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.
Oh my! I can see why this book did so well in its native Germany and the translation held up incredibly well into English so I have a feeling that this is going to be one of the most talked about books this summer! It’s drawing comparisons with Room and I can see why but it is also a twisty thriller that keeps you guessing right up until it’s shocking denouement. But be prepared for the emotions to hit you over the last few pages-this is a book you will want to discuss with someone else who has read it the moment you put it down.
When Lena is hit by a car whilst escaping captivity, little does she realise that her traumatic time away from her family still isn’t over. There are still too many questions left unanswered including why her father refuses to believe that it’s actually his daughter laying in that hospital bed. The mystery deepens as she starts to receive anonymous notes -who are they from and will she ever be able to escape from her nightmare?
Dear Child is a gripping, darkly disturbing debut novel with some shocking twists. The character of Hannah especially was so carefully crafted and her child’s voice was perfectly pitched for her age and experience. I adored her. The relationship dynamics had a cleverly developed connection throughout and I was thoroughly bowled over by how everything came together.
I can’t wait to read more by Romy Hausmann and if you want to check out Dear Child, at the time of writing this review it’s on offer at 99p for the kindle edition over on Amazon. It’s a great piece of translated crime fiction for less than the price of a takeaway coffee.