Title: Dear Child
Author: Romy Hausmann
Publication Date: 14th May 2020
A windowless shack in the woods. Lena’s life and that of her two children follows the rules set by their captor, the father: meals, bathroom visits, study time are strictly scheduled and meticulously observed. He protects his family from the dangers lurking in the outside world and makes sure that his children will always have a mother to look after them.
One day Lena manages to flee – but the nightmare continues. It seems as if her tormentor wants to get back what belongs to him. And then there is the question whether she really is the woman called ‘Lena’, who disappeared without a trace over thirteen years ago. The police and Lena’s family are all desperately trying to piece together a puzzle that doesn’t quite seem to fit.
I love it when a book makes me stay up into the middle of the night because I simply cannot put it down and that is exactly what Dear Child did. It follows ‘Lena’ who has been kept captive for months and has managed to finally escape. This is where the story starts and I really don’t want to give much more away because part of the enjoyment of this book is trying to figure out who is being honest and what is actually going on. Nothing is quite as it seems and as the characters try to live with the trauma they have experienced, Lena’s parents are desperate to finally know the truth of what happened to their daughter.
By the end of the first few pages, I was completely engrossed in this story. There’s a lot going on at the start and initially, it’s difficult to know what to think. As the book progresses some things do begin to slide into place, whilst others become even murkier. This unpredictable aspect is one of the reasons that Dear Child is such compulsive reading. It is the very definition of unputdownable in every sense of the word. The characters are all fascinating and the way the author has structured the book is skilful and incredibly effective. There is something really sinister in this book, an unsettling feeling that creeps into every page and lodges itself in the reader’s mind. It looks at the aftermath of severe trauma and how a person’s mind can be twisted and manipulated by someone else’s cruelty or obsession. I think that the aftermath is often more telling than the trauma itself and the author dealt with it in a way that felt honest and brutal at the same time. Dear Child is an intense, addictive and dark book that will grip it’s readers in it’s grasp until the last page. Highly recommend.
I received this e-arc through Netgalley. My review is my own honest opinion.