The Lost Daughter

The Lost Daughter by Lucy Ferriss
Berkley Publishing Group/2012
  Reviewed By: Sheri de Grom

Lucy Ferriss’ novel, The Lost Daughter, opens with one of the most effective prologues I’ve read in women’s fiction. I was horrified at two teens delivering a pre-term baby in a cheap motel. Nothing went right, but little did Alex and Brooke know how bad things really were.

Fast forward fifteen years and we meet Brooke and her husband, Sean. They’re hosting the christening of Sean’s brother’s new baby. Insulting questions fly as to why Brooke and Sean aren’t having another baby. They have a deeply loved daughter, Meghan.

Sean desperately wants another child but each time he approaches the subject it pushes Brooke closer to the edge. She’s done what she’s had to do to tamp down her guilt: guilt over what happened, guilt over the lies, guilt over the loss. Her reactions to that night have shaped her every move, her every decision.

Sean’s brothers constantly nag and razz him about his beauty queen wife not giving him the additional children he wants. Sean wishes his brothers would get it through their thick skulls that there’s such a thing as a not-funny insult.

Sean’s father had insisted Sean learn a trade and not study music in college. He’d followed his father’s advice and had gotten into the print business. He rose to the top and then desktop publishing came along. His print jobs became fewer and fewer.

Brooke works for a landscape nursery. She’s so private, the only thing the other employees know about her after seven years, is that she’s pretty and she’s kind. The owner knows his business would have gone under if it hadn’t been for Brooke. She’s brought in all the commercial accounts.

. . .Pg46[Sometimes Brooke thought fondly of the woman she might have become—sprightly and funny and smart, oh so smart, with as many kids as she wanted—as if that woman were someone she’d known and hoped wistfully to meet again. Meanwhile the weight of her past kept her steady, moving forward, glad for the light of each day that brought no retribution for what was five years past; then ten; then fifteen. Only recently, with Sean begging incessantly for a second child, had she felt each step like a sinking into quicksand.]. . .

For years, Brooke’s mother told her where Alex was and what he was doing. Brooke finally convinced her mother she didn’t want to hear additional information and finally her mother stopped.

Alex calls Brooke one day and she agrees to meet him for coffee. Alex has returned to the States after living in Japan where he married and had a son who died of heart problems. He’s now divorced.

Brooke doesn’t want to spend much time with him. She doesn’t order a coffee to keep her time short. Alex tells her he doesn’t plan to invade her life but he’d like to see her from time to time.

Sean’s business continues to deteriorate. He and Brooke argue over child-rearing methods and he thinks Brooke is having an affair, but with whom?

. . .Pg84[Walking home, he almost bumped into a guy on the sidewalk, right in front of his own house. One of those professional-type guys, not real tall but muscled, good-looking, in need of a haircut, dressed in chinos and a polo shirt. Sean felt like throwing up on him but he also asked what was he doing there, was he coming to bang his wife?]. . .

The story of Brooke and Alex’s past is carefully woven throughout the family life of Sean, Brooke and Meghan. Sean and Brooke try to go about their lives. The results of what happened in the motel room fifteen years ago between Brooke and Alex becomes an integral frame of the story. Alex wants to tell and Brooke doesn’t.

The Lost Daughter is a unique read filled with flawed but sympathetic characters and a suspense twist that makes for an excellent read.

I recommend The Lost Daughter by Lucy Ferriss without reservation.

About Sheri de Grom

Retired Fed/JAG, 5 yrs. on Capitol Hill. Former book buyer for B and N. Concerned citizen of military drawdown. Currently involved in mental healthcare reform, health care strategist and actively pursuing legislative change wherein dual retirees are exempt from enrolling in Medicare at their own discretion without losing tertiary healthcare benefits. Monitor and comment on Federal Register proposed legislation involving Mental Health, Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, Medicare and rural libraries. Licensed OSHA Inspector to include Super Fund sites. Full time caregive to Vietnam era veteran. Conceptualized, investigated possible alternatives, authored, lobbied for, and successfully implemented Title X, Section 1095 (known as the Third Party Collection Program of Federal Insurance).
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11 Responses to The Lost Daughter

  1. cindy knoke says:

    Well written review Sheri…hope all is well with you my friend!

  2. Lynn Garrett says:

    Beautiful, as always. Heartwrenching. How many quiet people in our everyday lives live with guilt so heavy their words cannot escape? You are fast becoming a master of the book review.

  3. Sheri, when Amy Sue Nathan did her poll on how to we decided which books to read, she neglected to put Sheri’s Reviews as a bullet item. I certainly would have checked you off on that list. You have a light touch, and a deep love for the written word and I have yet to dismiss one of your recommendations … Sooooooo off I go to find The Lost Daughter.
    Thanks as always 🙂

    • Florence – You are so kind. The Lost Daughter really surprised me. I don’t know why but I was expecting a lighter read – – how silly of me. Perhaps it was the flowers in the young girls hair on the cover. I’m not usually swayed by such things. Neither am I swayed by back book blurbs and then there’s that silly nagging question about the color of the cover – it’s sort of a lime green – but just sort of. I’m not a ‘sort of’ person!

      There’s times when I wanted to shake the characters and tell them to ‘get over it’ but other times when sheer bravery and determination bowed me over.

      The psychological character studies in The Lost Daughter are amazing.

  4. I will add this to my must read list! Great Review!

  5. Great new read for me, Sheri. I love to read books that aren’t all happy-go-lucky throughout. Your review makes this very enticing. Thank you.

    • Hi, Patti. First – I must tell you I loved your talking dogs. My blogs have been so serious lately, I really needed a good laugh.

      I also thought of you and your novel, Moon Over Alcatraz, when I read Lucy Ferriss’ novel, The Lost Daughter. You don’t pull easy punches in your novel and neither does Lucy. I truly think you’ll enjoy The Lost Daughter. While the characters are flawed in ways I didn’t expect, I found myself holding my breath during several chapters. I’ll be interested in knowing what you think after you read it.

  6. This sounds like a book I would really like to read! Thank you for an excellent preview and review Sheri!

    • Hi, Mary. Nice to see you here. Yes, The Lost Daughter has an unusual premise and one totally unexpected. I wasn’t familiar with Lucy Ferriss’ work and was pleasantly surprised with the depth of the book. I’m one of those people that likes to read a chapter in the middle of the book and what I was reading in the middle chapter didn’t seem to connect with what I read on the back cover or in the prologue – – Ferriss’ really had me there. Other than the story, this novel has great structure in how the story was put together and I didn’t address that in the review.

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