EXCERPT: He had returned and was standing over me, smiling, like before. I calculated that I’d been his prisoner for just over half a day now, although my senses and my intellect were at odds over this. in the darkness time stood still. And yet I still felt just about okay, so couldn’t have been here much longer, I was tired, and had a headache, which I interpreted as a sign of dehydration, but my brain was still functioning. Even if all it could offer me was: after two or three days without water, you’ll be dead.
‘Have you calmed down?’
I resisted the impulse to scream and just gave him a silent nod. ‘Very good,’ he said, then turned around and went to the door. I waited for the click of the light switch.
It didn’t happen. The light stayed on. He even left the door slightly ajar when he went out.
Forgetting to breathe, I stared at the door, open. I tugged fitfully at my shackles, without taking my eyes off the door, the open door, just five or six strides away from me, beyond reach.I blinked away a few stupid tears. I wouldn’t get very far in any case. He must be coming back soon; why else would he leave the light on and the door open? All I could do was wait.
ABOUT THIS BOOK: 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.
MY THOUGHTS: The synopsis of Dear Child by Romy Hausmann gives you absolutely no idea of the depth of horror and terror this woman, Lena, is facing. None whatsovever.
The story is told from three points of view – ‘Lena’, Hannah (the daughter), and Matthias (Lena’s father). Sounds simple? It’s not. Everyone has secrets, things that they won’t reveal. And everyone lies.
I didn’t love this book at the beginning. I felt slightly confused, (a deliberate ploy by the author I now think) and was wondering what all the fuss was about. I soon found out. I was a little over half way before I put this book down for the first time. And then only because I had to go to work. I read the second half after I got home last night, unable to go to sleep until I had finished in the early hours of this morning, and then unable to go to sleep anyway. I never guessed Lena’s captor, although I suspected a number of people. Some of them more than once.
Decidedly creepy. Jump at any noise in the night, real or imagined, creepy.
I believe this is Hausmann’s first book. She has written a psychological thriller that is both chilling and absorbing. And one that will have you glancing back over your shoulder, shivers running up your spine.
‘Love. It’s all love. No matter how sick, distorted and misunderstood, it’s still love. Love that spurs us on. That turns us into monsters, each in our own way.’
THE AUTHOR: How did I, a girl from rural Swabia with glasses and a big bum, end up in this business in the first place? The reason? Because nobody believed I could make it. But it was what I wanted. I wanted to be in a profession where I could meet people, listen to stories and retell them, and I wanted to make a success of my career.
I work at my old kitchen table. It’s not unusual to see a raccoon on the terrace in the evenings, gorging on wine grapes. I do yoga, chop wood and grow vegetables in my greenhouse. And, of course, I talk about writing.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Quercus Books via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of Dear Child by Romy Hausmann for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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