Dear Child by Romy Hausmann

Firstly, a huge thank you to Quercus Books and NetGalley for providing me with this copy in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher: Quercus Books
Publication Date:
Length: 352 pages
Psychological Thriller | Mystery

CW: sexual assault, kidnapping, domestic violence

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.



Now, as Dear Child is a psychological thriller there are, naturally, a lot of aspects to the plot I can’t really say much about. Thrillers aren’t my usual go to in terms of novels but there was something about this novel that really drew me to it. Reading the description it was somewhat reminiscent of Emma Donoghue’s Room, which is easily one of my favourite books however, Dear Child is much darker and a much more complex puzzle that you need to put together. 

I really liked the fact that this novel was told from the perspectives of several characters, whilst you would think that this would give you more information that you, as the reader, would be in a better position in figuring out what is going on than the characters themselves – that isn’t entirely accurate when it comes to this novel. Whilst you do have information that other characters don’t, this just means that you have more questions that you want answers too, which is great. I thought we were presented with an interesting mix of characters with Lena, her 13 year old daughter Hannah and Lena’s dad Matthias. All of the characters were very complex as a result of what happened 13 years ago, which did make some of their more questionable decisions understandable but it could still be a little frustrating to read at times. I found this to be the case particularly with Matthias. 

Although the novel had three different protagonists and regularly jumped between the past and the present, I found the novel very easy to follow and it kept me hooked throughout. I genuinely didn’t know what was going to happen and whilst I didn’t see the reveal at the end of the novel coming it still fit together brilliantly and you could see how much thought Hausmann had put into the plot and the little details. 

Overall, this is a wonderful thriller debut from Hausmann which makes me very excited to read her future work!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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