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.
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.