Book Review – Daughter by Jane Shemilt

Hi Readers,

Today, I finished reading the thriller, Daughter by Jane Shemilt. I must say that this has been my least favourite book I’ve read this year, and I have explained the reasons in my review below (originally posted on

I love mystery books, and I was particularly drawn to the beautiful pastel-coloured cover, and the ‘missing-plot’ synopsis. I enjoyed the first chapter; however, as the story unfolded, I grew frustrated, and eventually bored with the entire book, for various reasons.

Firstly, I didn’t find the characters real or well rounded, and I certainly never loved them enough at the start to really care what happened to them. However, I did read on, purely out of curiousity; to see if the author would apply a twist, and to see how early on the villain (if there was one) had been introduced to us. You could say that I was analysing the book from a writing perspective; and the actual story became secondary! I must mention the dog ‘Bertie’ too; because he frustrated me enormously. This dog was a minor character that seemed to be used in the story only as a means of adding a red-herring to the plot – by digging up bones that were not Naomi’s – honestly, why so many paragraphs about him running around fields and twitching his nose!

Even though some of the author’s poetic description was good, I felt that it was detached from the story; beginning solitary at the start of almost every chapter, but never weaving itself into action or dialogue. This is a big flaw in writing; and one that will distract the reader away from the storyline. I also felt the author had used art (the main characters hobby) as an excuse to play on her poetic visions – because in the end the art had played no role whatsoever in the outcome of the story.

My review is harsh; but I have to admit that everything about this book annoyed me – from the characters, the empty and poorly weaved plot, the ambiguous outcome, and the written style. Very disappointed, but I have learned much from a writing pespective.

Well on a more positive note, it’s time to start reading my fifth book of 2015! But rather than decide on the book tonight, I will let tomorrow’s morning mood guide me. Will it be a thriller or something more lighthearted, I wonder? I just love the mystery of a new day…

Oh readers, I must also let you into a little secret! This week I sent off my first assignment to the college – the first step in completing my Novel Writing Diploma. I submitted a 1000 word novel manuscript, and a brief account of the type of novel that I want to write. If I pass this assignment, then the next one will be about characters. Exciting!

Well March is finally with us, and the stems of the Daffodils are piercing the ground! I am very much looking forward to Spring and the birth of new writings.

May inspiration be with you all,

Best Wishes,

Donna x


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18 thoughts on “Book Review – Daughter by Jane Shemilt

  1. Best of luck with your assignments! I wish my uni assignments were that exciting 😛 More essays than novels for me unfortunately… Haha… 😊

    • Thank you, Yusra. I must admit, the manuscript part of the assignment was challenging at times; but I found that rather than stare at a screen to try to complete it, in the end I worked through the storyline while I got on with other things. Good luck with your essays. Have a wonderful weekend x

  2. Good luck with your assignments! I have Daughter sitting on my tbr shelf right now, so I’ll be interested to see how I feel about it after reading this review. 🙂

    • Thank you, Fran 🙂 So sorry if the review has stained your excitement of reading the book…I hope it hasn’t. It will be great to see what you think of the book…do let me know. I hate to give vad feedback on written work when I know an author has put their heart into creating it; but we must all be honest. I’m sure there are many readers who enjoyed the book. Have a great weekend 🙂

      • Oh don’t worry, I won’t let it spoil anything. In fact it makes me look forward to a book more because it makes writing the review more enjoyable! Have a great weekend too, and I’m sure you’ll be seeing a review from me on it soon 🙂

  3. Lucy says:

    I hate red herrings! They are almost as bad as ‘and it was all a dream’ or the murderer being someone we hardly met. Although personally I do quite enjoying writing harsh reviews, as it’s helps crystallise in my head how I want to write, at the same time as helps me vent my frustration at the time I’ll never get back, lost in a book (or film, *shakes fist at Titanic*) I didn’t enjoy. 😉

    • I totally agree, Lucy. I think dreams used as an answer to a story is awful – and also, when someone comes to save the day (like the police in crime fiction) when it should be the protagonist that win their goals, or lose them. Thanks for your support in the harsh review, and you are definitely right in saying that if we air the bad writing, then it tells us on a certain level what we don’t want to do in our own writing. Have a great Sunday!

  4. lucciagray says:

    I’m reading this book now. Well actually I’ve started and stopped reading several times. I want to like it, and I do like the prose style, but there’s something that makes me not look forward to reading it, and I think your review hits the nail on the head. I’ll try and finish, although I’ve read less than half, but I’ll be forcing myself. It does tend to go around in circles instead of moving forward. Great review!

    • Thanks for your feedback on the book, Luccia, and for your comment, much appreciated. I agree that the prose style was ok, and I think first person point of view actually saved me from putting the book down from the beginning, when I come to think of it. I think first person powerfully connects reader to character. I hope you manage to finish the book. Let me know what you think 🙂 Have a great day.

  5. aanasada says:

    Hello there do you write about birds? Birds blow my mind, have you heard of birdman who could speak with birds! You should give a try.

    • Hello! Sometimes I write about birds like ravens, but generally it’s the name of my blog 🙂 I have heard of the birdman of Alcatraz – and how a bird came visiting a prisoner. I will check the birdman out – they are fascinating creatures (esp parrots that can learn many words and phrases) Thank you for visiting my blog and for your comment 🙂

  6. chaosm says:

    Like everything else, it’s yin-yang: we all enjoy a book where the style feeds the substance and the substance feeds the style. Form is function and function is form.
    That’s why the Chinese don’t say yin and yang, they call it yin-yang.

  7. chaosm says:

    The yin-yang in a taichi: we all enjoy a book where the style feeds the substance and the substance feeds the style. Because ultimately form is actually function.
    That’s why the Chinese don’t say yin and yang, it’s always called together as one -> yin-yang.

  8. Good review. Good luck with your classes, too. Thanks for the blog follow. I appreciate it.

  9. Elle says:

    I love mystery also, I must look into this book. Thanks for your review! All the best in your studies.

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