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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

‘Someone Else’s Daughter’
by Jennifer Harvey
Book Beginnings
First Lines

image of a woman sat reading by an open window - caption reads 'will these first few lines capture our imagination' - used as the image for Book Beginnings / First Lines, posts


This is a meme for all you ‘First Page Browsers’

With thanks to the lovely folks at Bookouture and NetGalley for introducing Jennifer Harvey, a new author to the reading community, with this, her debut novel.

I shall be taking part in the organised ‘Books On Tours’ schedule and my review will be published on June 23rd 2020.

Cover image of the book 'Someone Else's daughter' by author Jennifer Harvey





“I suppose, in our hearts, we all knew she was dead. But hope kept us looking for her. Hope kept us calling out her name. All afternoon we searched for her, scouring the beach as the sun blazed over the dunes.

“Isa! Isa!”

Never a reply. Just the wash of waves on the shore and the screech of gulls as they swooped overhead watching us, while the sun traced its arc across the sky. Over and over we called her name, telling ourselves she was just asleep someplace. Sheltered and safe in the dunes, curled up on the sand and hidden from view by the high marram grass. Eventually, through the fog of sleep. she would hear her name, rub her eyes and call back to us.

“I’m here. I’m over here.”

But she never did. We found her, at dusk, caught in a hollow where the tide had ebbed. Face down in the water and buffeted by the waves, her hair tangled and matted by salt and sand, her skin violet and mottled as a bruise.

And I can’t stop thinking how strange it is that we were sat around the bonfire, drinking and singing and joking, and oblivious to it all, while she floated alone in the darkness. Perhaps she even heard us singing, as she spluttered and choked and drowned.

Isa, poor Isa.”

So, you have taken a look, would you read the book?

Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Just to give you an extra helping hand, here is the book’s premise …


Cover image of the book 'Someone Else's daughter' by author Jennifer HarveyThey’d left their daughter with us, their only child, and we hadn’t protected her. That was all they would see when they looked at us—that we had failed them.

I count down the days until we can leave the city behind and return to the beach house. Where James and Katie can roam free over the dunes, like they did as children, and Peter will swap his 6 a.m. starts for the stacks of fluffy pancakes he lovingly serves up for our family breakfasts. These sun-drenched, golden days, just the four of us, are what I hold on to all year long.

But this summer Katie’s best friend will be coming with us. I tell myself the girls will have fun together, pushing aside the doubts I have about this uninvited guest. Isa. With her corn-silk hair and luminous skin, who manages to overshadow my daughter at every turn. Who has been dumped on us by her own parents, too caught up in their petty dramas to see what is right in front of them.

Because I can see it. There is something dangerous about Isa. Something more than a carefree girl, testing boundaries as she approaches adulthood. She threatens to cast storm clouds across my beach house days. I feel as powerless to stop her as I would in the face of a hurricane.

By the end of the summer, Isa will be dead. And I will have to face her mother. I don’t know if I will be able to find the words. How can I begin to explain that she never really knew her daughter at all?

A picture button for book beginnings at Rose City Reader

You might also like to visit Gilion, over at ‘Rose City Reader‘, where you can share links to the book beginnings from her own reading schedule and that of many of our fellow bloggers. There are always plenty of new authors and titles to be discovered.

Written by

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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  • That was a very smooth beginning. The writing was fluid. It had some emotional resonance out of the gate. That’s a strong debut! Thanks for sharing!

    Here’s mine for this week.

    • Hi Matt,

      Thanks for stopping by Fiction Books this week, it is lovely to ‘meet’ you. I enjoy chatting to new friends and always value comments and discussion points.

      There are three things which I look for to make a book memorable – A good solid beginning which draws me in from the first few lines; descriptive narrative and dialogue with a strong supporting storyline; and a believable definitive ending which doesn’t leave me hanging.

      So far this book has two out of the three, so all’s good as I make my way towards the conclusion!

      Have a good weekend and Happy Reading 🙂

  • Wow, that was powerful stuff. I’m not keen on plots where harm comes to children, older or not, but that intro intrigues me… why did the narrator consider Isa to be dangerous? I smell a family secrets plot and I do enjoy those.

    Just wondering if you’re ok, Yvonne? Saw your reply to Liz F on Twitter and felt very sorry for you… and her. Things are so difficult at the moment and it gets to us at times doesn’t it? You take care. *Hugs*

    • Hi Cath,

      Aww! Thank you so much for being a kind friend, I really appreciate your lovely thoughts and words.

      I think that where I was so used to being on the go and out all day, every day, being cooped up has just got to me a bit this week. Not helped by the fact that I have got to the stage where my personal appearance needs some attention, which doesn’t help my state of mind.

      Mind you, when you see the idiotic and totally disgusting behaviour of a certain section of the crowds which are out and about, I am quite pleased not to be mixing it with them. I’m just waiting for the spike in cases in a couple of weeks time, although the same people think they are invincible, so we’ll have to see who’s right!!

      Back to business!!

      There has been some excellent descriptive writing so far in this book and I am now a little over half way through. I would probably place the story firmly on the mystery shelves and not the thriller it was listed as, but that works fine for me.

      There are plenty of family secrets which have yet to be unravelled and which I am probably going to be completely wrong about and I have a suspect list as long as my arm regarding Isa’s death, although that might still be discovered to have been nothing more than a tragic accident , which I am reading too much into!

      A nice debut story and the author sounds like such a lovely person, really appreciative of any posts and comments.

      I hope that you are both well, and the family of course.

      Stay safe and have a good Bank Holiday weekend. xxx

      We both have birthdays and so does our youngest niece and our nephew-in-law, so apparently they are sending us a cream tea for Sunday and we are having a virtual birthday party – should be fun 🙂

      • Hi Yvonne,
        Just popping back to say that I’m glad you’re ok, but I understand completely why things are getting to you. Also Happy Birthday to you and your husband. I do hope your virtual party is good fun.

        Yes, the hordes descending on our part of the world was a bit of a surprise I must say and not a very pleasant one. We’ll be staying at home and not joining them, not that we’re beachy people anyway, apart from the odd nice stroll in the winter. Plenty to do in the garden, the plan is to be self-sufficient in veggies this winter, I doubt we’ll manage it completely but we ought to cover the greens anyway.

        Take care and have a lovely day tomorrow.

        • Sorry about being in whinge mode yesterday, feeling much more like normal today!

          It’s just a bit demoralising when you see people out and about, acting as though there is nothing wrong, when you stay at home, apart from the odd short walk somewhere quiet!

          However, the reality is that I have no wish to join the hordes, who I just don’t hope will live to regret their stupid actions.

          I feel most sorry for the poor folks who live in the areas where they congregate and who are now virtual prisoners in their own homes!

          We haven’t really got much done in the garden, despite our best intentions, but that’s another story! At the moment, I can’t ram another item in my freezer, so having a whole load of fruit and veg wouldn’t be much good to me, although I do love the taste of homegrown produce. Our local farm shop is really good for fresh produce, however as much of it is ripe to eat, it does tend to need to be used within a day or too, which would mean too many trips up there for my liking right now, as it is not a huge place and the display shelves are much too close together for adequate social distancing!

          Perhaps when we both retire Dave will have the time and inclination to grow produce for ourselves, as it would certainly save some money, given the quality and prices of everything right now. Good luck with your mission, I shall have to rename you ‘Tom and Barbara Good’ if you are successful, but we are definitely not ‘Margot and Jerry’ 🙂

  • What a powerful – and sad – beginning! I’m not sure I’m up to one like this right now (said she who is currently reading a novel about Syrian refugees!).

    I’m definitely going to keep an eye on this as you bring us more features.

    • Hi Kelly,

      The fictionalised memoir I just finished, about the colonisation, wartime invasion and independence of the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia), was quite heavy going and an impressive piece of literary writing. So by comparison ‘Someone Else’s Daughter’, whilst sad, is much more emotionally easy to handle right now. Murder, suicide or accident, we have still to determine, however I am savouring the very descriptive writing and storytelling, narrated almost exclusively in alternating short chapters, by two of the key protagonists. I don’t think this one is as bad as you might have been led to believe by those opening lines.

      I am hoping to fit in a ‘Teaser Tuesday’ post for this book, however all of ‘Bookouture’ Blog Tours are based on full review only, so I have had to keep my head down to get 3 books read in what is for me, a very short space of time. The first two I haven’t been able to run any promotional features for at all, however both reviews will be posted in the next week or so.

      I have only recently signed up to ‘Bookouture’, so together with ‘Aria Fiction’ and ‘Head Of Zeus’, I am going to have my hands full keeping up with the schedule. This comes as I was thinking of closing Fiction Books down completely, Ha! Ha! At least I have plenty to keep me going during lockdown and post lockdown, who knows what will happen!!

      Thanks for visiting and I hope that things are okay with you. Take Care 🙂

    • Ah! Now I made the same assumption as yourself, when I first looked at the cover for this book and read the opening lines, that the dead child was indeed quite young.

      Isa is actually 17, which yes, technically still makes her a child, but carry on reading and it quickly becomes apparent that Isa is a very rebellious and troubled teenager, with quite a vicious, vengeful streak, although not all of the problems in her life are of her own making by any means!

      Got to stop now or I shall end up by giving too many spoilers away!

      Thanks for sharing and hosting 🙂

  • I don’t know if that book might be too sad for me. Books where bad things happen to someone’s children always bug me a bit. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Becki,

      I do have to admit that this book is probably listed in completely the wrong genre, as a mystery / thriller. Yes, granted I have still to discover exactly what happened to Isa on that fateful evening, but essentially so far, the story is so much more about the various characters who surround Isa, their double standard lives and how sorry they all feel for themselves now that she is gone.

      The blame game is in full flow, with some good dialogue and narrative, but yes! in answer to your question, overall it is quite a sad book.

      It is just too easy to give away spoilers from this book and I’m still not sure how, when I am done reading, I am going to frame my review to reflect that!

      Thanks for stopping by and Stay Safe 🙂

    • Hi Naida,

      Yes! ‘Bookoutures’ catalogue is really good and I am so pleased to have been invited to join their stable of ‘Books On Tour’ representatives. I just want to do a good enough job so that I get invited back again!

      I also work on Blog Tour content for ‘Aria Fiction’ and ‘Head of Zeus’, although a review is not always required, with other extracts and author guest posts, being available. So all in all, I have quite a good mix of post schedules to keep me going. Lockdown needs to go on for a bit longer!! 🙂

      The writing style and characterisations in this story, are all very intense, even maybe a little depressing. There are more secrets, lies and double standards than I can count and I am expecting a couple more twists in the story before it ends. The whole thing has an air of sadness and despair about it, although I have enjoyed the descriptive narrative and dialogue a lot.

      Thanks for stopping by and I hope that you enjoy your extended weekend. It is also a holiday Monday here 🙂

Written by Yvonne