Thursday 20 August 2015

The Daughter's Secret by Eva Holland

My daughter is a liar. A liar, liar, liar. And I'm starting to see where she gets it from.
When Rosalind's fifteen-year-old daughter, Stephanie, ran away with her teacher, this ordinary family became something it had never asked to be. Their lives held up to scrutiny in the centre of a major police investigation, the Simms were headline news while Stephanie was missing with a man who was risking everything.
Now, six years on, Ros takes a call that will change their lives all over again. He's going to be released from prison. Years too early. In eleven days' time.
As Temperley's release creeps ever closer, Ros is forced to confront the events that led them here, back to a place she thought she'd left behind, to questions she didn't want to answer. Why did she do it? Where does the blame lie? What happens next?

The Daughter's Secret by Eva Holland was published by Orion on 13 August 2015, and is the author's debut novel.

The subject of this intriguing and quite beautifully written novel is extreme, but not unheard of. In fact, it is refreshing and a new direction for this genre. Like other novels recently published, The Daughter's Secret centres on family relationships but this isn't a story of domestic abuse, or hidden marital secrets, it is a novel that encapsulates the devastation caused to a tight family unit when the fifteen-year-old daughter runs away with her male teacher.

Stephanie and her teacher absconded six years ago, and whilst the family have never really recovered from this, they have some sense of normality, with Stephanie now living away at University and Ros and her husband Dan skirting around the subject. When Ros receives a phone call to tell her that the teacher; Temperley is due to be released from prison, it feels as though they haven't moved on at all. Life becomes almost unbearable for Ros, imagining as she does on a regular basis, the terrible things that will happen when he is free.

 Ros is a deeply flawed character, she verges on the neurotic and it is clear that the events six years ago have deeply affected the whole family. The story is told in snapshots; the present day, as Ros tries to deal with the here and now, and to keep her family together, and the past. Each day, both then and now is painfully created by this very clever author, with a mounting feeling of tension and menace that builds and builds, slowly and surely.

Most of us are fairly ordinary, everyday folk. Going about our daily business; working, doing the housework, shopping, meeting friends. Most of us see the headlines; a disappeared child, a family changed by illness, or by good fortune, but how many of us think about what happens to those people next? The Daughter's Secret takes the reader on those steps, past the days when the big story slips further down the headlines, until eventually it disappears all together. This story shows how one event can change a normal family, and their relationships.  Ros finds herself examining her family, she finds herself realising and facing up to things that she has preferred to ignore.

Perfectly paced, perceptive and incredibly compelling, The Daughter's Secret is full of unexpected twists and turns, populated by flawed, but realistic characters and is a story that poses many questions. I loved the ending too, it makes the reader work and think and consider what next ......

My thanks to the author who arranged for me to receive a copy for review.

A lifelong lover of words and stories, Eva Holland was the winner of the 2014 Good Housekeeping novel writing competition. She grew up in Gloucestershire and studied in Leeds before moving to London. When not writing or reading fiction she works as a freelance PR consultant and copywriter.
The Daughter’s Secret is Eva’s first novel.

Follow Eva on Twitter  @HollandEva

Find out more on her website 


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