Not Her Daughter by Rea Frey

Posted on August 20, 2018 by Regina | 1 Comment

Not Her Daughter by Rea FreyNot Her Daughter by Rea Frey
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks, St. Martin's Press on August 21, 2018
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
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Emma Grace Townsend. Five years old. Gray eyes. Brown hair. Missing since June.

Emma Townsend 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. Abandoned by her mother. Kidnapper.
Sarah has never seen a girl so precious as the gray-eyed child in a crowded airport terminal--and 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 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 she's gone without a trace.

As Sarah and Emma avoid the nationwide hunt, they form an unshakeable bond. But her real mother is at home, waiting for her to return--and the longer the search for Emma continues, Amy is forced to question if she really wants her back.


If you start this book with looming deadlines or close to bedtime, be prepared to disregard both once you start reading Rea Frey’s immensely absorbing novel, Not Her Daughter. This is, hands down, one of the most compelling and complex books I’ve read so far this year. It is a fast-paced story that alternates between two female narrators, leading up to and during the kidnapping of a five-year-old girl.

This book immerses the reader into the minds of two very different women. One, a successful and recently single business woman with an unhappy past, and the other a self-loathing, frazzled mother of two in an unhappy marriage. Both women’s lives intersect when one abducts the five-year-old daughter of the other.

I was shocked and appalled by the narrators as they deliberated their way through the unthinkable–the abduction of a child. The characters are both deeply flawed and, perhaps, relatable to the fringe imaginings of any unhappy mother or neglected child. The story probes the female experience of motherhood and mother-daughter relationships, bringing the most disturbing and base thoughts to the center of the page. As readers, we are forced to examine our own thoughts and contemplate an impossible question: Can the abduction of a child in an unhappy living situation every be justified?

After reading this novel, you will most likely be compelled to discuss it with a friend or recommend it to your local library as a book club pick. Those who love to read psychological suspense and/or domestic dramas should grab a copy of this book stat!

Have you already read Not Her Daughter? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.










Rea Frey is an award-winning author of four nonfiction books. She lives in Nashville with her husband and daughter. NOT HER DAUGHTER is her debut novel. Read more at



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Classical music nerd by day, freelance writer and blogger by night. When I review books, I don't dish out and rehash every character and detail. What's the point of reading a book if you give most of the deets away in a review??? My reviews are more about my impressions and over all experience with the book. I am also a world-renowned armchair psychologist, and love to psychoanalyze authors.

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