Dear Child
by Hausmann, Romy

"A woman held captive finally escapes-but can she ever really get away? Gone Girl meets Room in this page-turning, #1 internationally bestselling thriller from one of Germany's hottest new talents "Chilling, original and mesmerizing." -David Baldacci Publishers Weekly Top 10 Mysteries & Thrillers of Fall 2020. A windowless shack in the woods. A dash to safety. But when a woman finally escapes her captor, the end of the story is only the beginning of her nightmare. She says her name is Lena. Lena, who disappeared without a trace 14 years prior. She fits the profile. She has the distinctive scar. But her family swears that she isn't their Lena. The little girl who escaped the woods with her knows things she isn't sharing, and Lena's devastated father is trying to piece together details that don't quite fit. Lena is desperate to begin again, but something tells her that her tormentor still wants to get back what belongs to him...and that she may not be able to truly escape until the whole truth about what happened in the woods finally emerges. Twisty, suspenseful, and psychologically clever, Romy Hausmann's Dear Child is a captivating thriller with all the ingredients of a breakout hit"-

Romy Hausmann lives with her family at a remote house in the woods in Stuttgart, Germany. Dear Child is her English-language debut.

*Starred Review* There are so many twists-all of them shocking-in TV writer Hausmann's debut thriller that it's hard to offer a plot description without giving the game away. In short, the book starts where Emma Donoghue's Room ends: with a kidnapped, long-imprisoned woman escaping. On the other side of the story are Matthias and Karin Beck, whose daughter, Lena, has been missing for years. When the Becks show up for an emotional reunion, the twists and turns start, told from the points of view of the imprisoned woman, two children born in the freezing cabin where she was held, the Becks, and those trying to help the traumatized former prisoners build new lives. One of the children, Hannah, is a major character here. She is meticulously written, with her autism, trauma, and echoes of the horrific life she thought normal combining to create a child, like Jack in Room, whom readers will never forget. As unsettling as they come, this outstanding debut, translated from German, is recommended not only to Donoghue's fans, but also to those who enjoy true crime, as the verisimilitude here is second to none. The movie can't be far behind. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

A father's quest for his kidnapped daughter, gone 13 years, may finally have borne fruit. Hausmann's debut, translated from the German, revolves around a young woman who has been held captive in a windowless forest cabin on the border between Bavaria and the Czech Republic. As the story opens, she has escaped, one of her two children in tow, only to be hit by a car on the road just outside the woods. She's in intensive care, unable to explain much of anything; her daughter, Hannah, though extremely intelligent, has developmental issues that make her unhelpful to investigators as well. Once it's determined that the injured woman's name is Lena, the police are able to connect her with a 13-year-old cold case involving the disappearance of a college student in Munich. The round-robin narration switches among Lena, Hannah, and Lena's father, Matthias Beck. Matthias has been counting and cursing the days—4,825 of them—since his daughter went missing. Now, at last, he gets the call he's been waiting for, and he and his wife accompany the police investigator, a close family friend, to the hospital—only to find out the woman in the bed is not their Lena. But wait—there's a little girl in the hallway who is their daughter's spitting image. Hausmann's novel has been billed as Room meets Gone Girl for its combination of mother and kids locked up in a hidey-hole with dueling, often dissimulating, unreliable narrators. But both of those blockbuster antecedents are strongly character-driven. Here, possibly in the interest of withholding information, the author has failed to make the central characters seem like real people, and the supporting ones are barely outlined. For this reason, the reveals in the latter part of the book are less exciting than they should be. The plot is sufficiently creepy and twisty, but without well-developed characters, the reader's buy-in will be limited. Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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