From the book jacket:
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?
Oh man, this book! I don’t know if it’s because I’m a mom or if it was just that captivating, but I really had the hardest time putting it down. Everything I learned about morals and ethics in first-year university came crashing back into my memory; it really begs the question, what would YOU do if you were Sarah?
I think as a parent, I can see myself in both Sarah and Amy. Sarah just wants the best for Emma – a compassionate relationship with someone who truly cares about her, but goes to the utmost extreme to ensure that for her. Amy reflects every mom who is just plain tired – tired of kids who don’t listen, tired of a life that she feels isn’t hers, but unfortunately, she has a difficult time managing her darkest emotions and lashes out at Emma.
Are either women in the right? I have zero legal background but I’m going to go out on a limb and say no. However, like I said, it really makes you question what you would do if you were in Sarah’s situation. Knowing vaguely how the system works, it would be tough to just let the authorities take control of the situation, but let’s not make this an excuse to say that kidnapping is okay.
My biggest question about this book is, why didn’t Sarah get caught sooner, especially given the fact that she was made fairly early in her escapades. I think this is also her reason why I’m rounding my rating down by a half-star as well; in today’s world with all of the technology we have access to, I have can’t believe that Sarah would have gotten away with kidnapping/protecting/adopting Emma.
Anyway, I really suggest that regardless of whether or not you have kids, pick up this book! I likely would’ve read it in one sitting if I didn’t need to sleep.
My rating: ★★★★½/5 stars