting for! Is there such a thing as a “good” kidnapping?Publishing Date: August 21, 2018 Norma’s Stats: Cover: Eye-catching and an extremely fitting representation to storyline.Title: Drew me in instantly & perfectly ties into plot.Writing/Prose: well-written, readable, straightforward Plot: Might require to suspend a little disbelief, but that never bothers me though. Ending: Maybe a little unrealistic but fit the story well and ended just the way I wanted it to. Why 3.5 Stars?: There were some aspects to this story with a way that a character was portrayed that didn’t sit well with me and therefore interfered a little bit with my overall enjoyment towards this novel. And I found some areas much more engrossing than others. Overall: A very good read! Would recommend to thriller fans looking for a unique approach to your usual kidnapping story.Thank you so much to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Rea Frey for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of the book in exchange for a review!
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  • (Bern) Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 "What Would You Do?" Stars for Rea Frey's Not Her Daughter.The beginning of the book pulled me in immediately. I devoured the first 60-70% of the story. Emma Townsend is a beautiful, precocious 5 year old girl with a cruel, unhappy and abusive mother and detached father. Sarah Walker is a successful, self-made business woman. On one of her business trips she comes across the Townsend family. It is apparent they are a dysfunctional, unhappy family and Sarah immediately feels strong emotions 3.5 "What Would You Do?" Stars for Rea Frey's Not Her Daughter.The beginning of the book pulled me in immediately. I devoured the first 60-70% of the story. Emma Townsend is a beautiful, precocious 5 year old girl with a cruel, unhappy and abusive mother and detached father. Sarah Walker is a successful, self-made business woman. On one of her business trips she comes across the Townsend family. It is apparent they are a dysfunctional, unhappy family and Sarah immediately feels strong emotions for Emma, who is unfortunately on the receiving end of all her mother, Amy's, unhappiness. Had fate not intervened and brought Emma back into Sarah's life months later, she may have remained a sad memory, forgotten after awhile. When Sarah finds herself back in the presence of this little girl - she simply can't ignore it. It must be a sign! She is meant to rescue Emma! Sarah makes a bold (& somewhat unbelievable choice) to kidnap Emma. Sarah's choice may have been extreme but it was definitely borne out of her own childhood. While, I had to certainly suspend believe here I was initially able to do so. The relationship between Emma and Susan was heartwarming. My momma heart was happy that this little girl was finally getting some positivity, love and nurturing. Even if it was in this outlandish, crazy way. Unfortunately, there were a few things in the last 30% of the book that just didn't jive with me. Even in a work of fiction, I just can't suspend ALL belief. Things just kept getting more and more unplausible and I had a problem with it. The following might be a bit spoilerish so please proceed with that knowledge:The first thing that really bothered me (that was just beyond suspending my belief) was the entire section of the book with Ryan and his son Charlie. They meet at a park, he helps her find Emma, they have dinner together and he invites her to stay at his house & she accepts! What?! They end up staying with them for awhile and she even leaves Emma alone with him. That was bizarre, unsafe and I just didn't even see the point of having any of that in the book. The second thing that I had a hard time accepting was the ending. I know many readers who loved it. While I found it to be a happy ending for Emma, it was just so unbelievable. Putting aside the fact that there had been a manhunt for Sarah & Emma, I couldn't believe that Amy who up till this point had been described as angry, resentful and honestly in mind jealous of her own daughter would simply allow for everything to end the way it did. She didn't strike me as the type who would sacrifice herself, as the prime suspect, for her daughter's happiness. Overall, I did enjoyed a good bulk of the book. The part with Ryan was unnecessary and could have easily been cut out and it would not have affected the book at all. I honestly think it would have been better without it. The ending though - I would have liked to see it play out differently. I think Frey tried to tie things up, hastily, into a happy ending and the result fell a little flat for me. Thank you to Rea Frey, St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Debra
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsI could not put this book down! I seriously sat and read this in one sitting."Emma Grace Townsend. Five years old. Gray eyes. Brown hair. Missing since June."Sarah is still reeling after a painful breakup with her longtime boyfriend, Ethan. She has thrown herself into her work and while traveling for business observes a family in an airport. Immediately she feels for young Emma who is being pushed and pulled through the airport by her Mother. Seeing this young girl, takes Sarah back to 4.5 starsI could not put this book down! I seriously sat and read this in one sitting."Emma Grace Townsend. Five years old. Gray eyes. Brown hair. Missing since June."Sarah is still reeling after a painful breakup with her longtime boyfriend, Ethan. She has thrown herself into her work and while traveling for business observes a family in an airport. Immediately she feels for young Emma who is being pushed and pulled through the airport by her Mother. Seeing this young girl, takes Sarah back to her childhood. Sarah's Mother wanted to be an actress. She wasn't the most involved or caring mothers and then one day she was gone with no goodbye or reason for leaving. Amy is an unhappily married mother of two who does not have any patience for her daughter. She loses her temper frequently and well, I let you read the book to learn the rest.I enjoyed reading the POV chapters of both Sarah and Amy. We learn their thoughts and emotions during the "before", "during" and "after" sections of the book. I wished there had been a POV chapter of Emma as well. This is a book that deals with some BIG issues such as Child Abuse and kidnapping. 4.5 stars because it sucked me in and I was instantly attached to the characters and their plight. Would the world ever learn just how crappy a Mother Amy was? Would Sarah ever get caught? Why had no one in their community or at Emma's school noticed anything was wrong? Who was Emma safer with? Who was a better "Mother" to her? Who did Emma want to be with?This was a fast read for me. Everything in this book flowed nicely - nothing felt drawn out or rushed. It was well written and stirs the emotions of the reader. Some parts of the book may be difficult for some to read. It is not easy to read about a child being mistreated. Plus, most readers are going to want to shake both women at different times for their poor judgement. Sarah is obviously much more likable than Amy, but she does make some poor decision along the way. Then there is Amy who was no likable at all.This is a book which is both heavy and light at the same time. Heavy when dealing with abuse and kidnapping but light when Emma is having fun and being cared for. Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.See more of my reviews at www.openbookpost.com
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  • Carrie
    January 1, 1970
    Could there be something such as a good kidnapping? That’s the question you will be asking yourself while reading Not Her Daughter by Rea Frey. This story is more of a suspense read than a thriller as you know from the beginning what is going on and it’s a matter of waiting it out to see just how it will all turn out.At the beginning of the book Sarah Walker seems to have abducted a little girl named Emma and as the story unfolds in the current timeline it will also go back and show what led to Could there be something such as a good kidnapping? That’s the question you will be asking yourself while reading Not Her Daughter by Rea Frey. This story is more of a suspense read than a thriller as you know from the beginning what is going on and it’s a matter of waiting it out to see just how it will all turn out.At the beginning of the book Sarah Walker seems to have abducted a little girl named Emma and as the story unfolds in the current timeline it will also go back and show what led to Sarah doing what she did. You see, Sarah feels what she is doing is her only choice and that Emma desperately needs her to do it.Going back we find that maybe Sarah wasn’t in the perfect state of mind having gone through a break up with a man she saw herself marrying and starting a family with. But what brought Sarah and Emma together were a set of chance encounters in which she witnesses Emma’s abusive mother.Going into this one I saw a few reviewers call this one implausible, but I have to ask why? What is so far fetched to think that one woman sees a beautiful child and goes to extremes to keep that child from pain and suffering? Children go missing every day so are we all so jaded as to believe that one child out there might be better off and more the victim before they were taken than after?We all hear the horror stories of what could happen in a home of that nature and Sarah connected and saw something in Emma that she lives with in herself. I could not only see it happening but I had a mental debate with myself the entire story in how I would want it to turn out. The story is quite compelling and changes the point of view between Sarah and Emma’s mother so you get to see both sides unfold in the past and present. In the end I would give this one 4.5 stars and recommend checking it out if you want to read a truly thought provoking and compelling story.I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.For more review please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/
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  • Marialyce
    January 1, 1970
    When ethics, morality and the law converge, there is sometimes a clash, a loud trumpeting of values, of doing what's right, of defeating the obvious and embracing the integrity of feelings, wishes and desires. Can one reconcile doing what is right and yet break the laws of man and morals?We have all been taught that children belong with their parents, especially the mother. Legalities aside, we are told, a child's needs are best fulfilled by the mother. It is the mother who nurtures, who coddles When ethics, morality and the law converge, there is sometimes a clash, a loud trumpeting of values, of doing what's right, of defeating the obvious and embracing the integrity of feelings, wishes and desires. Can one reconcile doing what is right and yet break the laws of man and morals?We have all been taught that children belong with their parents, especially the mother. Legalities aside, we are told, a child's needs are best fulfilled by the mother. It is the mother who nurtures, who coddles, who loves, who provides that sustenance that is so needed for a child's development and well being. But, what if the mother is not a nurturer, is not a loving kind provider, is not a port for the child to feel loved and comforted, is not a provider of the basic needs of a child. What then should be done? What if this mother only administers hurt, either in words or actions? What if this mother exhibits hate? Emma, is a sad young child. She is lonely, mistreated at home, ignored by her father, bereft of the love of a parent, immersed in a life of pain and hurt. Sarah Walker is a young woman, a woman who crosses paths with Emma and sees the inner child. She sees the hurt, she sees the neglect, she is a witness to the suffering. She can't let it go on can she? What is Sarah to do? She acts and then is a kidnapper. There is the mother who lacks the ability to see really see her child. Amy only sees her past, a road of disappointment, a path of failures, that have molded her into what she is, an abusive parent. When Emma goes missing, she is not even sure she wants her back. Should she get her child back and should the fact that Sarah is a lawbreaker, a felon if found and convicted, be the determining factor in Emma's well being? Are all women destined to be mothers?There were many complex factors presented in the story. It was an ethical and moral quagmire that really had little solution other than that the life of a child is worth everything. I enjoyed this story for all the aforementioned reasons, however, there were some issues that I had and for a moment I am concerned with those. Why was it that the school, the teachers, the administrators did not notice the marks and bruises on Emma? How did they not see the emotional abuse suffered by this child who was so reticent to be a part of her school community? The school community is required by law to report suspected abuse. Teachers, administrators are trained to be excellent witnesses to the signs of abuse and yet in this story the school was absent. The ending of the story leaves more questions than ever as we see an ending that we might have hoped would occur and yet it is its abruptness that is unnerving. Would life really be like this or is it an illusion that safety and happiness can be achieved when one is hiding a very deep dark secret? But...this could never happen right? or could it?Thank you to Rea Frey, St Martin's Press, and NetGalley for providing a copy of this thought provoking novel. One can imagine many discussions revolving around this topic.Thank you as well to The Traveling Sisters group who read this story with me. We had a wonderful discussion about this book and as always it was enlightening and worthwhile.My reviews can be seen here: https://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpres...
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  • Holly B
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 STARS I was desperate to finish this motherhood mystery which explores good mom vs. bad mom... This is not a typical missing child story, it delivers a moral dilemma concerning motherhood and had me questioning what was right or wrong throughout the entire book. It was at times unsettling and the suspense had me holding my breath more than once! And yes! I needed to discuss this with someone.I've read several domestic suspense books this year with a "motherhood" theme and this one stands out 4.5 STARS I was desperate to finish this motherhood mystery which explores good mom vs. bad mom... This is not a typical missing child story, it delivers a moral dilemma concerning motherhood and had me questioning what was right or wrong throughout the entire book. It was at times unsettling and the suspense had me holding my breath more than once! And yes! I needed to discuss this with someone.I've read several domestic suspense books this year with a "motherhood" theme and this one stands out because I was so emotionally invested in the characters and my heart was definitely stirred ( I actually wanted to pray for a few of the characters). This is a sign of first rate writing in my opinion. I kept asking myself, "Am I rooting for the right mother"? Definitely had my emotions in a tangled up knot !  Could a kidnapping save a life? What would others do? What should be done? Does a wrong ever equal a right?The POV is told through the two mothers, Amy and Sarah.  I loved how the author gave each one a voice and allowed me as a reader to see and feel what they were experiencing.  We also get glimpses of the timeline through "before" "during" and "after" the actual kidnapping.  The book deals with weighty themes, but is also filled with light, heartfelt moments. The little girl, Emma was an absolute shining star.If you're looking for a fast-paced, compelling story that may have you questioning every decision that is made, give this one a try.  I enjoyed this emotional road trip from the beginning to the unexpected final stop!Thanks to the publisher for my advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.This review will post to my blog on the publication day August 21, 2018. https://dressedtoread.com/
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  • Jonetta
    January 1, 1970
    Sarah Walker is a successful business owner, still recovering from a failed relationship, but seemingly healthy in all respects. While on a business trip, she witnesses a disturbing scene between a mother and her young daughter at an airport. It’s clear the mother is frazzled but not enough to excuse her treatment of the little girl in the red dress, hair bow and shoes. Not long after, Sarah discovers the little girl again during a trip to a Montessori school to pitch business and follows her ho Sarah Walker is a successful business owner, still recovering from a failed relationship, but seemingly healthy in all respects. While on a business trip, she witnesses a disturbing scene between a mother and her young daughter at an airport. It’s clear the mother is frazzled but not enough to excuse her treatment of the little girl in the red dress, hair bow and shoes. Not long after, Sarah discovers the little girl again during a trip to a Montessori school to pitch business and follows her home, just to make certain her life is better than what she first witnessed. Unfortunately, it’s not and Sarah and 5-year old Emma both make a decision that permanently alters their lives and that of many others.I began this story knowing that Sarah takes Emma but couldn’t believe there would be any circumstances where I would condone her actions. Incredibly, I found myself rooting for Sarah and Emma but also felt compassion for Amy, Emma’s mother, despite her horrible parenting. There are a host of issues presented in this story, none of them explored in any real depth but enough to stimulate thought provoking inquiry. You see society passing harsher judgment on the mothers in this story while the enabling fathers seem to get a pass. The story provides quite a bit of background on both Sarah and Amy, providing some insights and contrasts into and between the two women. This was a Traveling Friends group book selection that generated a robust discussion, raising some provocative points of view I hadn’t considered. One dealt with how tough women are on other women as parents, maybe reflecting their own insecurities. While the ending left a lot of dangling resolutions, I enjoyed the book for challenging paradigms about parenting, child abductions and female/male stereotypes. It doesn’t provide a lot of answers but it made me think and left me to my imagination about the story’s outcome. (I received an advance copy from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review)
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  • Esil
    January 1, 1970
    I am a serious outlier on this one. Not Her Daughter had me riveted and reading at breakneck speed, but not because I enjoyed it but because I couldn’t quite believe what I was reading. This is yet another child abduction psychological thriller. The twist in this case is that Sarah abducts 5 year old Emma because she is concerned that Emma is being abused by her mother Amy. The story opens with the abduction, and is told from the points of view of both Sarah and Amy at different points in time. I am a serious outlier on this one. Not Her Daughter had me riveted and reading at breakneck speed, but not because I enjoyed it but because I couldn’t quite believe what I was reading. This is yet another child abduction psychological thriller. The twist in this case is that Sarah abducts 5 year old Emma because she is concerned that Emma is being abused by her mother Amy. The story opens with the abduction, and is told from the points of view of both Sarah and Amy at different points in time. I don’t object as a matter of principle to this odd sub genre of psychological thrillers. In fact, I’ve enjoyed a few including What Was Mine and a few others I listed in this review of What She Knew https://www.goodreads.com/review/show.... But in this case I just couldn’t suspend disbelief and found myself shaking my head over and over. A few issues in no particular order:-The characters — including their motivations and actions — just didn’t ring true. For example, while Sarah’s decision to abduct Emma is completely nutso, she is far too perfect in how she treats Emma. Also, no 5 year old would behave that perfectly after being abducted no matter how dysfunctional the original family. -There were a few glaring logistical inconsistencies in the plot. For example, Sarah emphasizes that she can only pay for things with cash, but at one point rents an AirBNB apartment online.-There were too many weird plot threads, including why things didn’t work out with Sarah’s ex, the over the top success of Sarah’s business and Amy’s exploration of prior lives through some kind of hypnotherapy.-And the ending! Good grief! It leaves so many questions unanswered...Again, my objections to this one are not on moral grounds. I just found the story to be one hot mess.But I’m an outlier. So don’t listen to me...Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.
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  • Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
    January 1, 1970
    EXCERPT: "Where's my mommy?" She whispers, so that I have to lean in to hear. "She’s. . ." I hear the question and consider my answers. Her mother is at home. Her mother is searching. Her mother had her chance. ABOUT THIS BOOK: 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 EXCERPT: "Where's my mommy?" She whispers, so that I have to lean in to hear. "She’s. . ." I hear the question and consider my answers. Her mother is at home. Her mother is searching. Her mother had her chance. ABOUT THIS BOOK: 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?MY THOUGHTS: Once I had started Not Her Daughter by Rea Frey, I didn't want to do anything other than read this book. I did not want to go to work. I didn't want to talk to anyone. I just wanted to read. Usually I take my book to work and read at lunch time. But I didn't dare do that because I knew that when it came time to start work again, I would have allowed myself 'just one more page', and then another, and another . . . you know how it goes! I would have still been reading when it was time to go home, and would have accomplished nothing for the day. It was a very long day, and I felt naked without my book. Rea Frey knows how to write. She had me captivated from beginning to end. There was one point, just prior to the end of the book ,where I just froze. Stopped reading. Stopped breathing. And just let the tears flow. The story is told from Sarah's and Amy’s points of view and alternates between before, during, and after Emma goes missing. And there the similarity to any other book I have ever read ends. This is a fresh and novel approach to the 'missing child' story. It is beautifully written and raises a lot of good questions about the ability and suitability of some people to be a parent. Not Her Daughter is riveting and compelling. A book that I wanted to get to the end of to find out what happened, a story I wanted never to end. I had questions at the end, but I decided that, in the interest of a great story, they just weren't that important. Thanks for the great read Rea Frey, and I am pleased to see that you are busy at work on your next book, for which I will be first in line. THE AUTHOR: Rea Frey is the author of four nonfiction books. Her debut novel, NOT HER DAUGHTER, will be released by St. Martin’s Press August 21, 2018. When she’s not exercising, mothering, adulting, wifing, eating, or writing about herself in the third person, you can find her hard at work on her next book and ghostwriting for other people. Read more at reafrey.com.DISCLOSURE: Thank you to St Martin's Press, St Martin's Griffin via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Not Her Daughter by Rea Frey for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my blog sandysbookaday.wordpress.com https://sandysbookaday.wordpress.com/...
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  • Lindsay - Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 stars. Too much implausibility for me.A five-year-old girl goes missing. A broken family with many hidden secrets. A highly successful young business woman with a weight on her conscience. This book had so much potential, however, the storyline just didn’t add up.The novel started off strong and I enjoyed the writing and narrative flow. I really liked the way the dual narratives were broken down into ‘Before’, ‘During’ and ‘After’ – it kept the story fresh and intriguing. However, once I sta 2.5 stars. Too much implausibility for me.A five-year-old girl goes missing. A broken family with many hidden secrets. A highly successful young business woman with a weight on her conscience. This book had so much potential, however, the storyline just didn’t add up.The novel started off strong and I enjoyed the writing and narrative flow. I really liked the way the dual narratives were broken down into ‘Before’, ‘During’ and ‘After’ – it kept the story fresh and intriguing. However, once I started to taste the sense of implausibility in the plotline, I just couldn’t snap out of it and my enjoyment faded. After the halfway point, it seemed to be a downward slope into eye-rolling territory. This was a Traveling Sister read. A wide variety of feelings on this one which lead to some intense and wonderful discussion. Myself and a couple other Traveling Sisters are definitely the outliers with our lack of love for this book. I highly recommend checking out the many raving reviews for this novel. Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Rea Frey for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!Not Her Daughter is available now!
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  • Jan
    January 1, 1970
    This is a really good read, as long as you are okay suspending belief. Too many elements of the story were glossed over in order to 'make it work', but of course in real life it would never happen as it plays out in the book.Sarah Walker is not your typical kidnapper...While traveling for her successful business, Sarah sees Emma, the beautiful gray-eyed child who seems like a forgotten piece of luggage to her mother and father. When Sarah has a second encounter with Emma and sees the continued n This is a really good read, as long as you are okay suspending belief. Too many elements of the story were glossed over in order to 'make it work', but of course in real life it would never happen as it plays out in the book.Sarah Walker is not your typical kidnapper...While traveling for her successful business, Sarah sees Emma, the beautiful gray-eyed child who seems like a forgotten piece of luggage to her mother and father. When Sarah has a second encounter with Emma and sees the continued neglect she is subjected to, she makes a rash decision and takes her. Takes her away from the only family she knows, into a life where she can be nurtured and loved.Amy Townsend is not your typical loving mother...She hates everything about her life. Anger bubbles just below the surface and it doesn't take much to make it rise and explode. Emma bears the brunt of this anger. Every day Amy thinks she will be a better mother, and every day she fails. Then Emma is gone, and Amy has to face the fact that she's more worried about what will be uncovered about her parenting skills over the welfare of her daughter. She's not even sure if she wants Emma back if she is found. While I hated Amy's character and all that she stood for, she is actually the glue that held this book together for me. I think Frey did an outstanding job of exposing the dark inner thoughts of this woman and her struggles to come to terms with who she is...even if it's at the expense of her daughter.The ending was a bit too pat for me, but overall this is a great piece of fiction that I highly recommend.ARC provided by NetGalley
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  • Babydimps (Suzy)
    January 1, 1970
    4 stars! If there was ever such a thing as a “good” kidnapping this would be it! While morals and ethics were definitely in play here, I truly enjoyed reading Not Her Daughter by Rea Frey. We all know the kidnapping theme is WAY overdone. We’ve all read tons of books on the subject. Not this time. This kidnapping story is very different. Sarah is a CEO and a well respected woman to those that know her. Amy is a mom - an unfit, physically, verbally and mentally abusive mom who is overwhelmed by b 4 stars! If there was ever such a thing as a “good” kidnapping this would be it! While morals and ethics were definitely in play here, I truly enjoyed reading Not Her Daughter by Rea Frey. We all know the kidnapping theme is WAY overdone. We’ve all read tons of books on the subject. Not this time. This kidnapping story is very different. Sarah is a CEO and a well respected woman to those that know her. Amy is a mom - an unfit, physically, verbally and mentally abusive mom who is overwhelmed by being a parent to five year old Emma and her baby brother Robbie. These two women do not know each other, but a chance encounter of Sarah witnessing the abuse Amy inflicts towards her daughter Emma puts a plan into action. A very risky, illegal plan that could cost her everything she’s worked for in life. The story is told in alternating POV’s by Sarah and Amy in a “before”, “during” and “after” the kidnapping format. I was a really big fan of that idea - it really helped the flow of the book and shed light on situations surrounding the kidnapping. Although some parts - mainly the ending (which I really liked) - were unrealistic, the book grabbed me from the start and didn’t let go! I highly recommend to anyone looking to dive into a good domestic suspense. I love Frey’s writing style and look forward to seeing what’s coming up next from her. I read this with a few of my Traveling Sisters! This was such a fun and exciting book to discuss. 💙😊Thanks so much to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Rea Frey for a copy in exchange for my review.
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  • Felicia
    January 1, 1970
    How far would you go to protect an abused child? What an incredible book.Five ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ gigantical stars(yes, that's a word 😉)Was she kidnapped or was she rescued? Not my Daughter is the debut novel by Rea Frey and is told in first person in alternating chapters between the mother and the kidnapper, moving between the past and the present seamlessly. Both characters are so relatable...yes, even the abusive mother. An emotionally charged story that had me turning the pages at a frantic rate. Easily o How far would you go to protect an abused child? What an incredible book.Five ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ gigantical stars(yes, that's a word 😉)Was she kidnapped or was she rescued? Not my Daughter is the debut novel by Rea Frey and is told in first person in alternating chapters between the mother and the kidnapper, moving between the past and the present seamlessly. Both characters are so relatable...yes, even the abusive mother. An emotionally charged story that had me turning the pages at a frantic rate. Easily one of the best books I've read this year.I was provided an ARC of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • NZLisaM
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 Stars Rounded Down!I must take a moment to admire the beautiful cover photography. Stunning!Apologies in advance, because my thoughts are all over the place on this one. Upon finishing, I’m left with so many mixed emotions. I firmly believe that both women were in the wrong – I can neither condone kidnapping nor do I tolerate child abuse. Amy (Emma’s mother) – She is a bitter, angry, bully, who is deeply unsatisfied with her lot in life, and blames others (especially her husband and daughter 4.5 Stars Rounded Down!I must take a moment to admire the beautiful cover photography. Stunning!Apologies in advance, because my thoughts are all over the place on this one. Upon finishing, I’m left with so many mixed emotions. I firmly believe that both women were in the wrong – I can neither condone kidnapping nor do I tolerate child abuse. Amy (Emma’s mother) – She is a bitter, angry, bully, who is deeply unsatisfied with her lot in life, and blames others (especially her husband and daughter) for what she sees as a miserable existence, with an equally depressing future. There were moments when I felt sorry for her. It’s hard not to, when someone hates herself so much she attends past life regression therapy sessions in the hope of discovering that she was a better person in a past life. But she is a child abuser, a person who physically and mentally tortures her own daughter. A cruel woman, who relishes punishing Emma. Sarah (Emma’s kidnapper) – She naively believes that kidnapping is okay in her case, because she is not harming Emma. Sorry, but I disagree. There were parts of the story where hiding out, and being on the run, were very traumatic for Emma. I think what Sarah did was not only illegal, but incredibly selfish – you can’t just steal someone else’s child because you think you are a better parent. At times I did not believe she had Emma’s best interests at heart, rather she was lonely over a romantic breakup, affected by her own mother abandoning her as a child, and that a part of her took Emma to fill a void in her own life. There were other avenues she could’ve taken instead, such as reporting the abuse to the proper authorities. Let’s face it, it’s not like Amy tried to hide her atrocious behaviour – the first time Sarah encountered the family, and noticed the abuse, was in a public place. And what about Emma’s father? Did he deserve to have his child stolen from him?It’s a tear-your-hair-out, scream-with-frustration, moral dilemma though, because even as I’m writing that I don’t agree with Sarah’s actions, I one hundred percent believe that she did genuinely care for, and love Emma, and she definitely treated her a lot better than any of the other adults in the young girl’s life. Realising just how many normal everyday childhood pleasures Emma had been deprived of due to her parents neglect and lack of interest broke my heart. Witnessing her awe and wonder as she experienced them with Sarah for the first time had me overflowing with happiness.To sum up, there are definite similarities between Sarah and Amy in that they both craved a different life – Amy misses her single life, while Sarah yearns for a family. That’s what I loved most about this book, that Rea Frey presented all sides and then left it up to the reader to make up their own mind about the characters and the situation. There are no easy answers, just a poor innocent child caught in the middle. I’m conflicted over the ending though – the word bittersweet springs to mind, but I won’t say any more than that for fear of spoilers.It will come as no surprise that the story unfolds through two POV’s – Sarah’s and Amy’s, and switches between three timelines – before, during, and after. I thought it was clever how when we were in Amy’s POV the language used to relay her thoughts turned crude and resentful, because that was the way she viewed the world. But was it really necessary to make her ugly, overweight, and afflicted with pock-marked skin? A little over-the-top. All and all, a quick, enthralling read, that had me swiping the pages on my kindle at top speed. What an emotional roller coaster!
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  • Mackey St
    January 1, 1970
    Not Her Daughter is a chilling thriller that is being made into a "major motion picture." Perhaps this is why there are so many four and five star reviews for this book. However, sadly, I am not going to be one of those rave reviews. This is me swimming upstream once more...Not Her Daughter is, at its core, a deeply troubling tale of two very disturbed women and one littler girl who desperately needs help. Sarah sees Amy "abusing" Emma in a very public way. Not sure that she should get involved Not Her Daughter is a chilling thriller that is being made into a "major motion picture." Perhaps this is why there are so many four and five star reviews for this book. However, sadly, I am not going to be one of those rave reviews. This is me swimming upstream once more...Not Her Daughter is, at its core, a deeply troubling tale of two very disturbed women and one littler girl who desperately needs help. Sarah sees Amy "abusing" Emma in a very public way. Not sure that she should get involved in this domestic situation, Sarah says nothing. However, after seeing another incident of abuse, she decides that she must act to protect Emma - namely by removing her from Amy's home. Yep. It's a kidnapping story.Throughout the book we are told repeatedly how awful Amy is, what a bad mother she is, she shouldn't ever have had children. I mean, hello, she even has a "hairy vagina." Yep, we absolutely needed to know that, right?  Since the book is told in revolving points of view, we are able to get inside both women's heads which are places I never really wanted to go. We learn that Amy even questions whether or not she wants Emma to come home - she really is a bad mother. However, is kidnapping a child any better? This is just one of the "moral dilemmas" that the book provides you with. We are supposed to question how well we understand "right" and "wrong." I'll give you a clue: I understand right and wrong, black and white and all of the shades of grey in between and this book does not change my mind. There are a dozen scenarios that Sarah could have taken other than kidnapping a child. From the point that she did that, the book was over for me. It isn't plausible, it wasn't even interesting to me and the "gotcha" ending was ridiculous. From a different perspective, despite the book having no toe-hold in reality, it is a quick paced "thriller" with a lot of switchbacks and "surprises." So there is that - oh, and did I mention that it was going to be "A Major Motion Picture?"  Meh. I received an advance copy of this book from Netgalley. Obviously the opinions are my own. 
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  • Nazanin
    January 1, 1970
    DNF @ 26%
  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    FANTASTIC READ! I am giving this one the full five stars, I loved Not Her Daughter. This is not your run of the mill kidnapping story-line- you are going to be cheering Sarah Walker the “kidnapper” on! Take Emma Grace Townsend and keep her FOREVER, leave the state, leave the country and GOOOOOOO girl!I think I may have enjoyed this book even more since I have worked hand in hand with social services for over 10 years and have found myself in a similar position as Sarah wanting to rescue a child. FANTASTIC READ! I am giving this one the full five stars, I loved Not Her Daughter. This is not your run of the mill kidnapping story-line- you are going to be cheering Sarah Walker the “kidnapper” on! Take Emma Grace Townsend and keep her FOREVER, leave the state, leave the country and GOOOOOOO girl!I think I may have enjoyed this book even more since I have worked hand in hand with social services for over 10 years and have found myself in a similar position as Sarah wanting to rescue a child. I have seen the system fail many times as well as succeed and do just what it is intended to do. “The system is broken. There are good people who work for these children and do the best they can, but the system is just too big for them to make a difference. It’s a horrible process for the child, and it’s almost impossible to prove neglect from parents by a total stranger. At best, she’d get placed in social services.” The only part I don’t agree with is that I know that these people, myself, my coworkers DO make a difference, we may not be able to fix everything or everyone BUT for the ones we can help, we DO make a difference. Sarah Walker is catching a flight when she sees a beautiful little girl in a red dress, red bow, and red shoes. “She looked like Christmas.” Sarah watched this little girl be tugged and pulled on and yelled at by her mother and hoped that this was not how this gorgeous child was always treated and this was a bad day, a stressful day. I mean, flying is a stressful experience for most of us. “I couldn’t forget Emma. I couldn’t forget.” Just when Sarah is starting to put the little girl out of her mind, Sarah has a chance meeting with this same stunning little five year old girl with gray eyes. This cannot be a coincidence for these two to cross paths again. “I must get Emma to come with me somewhere else, to a place that is not her home, with a person who is not her mother.”“I am rewriting her story, altering her memories, shifting her shitty childhood into clean chunks: before during, after. Then now, someday."The story is told from the perspectives of Sarah Walker (kidnapper) and Amy Townsend, Emma’s mother alternating between before, during, and after Emma is taken. I was on the edge of my patio chair, heart racing wondering what was going to happen next. Rea Frey’s writing style is very engaging and captured my attention immediately. The characters were multidimensional and seemed real; I had feelings for each one. I could easily picture scenes playing out in my head…Not Her Daughter would make an excellent movie in my opinion. I cannot wait to see what Rea Frey comes out with next as this book was superb!***Thank you St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    I've got a good mother And her voice is what keeps me here." Good Mother, Jann Arden What makes a good mother? What physical and mental capabilities must a woman possess to mother? How do we tell the good from the not so good? Now I have absolutely no idea what or if there is even a "right" answer. Like Jann Arden, I see the qualities of motherhood from my own relationship between my own mother and myself and the relationship she had with her own mother Not Her Daughter presents us with two di I've got a good mother And her voice is what keeps me here." Good Mother, Jann Arden What makes a good mother? What physical and mental capabilities must a woman possess to mother? How do we tell the good from the not so good? Now I have absolutely no idea what or if there is even a "right" answer. Like Jann Arden, I see the qualities of motherhood from my own relationship between my own mother and myself and the relationship she had with her own mother Not Her Daughter presents us with two different women- Amy, the biological mother, and Sarah, the kidnapper. As readers, we get the before, during, and after of the abduction of 5 year old Emma from the perspectives of both women. At times, I empathised with one or the other. Other times, I was so disgusted at both women(or the men that surrounded them). Hey, it's normal and it's human. I just know that I want to talk about it. Thanks to NetGalley for an advanced ebook in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Kimberly Belle
    January 1, 1970
    In Not Her Daughter, Frey pulls off a difficult task: balancing a nail-biting plot with a thought-provoking question — is a crime committed with the best intentions still a crime? A chilling, powerful tale of love and sacrifice, of truth and perception, Not Her Daughter will make you miss your bedtime, guaranteed. A stunning debut.
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  • Stacey
    January 1, 1970
    Not Her Daughter is an emotionally charged dilemma that will have you questioning right from wrong. It is a page turner from page one. Sarah is a successful business owner in a not quite perfect relationship with her boyfriend. Her mother left when she was eight and hasn’t heard from her since, but her and her father have scraped by in her absence. Amy is a working mother of two in an unfulfilling marriage. She can’t connect with her daughter and is rough with her. The lives of these two women a Not Her Daughter is an emotionally charged dilemma that will have you questioning right from wrong. It is a page turner from page one. Sarah is a successful business owner in a not quite perfect relationship with her boyfriend. Her mother left when she was eight and hasn’t heard from her since, but her and her father have scraped by in her absence. Amy is a working mother of two in an unfulfilling marriage. She can’t connect with her daughter and is rough with her. The lives of these two women are linked by one beautiful five-year-old, Emma.Sarah first sees Emma from afar at the airport as her mother is tugging and pulling her in a rush through the terminal. Months go by and she sees Emma again at the preschool she is presenting her educational tools. Sarah can’t stop thinking about Emma and feels that she is being abused. She becomes obsessed with her and made a choice to take Emma from her abusive home. What drives someone to that line and would you cross it knowing the consequences? There is much to discuss in this novel and would be a great book club selection. The relationship between mothers and daughters will always be tenuous at times and it’s a highlight here. The end fell flat for me, but overall it’s an engaging novel. Rea Frey is working on her next novel and I’m looking forward to it!Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advanced copy.
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