Hush Little Baby by Joanna Barnard #BookReview

About this book…

When baby Oliver breaks his arm, no-one can (or will) say how it happened.

His mother is exhausted.

His father is angry.

His older sister is resentful.

And they all have something to hide

My review…

I was really looking forward to reading Hush Little Baby as that blurb sounded so intriguing to me but I was concerned it was going to be a challenging topic to read about and approached it with caution. Would the theme of child abuse (if that was indeed the case!) prove too much for me, even in a work of fiction? But I needn’t have worried – Joanna Barnard handled the subject with just the right amount of sensitivity and empathy for her characters to convey the life changing experience they are facing, and I devoured the whole book in a matter of hours.

Told via three viewpoints, those of Sally the mother , Richard the father and Martha the half -sister, each of them have secrets they are hiding from the rest of their family. How did baby Oliver break his arm? Which of them knows more than they are letting on? As the story unfolds we are given a glimpse into their emotions as well as their whereabouts on the day of Oliver’s injury and have to decide who to believe and maybe who to forgive? But there is never ANY excuse for what happened to baby Oliver so for the author to actually evoke sympathetic feelings for this fragmented family shows how well crafted her storyline is.

But it was tough reading at times. The involvement of Social Services had me totally on edge right from the start. How many times as a parent do you make silly little remarks or share FB memes about your kids? I bet you will think again after this! Once social services start asking questions of Sally and Richards friends and family, little things they thought were insignificant throw away funny remarks are intricately examined under the microscope of authority. There are some other very topical issues tackled here too, and again they can make for uncomfortable reading at times, but the author handles them with an intelligent understanding of how these events can affect an ordinary family and how one little catalyst can cause that family to implode.

My emotions were played perfectly by this well developed and observed domestic suspense and after the ending I found it difficult to turn them off. The circumstances surrounding what happened and the outcome kept going around in my head and I was left wondering what became of the family and had so many alternative endings playing in my mind!

This is a thought provoking read where you may not particularly like many of the characters but you will be able to relate to some of the situations they find themselves in and care enough to want a happy resolution for them all.

Highly recommended by me.

Many thanks to Ebury digital for my advanced review copy of Hush Little Baby which is available to purchase now at Amazon UK.

Meet the author…

Joanna Barnard works as a counsellor. In 2014, she won the inaugural Bath Novel Award. A Northerner currently exiled in the South of England, Joanna misses flat vowels, friendly bus drivers and chips and gravy.

She is the author of Precocious and Hush Little Baby.

Published by


I am a Norfolk girl living in leafy Cheshire with my grumpy Scotsman. A mum and nana who lives for my family but who is also addicted to reading (and Marmite!) I will read almost anything but my preferred genres to review are psychological thrillers, crime procedural novels or women's fiction. My kindle is my life but I also have a substantial bookshelf in my cosy reading room where I can go to escape the stresses of family life with plenty of tea and chocolate. I am a member of netgalley and bookbridg. I review on Amazon, where I'm a Top 500 reviewer, and Goodreads. You can always find me over on Twitter @jocatrobertson for any review requests.

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