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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Not Her Daughter

Not Her Daughter

ISBN: : 9781250166425

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Publication Date: 8/21/2018

Format: Other

My Rating: 5 Stars +

Top Books of 2018 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? 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.

Emotionally powerful 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.

Q & A With the Author

A Q&A Elevator Ride with the Author

My Review

Wow! Rea Frey blows the doors wide open. (love this author)! A smashing thought-provoking debut NOT HER DAUGHTER —emotional, gripping, and compelling. The author takes us inside the lives of ordinary women.

You will love Emma and Sarah! Assured to keep you thinking about little Emma long after the book ends. Rea Frey is a natural born storyteller. A winning- combination of literary and domestic suspense. The author will keep readers wondering how things will end until the last, satisfying page.

Two women’s lives intersect in the midst of a heart-stopping crisis. An innocent child. A decision. Whether right or wrong. A child comes first.

Meet Sarah Walker. Readers learn the before and after. Fate brings her to meet a young five-year-old little girl, Emma Townsend. She witnesses something she cannot get out of her mind.

Soon it will be the before, during, after. Then, now, someday. A decision which will change lives forever.

Sarah and Ethan have recently broken up. She lives in Portland and runs her own company: TACK. Their motto is Tach, Activate. Create. TACK started small. Digital activity books personalized to children’s interests. Kids or parents fill out questionnaires of their ages, favorite toys, subjects, and activities and she crafts personalized stories to help them learn.

Now She travels the world. Even once she and Ethan talked about adopting a girl from Ethiopia due to the extreme local sex trafficking.

While at the airport traveling for business, Sarah witnesses a little girl, not more than five or six in a red dress with shiny sequins attached to a full skirt, a red bow, and slippers. She then witnesses a mother abusing the little girl. It is heartbreaking. It reminds her of her own dysfunctional relationship with her own mother years ago.

Having worked with children for years, Sarah is well aware that parents have off days, especially at a busy airport. Stresses run high. However, this was different. There was something about this little girl that pulls Sarah’s heartstrings.

The little girl’s name is Emma Grace. She is the victim. What is Sarah to do? Report her to airport officials? Child Protective Services? What would they do? She cannot get this little girl out of her mind. Her mother’s crusted hateful face.

Sarah watches. She waits. Plans. Follows. She must learn everything about this family and this little girl. Someone must help her. She has to find a way. She must keep her safe. She will do her homework. Investigate. Then she may have to do the unthinkable.

Sarah had her own complicated mother-daughter relationship. She knows how Emma feels. Why did her mom leave her?

Not Her Daughter

“I wasn’t a social worker or a child psychologist, after all –and this wasn't some bad Lifetime movie where I could make her parents see the errors of her ways. This was a real child in real life with real consequences. I knew I didn’t have any right to inject myself into her life, but I had to know she’d be okay. Somehow. Some Way."

It is like being taken back twenty-five years for Sarah. The way Emma looks. The way her mother treats her. Sarah recognizes herself in her and she wants to help. What if she needs to be rescued? Can she save her?

Emma is young, small, innocent and beautiful. She deserves a better life. Would she be better off with Sarah?

Then there is Emma’s mother (Amy). Large, mean, bitter, angry, abusive, selfish, and aging. A miserable person. She locks her daughter outside. Alone. Five years old. She does not deserve to be a mother.

Does Amy want Emma? Why is she so angry? Why does she hate her daughter? Would she really care if Emma was taken away? Would she be worried or relieved? Is she willing to give away her daughter to a stranger?

“That’s what I'm going with: my intention is to keep her safe. In spite of the facts, in spite of what I’ve done. Because it feels right. Being with Emma feels right. It is the only thing I trust.”

Is Sarah a kidnapper, if the mother does not care? Sarah will risk it all to save a child.

An electrifying story. Readers will fall in love with Emma and sympathize with Sarah (she is one smart chick). Frey spins a twisty tale of family dysfunction, motherhood, betrayal, and redemption. I loved Sarah and Emma.

Crossing moral boundaries, the author will remind you of a favorite author, Jodi Picoult. Delighted to learn NOT HER DAUGHTER will soon be a motion picture. Yes, it is that good. Congrats!

What would you do when confronted with a complicated situation? When you realize a child needs help, and the system is not always a choice. A compelling journey. An intricate tale of love.

“I love her, and that’s the beginning and end of everything.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald

​What does it take to be a good mother? An ideal choice for book clubs and further discussions. Discussion questions included. Do not miss this one! Top Books of 2018. Cannot wait to see what’s next in store from this new talented author! (loved the teaser from her next gripping novel).

A special thank you to St. Martins Press and #NetGalley for an advanced reading copy of #NotHerDaughter.

Look for my upcoming newsletter Q&A Elevator Ride Interview with Featured Author Rea Frey coming this week!

Review Links:

Not Her Daughter

Advance Praise

  • PopSugar – The Summer’s Hottest Books

  • The Zoe Report – 20 Books to Read this Summer

  • She Reads - New Summer Thrillers to Get Your Heart Racing

  • Working Mother - 15 Hot New Summer Beach Reads

  • Publishers Weekly – Mysteries and Thrillers 2018 Roundup

"Brings to mind Jodi Picoult...thought-provoking domestic drama." —Booklist

“Will make you miss your bedtime, guaranteed.” —Bestselling author Kimberly Belle

“The plot twists here are brave, the themes are both poignant and unsettling, and the resolution is deeply resonant. A page-turner with heart!" —New York Times bestselling author Kate Moretti

"A cleverly constructed novel that will have you questioning everything you believe about right or wrong." —New York Times bestselling author Chevy Stevens

"Engrossing and suspenseful, Frey writes her characters with depth and compassion, challenging readers to question their own code of ethics.”

— Zoje Stage, author of Baby Teeth

“An emotional ride where the line between right and wrong begins to fade…pulls you in from the very first page, and unlike most in its genre, you won't know how you want it to end until it does.” — Wendy Walker, author of Emma in the Night

Read More @ Deadline Hollywood

About the Author

Rea always wanted to be a novelist.

When she was little, her nose was either stuffed in a book, sniffing paper, absorbing words, or letting her imagination wander. If not reading, she was writing. In journals. In notebooks. In diaries. On walls. In the sand. On legal pads. On typewriters. With quills.

In college, she majored in fiction writing and somehow fell into nonfiction and personal training. Her dreams of sitting in a writer’s haven on the water, wrapped in a sweater, penning her stories, was swapped for health and wellness gigs and her first fractured steps into the important world of the Author Platform (aka social media).

After four nonfiction books were published, countless magazine and newspaper articles written, editing jobs taken, content management contracts executed, a gym co-owned, and certifications sought, she realized she was hustling for the wrong type of writing.

So, she quit.

She gave herself a window to write a novel. Eight weeks, she told herself. Eight weeks to change everything.

Never one to back down from a challenge, she wrote her novel in just a month.

The rest went something like this: Secure a phenomenal agent, join a writer’s group, bear witness to the magic of self-belief as the book got into a bidding war and landed her a two-book deal with St. Martin’s Press.

Now, when asked what she does, she says the following: I’m a motherfucking writer.

Rea is a novelist. She writes books. And swears. And drinks lots of coffee. And has a daughter. And a dreamy husband. And still manages to find the magic in books.

She hopes you will put down the phone and pick up a book (preferably hers when it hits the shelves). And find the joy in reading.

Because there’s nothing quite like the power of words...






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