Title: The Perfect Child
Author: Lucinda Berry
Release Date: March 1, 2019
Book Form: e-ARC
Page Count: 370
Genre: Adult Mystery/Thriller
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Disclaimer: I received this arc for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
“A page-turning debut of suspense about a young couple desperate to have a child of their own—and the unsettling consequences of getting what they always wanted.
Christopher and Hannah are a happily married surgeon and nurse with picture-perfect lives. All that’s missing is a child. When Janie, an abandoned six-year-old, turns up at their hospital, Christopher forms an instant connection with her, and he convinces Hannah they should take her home as their own.
But Janie is no ordinary child, and her damaged psyche proves to be more than her new parents were expecting. Janie is fiercely devoted to Christopher, but she acts out in increasingly disturbing ways, directing all her rage at Hannah. Unable to bond with Janie, Hannah is drowning under the pressure, and Christopher refuses to see Janie’s true nature.
Hannah knows that Janie is manipulating Christopher and isolating him from her, despite Hannah’s attempts to bring them all together. But as Janie’s behavior threatens to tear Christopher and Hannah apart, the truth behind Janie’s past may be enough to push them all over the edge.” – Goodreads
This book was so stressful. Reading about Janie and her behavior had me on edge the entire time, I was worried about Christopher and especially Hannah throughout the book. Janie’s behavior was unpredictable and violent, and it was honestly scary. What do you do when you’re in danger but no one will believe you because she’s only a child?
I really enjoyed this for the most part. It was compulsively readable. I tend to read ebooks at night, and I stayed up super late reading this one. It had me on edge and I had to find out what was going to happen next. I cared for these characters, they felt real and I didn’t want to see any harm come to anyone. Which ended up being one of the things that stressed me out the most.
I wouldn’t recommend this book if you’re sensitive to child abuse. There’s a lot of talk about child abuse in this book, and I can imagine it being hard or even impossible to read for some people. I felt I needed to point that out before recommending this book.
As for the negatives – the husband, Christopher, was absolutely infuriating. He made the most ridiculous decisions and never thought things through, and never listened to his wife. His behavior with Janie was honestly kind of weird, and their bond just didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. I would have like to see Christopher make smarter decisions and show that he cared for his wife.
My other problem – no spoilers – is that this book basically has no ending. I won’t elaborate, but it just – ends. There’s no conclusion, and that was frustrating after investing so much time into it. I wanted to see what happened next, thought I was at the end of the chapter, but turned the page and found the acknowledgements. I was really upset, because I wanted to know more.
Overall, I mostly enjoyed this book. It was tense, anxiety-inducing, and interesting. It was genuinely scary at times, especially if you’re particularly empathetic towards children or are a parent. I would recommend this book to those looking for a tense thriller, who know they can handle the more difficult parts of this book – and the lack of an ending.
My Rating: ★★★.5