Missing Daughter by Kiersten Modglin
Published: November 8, 2021
I received a copy of this book for free, and I leave this review voluntarily.
Kiersten Modglin is an Amazon Top 30 bestselling author of psychological thrillers, a member of International Thriller Writers and the Alliance of Independent Authors, a KDP Select All-Star, and a ThrillerFix Best Psychological Thriller Award Recipient. Kiersten grew up in rural Western Kentucky with dreams of someday publishing a book or two. With more than twenty-five books published, Kiersten now lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, daughter, and their two Boston Terriers: Cedric and Georgie. She is best known for her unpredictable psychological suspense.
“Everything is going to be all right.”
Ginny and Cameron’s daughter goes missing following her third birthday party, and they are the prime suspects. As their world spirals out of control, things for Ginny start to fall in place. And the truth is terrifying.
Whew. There is a lot to unpack in this book, so I’ll warn you now, this review will be lengthy. But in order to truly honor this novel and the talent of KMod, it has to be.
Something I’ve always loved about Kiersten is the fact that she is not afraid to write characters that readers will not like. It’s refreshing having an author who doesn’t feel compelled to write perfect characters.
Ginny was a beautiful character. She was complicated, conflicted, and struggling. Ginny had a difficult pregnancy, followed by a traumatic birth, and she is suffering from postpartum depression. Feelings of inadequacy and failure as a mother weigh Ginny down daily. And she finds little support, and the support offered that is offered often wrapped in condescending tones and pitiful looks. For most of this book, I just wanted to hug Ginny and tell her she’s doing her best.
Cameron adores his daughter. She is number one in his life. And because his wife frequently struggles with bad days, he has to pull parental double duty more often than not. He wants Ginny to be better for Skylar, but also he misses who Ginny used to be. I was not too fond of Cameron at any point in this novel. He’s a great dad but a terrible husband.
Alex is mysterious and weirdly invasive. She is also the only person who makes Ginny feel “normal” and like she can be a good mother. Alex takes her friendship with Ginny to the next level by taking Ginny on as a client. Depression is accurate, and Alex is determined to help Ginny, no matter what.
A few of the biggest things in this book that really need to be talked about is mental health, societal norms being forced upon mothers, and that support is so important.
Ginny had a difficult pregnancy, which completely shattered what she thought she would feel carrying her child. And when her delivery led to an emergency c section, this further shattered Ginny’s idea of motherhood. Ginny feels that she has struggled to bond with her daughter and that Skylar prefers Cameron.
Ginny had postpartum depression, and with that comes the lowest of the lows. Racing thoughts, constant insecurity, and the fear of failure plague Ginny’s every thought. And of course, this weighs heavily on her relationship with her daughter and her husband.
Ginny feels judged. She doesn’t have a tribe to support her, and her husband’s passive-aggressive comments don’t help. It is reported that 5% of women reported persistently high levels of postpartum depression symptoms for three years after giving birth.
To make matters worse, Cameron voiced his disappointment in Ginny frequently. Ginny’s mother casts a heavy weight on Ginny. It’s expected that after carrying and delivering a human, women should bounce right back to “normal” and be able to do everything. But the hormonal changes involved with pregnancy, delivery, and motherhood, in general, can be heavy.
Kiersten did an incredible job presenting Ginny’s symptoms and struggles while being empathetic and fair. KMod discussed something that isn’t widely discussed, and it should be. To normalize and further understanding and help those who have postpartum depression know that there are options available, and to help the immediate people around the mom suffering know the healthy ways to offer help and support.
While Ginny struggles with daily activities, when her daughter goes missing, Ginny struggles in a new way. While internally she wants to crumble and retreat to her bed, she knows she can’t. If she doesn’t fight for her daughter, who will? Ginny is stronger than she realizes, and she is willing to fight to save Skylar, no matter what the cost.
In classic KMod fashion, as the plot thickens and the plot pace speeds up, readers won’t know which way to look. The old razzle-dazzle in this novel will come with quite the punches. With enough twists to give you whiplash and an ending that you’ll never see coming, Missing Daughter is the emotional, mental, and momma-motivated thriller we all need.