Book Review – Dear Child by Romy Hausmann

Gone Girl meets Room in this page-turning thriller from one of Germany’s hottest new talents
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 14 years ago. The police and Lena’s family are all desperately trying to piece together a puzzle which doesn’t quite seem to fit

Published 14th May by Quercus

When Matthies gets a call late one night from the police to say they think they’ve found his missing daughter, Lena, he thinks his thirteen year nightmare is over. But the woman from a cabin in the woods is not Lena, so why is her ‘child’ Hannah the image of her? As more disturbing details of life in the cabin are revealed, it’s clear the mystery is only just beginning. What really happened to Lena all those years ago and who is the monster who has kept the children under lock and key in the woods for so many years?

Wow, wow, WOW – This book is incredible! I started it one Saturday afternoon and didn’t stop until I’d read the last page. I couldn’t look away. I barely took a breath. This is one of the best thrillers I’ve read in a long time

Told from the viewpoint of multiple characters, this is a tense and harrowing story, with a real slice of menace that had the hairs on the back of my neck standing up. The characters are magnificently captured – Matthias who’s angry, blunt and completely obsessed in his focus to find out what happened to Lena, and Hannah who is vulnerable and naive – yet strangely sinister, both stood out to me

Romy Hausmann’s writing is transfixing and accomplished. It’s haunting and raw, with perfect pacing that had me hooked from beginning to end (and as a translated novel I feel the translator also deserves credit as none of the intensity or horror is lost while the book just flows) This is the author’s debut, and I’ll certainly be looking out for more in the future. Dear Child is up there as one of my top books of the year so far

I was lucky enough to win a proof copy from the publisher

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