The Daughter’s Secret follows Rosalind and her “perfect” family six years after Stephanie (Rosalind’s daughter) ran away with her geography teacher, Nathan Temperley who is due to be released from Wandsworth Prison in eleven days time.
‘People often liken a great shock to being hit by a train, but the realisation that Stephanie had run away with Nathan Temperley was more like being caught in a crocodile’s death roll. It grabbed me by the throat, pulled me under the thick green waters of its swamp and held me down until I wished for oblivion. Then it relaxed its grip and let me surface to fill my lungs with hope before pulling me back down, its teeth finding new flesh to puncture with every roll.’
The daughter’s secret portrays the personal struggle each member of the family has with blame and guilt particularly Rosalind’s intense struggle with anxiety and fear due to Temperley’s impending release exquisitely. Eva Holland’s debut novel is tastefully written as it never crosses the line towards being salacious (which I was slighlty worried about before reading it) while also being absorbingly thrilling right to the very end.
It reminded me of the Jeremy Forrest case, who was a 30 year-old Maths teacher who ran away to Bordeaux in France with his 15 year-old student. https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/love-sex/teenage-girl-teacher-ran-away-15-year-old-what-like-caught-jeremy-forrest-bordeaux-a7767661.html
A Daughter’s Secret contains a similar vibe in that it explores the complex relationship between families however this time the most troubled relationships is between two father’s and two daughters.
‘The look he throws me, through narrowed eyes, is a targeted missile, designed to preciselyconvey the utter stupidity of my observations. It’s a look he’s given me so many times in my life, and it echoes and reverberates through all those jagged bits of our shared past like a gust of air hitting a wind chime.’
Mia is a thirty-something psychotherapist who no longer has her father in her life following a turbulent childhood. Gemma is Mia’s new 13 year-old patient whose father has gone on the run from the police following finanicial crimes which has left thousands suffering including Mia’s mum and step-father.