The Lost Daughter opens with Brooke and Alex as seventeen-year-olds trying to deal with an unwanted pregnancy on their own via a home remedy late-stage abortion. Flashforward fifteen years and Brooke’s husband Sean can’t understand why Brooke doesn’t want to have a second child when they are so happy with their seven-year-old daughter Megan. Meanwhile, Alex comes back into Brooke’s life for the first time since high school, still grieving from his son’s recent death and bringing guilt from his actions fifteen years ago. He’s looking to confess something, to someone, and Brooke has repressed her own feelings. Events escalate when Sean suspects an affair, and Brooke and Alex begin to find out that what happened fifteen years ago may not have happened as they remember it.
I don’t have a lot of strong opinions on this book, which is unusual for me. The characters are well-developed and don’t have just one label, which I appreciate. There are two fairly disturbing scenes; the first was necessary for the plot (and happens in the first chapter so no way to avoid it), but I thought the second was an unnecessary and lazy plot device. The prose is not always but occasionally insightful (“When he gets into his car and drives away, I feel the way a mountain must feel when an avalanche shears off from its side and the sound slowly dies into silence”). The story is engaging enough, and there are interesting themes of families and guilt and moving on, although the themes are thinly veiled. It’s a fine book, and it’s exactly the thing I need to read the week before an exam.
Look at that, I managed to have a few opinions after all.