Wednesday 7 October 2015

Review: the Drowning Lesson by Jane Shemilt

The Drowning Lesson by Jane Shemilt
Publisher: Michael Joseph (Penguin UK)
Release date: 24 September 2015
Rating: ****
Back cover blurb: Emma and Adam Goodhew are doctors at the top of their fields and so when they are offered the chance to take their three children to Africa for a year for a research placement it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime. It's going to be an experience they'll never forget. But for all the wrong reasons.  When Emma arrives home one night to the sickening sight of an empty cot, their family's dream adventure turns into their worst nightmare. Thousands of miles from home and from anyone who can help, they must discover the truth. Is this a random abduction, a tragic accident or something far more sinister?

I loved Daughter by Jane Shemilt so when I saw she had a new novel out I just couldn't resist. Although the themes behind the two novels are similar (they both feature missing children) they tell a very different story.

Emma and Adam Goodhew are both successful Doctors at a local hospital. Both are hugely competitive and when Adam is offered a research project in Botswana, Emma is at first reluctant to uproot her young family, thinking she could stay behind look after them, and continue with her own research project. But something persuades her that the sunshine will be good for them all and off they go.

At first thinking that she won't work, and will use her new found free time to spend with her children and doing research, Emma is initially happy to spend time at 'home' but when some work comes up at a local clinic, Emma is delighted, realises she is not really needed at home and accepts without hesitation.

One awful day Emma returns from the clinic to find Sam missing. Immediately the suspicion falls on to their house staff. The hired help that Emma feels now she was too willing to accept. Did they think she didn't love her child? Or did they see an opportunity for money?

As Emma and Adam help the police with their enquiries, their already struggling relationship is tested to its limits, and ultimately Emma returns home to the UK with her children leaving Adam in Botswana. Then another incident occurs that means Adam must return home, entrusting the Botswana police to continue searching for their son.

A year on and there is still no news so the family decide to return to Botswana. What they find is shocking and makes them question if they ever really knew what they were getting themselves in to when they first moved abroad.

The Drowning Lesson by Jane Shemilt is available to buy now from Amazon online and all good book shops.
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Thank you to the publishers who approved my request via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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