If you think photos aren’t important… wait until they’re all you have left of your child.
Your life isn’t perfect, but you’re still happy. Your husband has stuck by you and he’s a good dad. Your daughter Becca makes your heart explode with love.
And then, in the time it takes to say ‘bad mother’, there’s no longer a place for you in your own family. Your right to see your child has disappeared.
Life goes on in your house – family dinners, missing socks and evening baths – but you aren’t there anymore. Becca may be tucked up in bed in Rose Cottage, but she is as lost to you as if she had been snatched from under your nose.
Everyone knows you deserve this, for you what you did. Except you’re starting to realize that things maybe aren’t how you thought they were, and your husband isn’t who you thought he was either. That the truths you’ve been so diligently punishing yourself for are built on sand, and the daughter you have lost has been unfairly taken from you. Wouldn’t that be more than any mother could bear?
A heart-wrenchingly emotional drama for fans of Lisa Wingate, Jill Childs, and Jodi Picoult.
Published May 14th 2019 by Bookouture
~ Review ~
Wow. What an emotional roller coaster of a book this is. Although it wasn’t quite what I expected, it was such a powerfully emotional story of loss, grief, regret and self forgiveness that it didn’t matter and I found myself completely wrapped up and invested in the characters and their lives.
The Lost Daughter tells the story of Rachel, recently separated from her husband and thirteen year old daughter and struggling to come to terms with the situation she now finds herself in. When she is invited to join a small support group for mothers estranged from their children, Rachel finds friendship and understanding. But she can’t forgive herself for the thing that happened resulting in her being forced to leave the family home. What did she do that was so bad, and will she ever be able to forgive herself?
My heart really went out to Rachel. Society judges mothers who for whatever reason are unable to be with their children in a way that fathers never are. I could feel Rachel’s shame and guilt, it was written so powerfully it jumped from the pages. The Lost Daughter explores the impact of marriage break-up through Rachel, but through the friends she meets through the support group it also explores adoption and care. I found Viv’s story the most interesting. An older lady who has a secret adult son she visits every week. Born in an era when people with learning disabilities and autism were hidden away, Aidan has spent his life in long term care facilities on the advice of the professionals at the time. Working in this field now, it’s a story I have seen often and really struck a chord with me.
The theme throughout the book is that of guilt, shame and regret and is very strongly portrayed. I wanted all the women to forgive themselves and stop beating themselves up. Ali Mercer writes with astounding compassion and empathy, it was easy to be able to put myself in these women’s shoes, making for an emotional and thought provoking read. I also felt immensely angry towards Rachel’s husband, Mitch, and honestly thought at the end he got off very lightly. I’m not going to type what I really thought of him here!
The Lost daughter is an incredibly raw and emotional story, with believable characters facing real human struggles. It isn’t the most upbeat book around, nor is it a tense thriller. But it will draw you into these characters predicament and give you lots to think about with its honest portrayal of a taboo subject. Well worth a read.
(I read an advance ecopy courtesy of the publisher and Netgalley)