I loved Daughter, Jane Shemilt’s first book, so was excited to read The Drowning Lesson. And I wasn’t disappointed. Atmospherically beautiful, richly drawn characters, and a page-turning plot, this was a truly superb novel.
Emma and Adam are both very busy doctors, combining successful careers with two young children. Emma is extremely competitive, to the point it’s detrimental to her relationship with her family. When Emma gets pregnant and her husband is offered a position in Botswana, they go for a year. But one day Emma arrives home to every mother’s worst nightmare – the baby’s been taken from his cot and is missing.
While I initially found Emma to be selfish, competitive and unlikeable, I grew to like her tenacity and stubbornness as the book went on. Her competitive nature actually worked in her favor, as she refused to give up looking for her baby.
The descriptions of Botswana were rich and vivid. I could practically feel the heat, the parched earth, the blue sky, just from reading Shemilt’s writing. It was absolutely captivating, and the story, plot twists, and rich characters all built to a stunning second novel for Jane Shemilt.