Romy Hausmann

Dear Child

"" of those books that you want to read without putting it down. " "


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.

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I wasn't expecting great things from 'Dear Child' as I tend to choose to read books set in the UK or USA, and this was set in Germany. Although the concept of the abduction of a young woman had been done many times before, I felt 'Dear Child' looked at the event from a different perspective. Right from the start the author gives away that a woman has escaped from a cabin and her abductor, but not everything is as it seems. The plot is told by different characters in the story; Lena, who has been abducted; Matthias, Lena's father; and Hannah, Lena's child. The time frame flits from present to past, and deals not just with the physical elements of the abduction and escape, but also the emotional trauma which I felt really made this book different to others. Hausmann really manages to capture not only the raw emotion but also shows how each person is affected differently with the fall out of the abduction. Each of the characters has their own flaws, making them just that little more realistic. And as the plot continued, so did the depth of each of the characters, with some of them revealing thoughts and actions that better explain how and why the abduction happened. 'Dear Child' is one of those books that you want to read without putting it down. Often a book will end with a big reveal and everyone disappears into the sunset, seemingly unaffected by the events they have just lived through. This book shows that after an abduction, and even if the victim makes it home, there is often no happy ending.

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