Maximum Shelf: DEAR CHILD (3/25/20)

Today’s Shelf Awareness Maximum Shelf pick is Romy Hausmann’s English language debut, a page-turning, internationally bestselling thriller that is GONE GIRL meets ROOM: DEAR CHILD.

In a windowless shack in the woods, Lena and her two children live a life that follows the rules set by their captor, the father: Meals, bathroom visits, study time are strictly scheduled and meticulously observed. He says he is protecting them from the dangers lurking in the outside world.

One day Lena manages to flee, but the nightmare continues. There is the question of whether she really is the woman named “Lena,” who disappeared without a trace fourteen years ago?—she has the distinctive scar, but the family swears she isn’t the girl they lost. The police and Lena’s family are all desperately trying to piece together a puzzle that doesn’t quite seem to fit. And it feels to Lena as if the tormentor she fled still somehow wants to get her back.

DEAR CHILD is told from three points-of-view: the woman who escaped and is coming to terms with life outside the shack; the missing Lena’s father, who would do anything to get her back and is becoming more and more unhinged; and the daughter raised entirely in that isolated world, a little girl with Asperger’s and a photographic memory who may know more than she’s letting on.

Twisty, suspenseful, and psychologically clever, this captivating thriller, which starts where others end, has all the ingredients of a breakout hit.

“The author also explores the notions of imprisonment and freedom, how neither is tied to four walls and physical space. After moving back to her own place, the woman who fought and escaped from her abductor realizes she’s still a prisoner. She keeps her doors locked and shuns company, allowing only her former girlfriend to visit. Her fears, Matthias’s savior complex and Hannah’s desire to return to the only home she knew collide in a white-knuckle climax. And just when readers think it’s okay to exhale, the final note of hope–of one woman’s determination to find beauty beyond boundaries–will take their breath away.”–Shelf Awareness

See the full summary, review, and interview with Romy Hausmann on AND enter to win an ARC!

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