Dear child by Romy Hausmann

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Quercus, 2019. ISBN: 9781529401424.
(Age: Adult - Senior Secondary) Highly recommended for people who can cope with books in the vein of Room by Emma Donoghue. Locked in a windowless cabin in the woods, Lena's life is bound up by rules made up by the man who captured her to be the mother to his two children. Everything is regimented, and there is severe punishment if she deviates from, or questions, his demands. Lena manages to break free from the cabin one night accompanied by Hannah, but her escape raises many questions. Who is she? What has happened to Lena who disappeared 14 years ago? Who is the man found dead in the cabin and what has happened to Hannah's little brother?
This is a tightly plotted thriller that keeps the reader guessing the whole way through with its twisty, exciting, and often heart-wrenching events. There are many tense moments, and the description of Lena's treatment in the cabin is not for the faint hearted. It is also disturbing to read about her attempts to make a normal life again and the grief and heartbreak of Lena's father Matthias and his desire to find out what happened to Lena is very compelling.
Written in three voices, that of Jasmin, Hannah and Matthias, the story unfolds as they tell their version of what has happened and how they feel.
The conclusion is stunning and very memorable. Dear child will leave the reader determined to read any novels that this talented author might produce in the future.
Pat Pledger