Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Stolen Child

Released: 03-27-15
When I first began Stolen Child, I thought I was going to be reading a psychological thriller about a stolen baby and the hunt to find her kidnapper. This book was less a “thriller” and more of a psychological character study of two very different women, their families, and the tragedy that shaped all of their lives. I absolutely loved this book and found it utterly fascinating. As a mother, some parts were really hard for me to read; I kept placing myself in Carla’s shoes, wondering how I would have dealt with the kidnapping of my child. My emotions were running so high at the beginning of this book that a few times I actually slammed my kindle down and yelled (to no one in particular), “Enough! I can’t read this anymore!” Of course, a few minutes later I was stealthily sneaking back towards said kindle - I just had to find out what happened next! I love books that can invoke this type of emotion from me and I can honestly say it doesn’t happen very often!

Stolen Child begins from the viewpoint of Susanne and we quickly learn that her body has failed and betrayed her yet again, she’s just miscarried her fifth baby. I instantly felt for her and connected deeply with her heartache and despair. Laura Elliot, the author, was brilliant in starting the story this way; allowing the reader to both sympathize with and despise Susanne as she plots out her evil plan. Carla on the other hand is initially portrayed as having it all; she’s beautiful, has a loving husband, an easy pregnancy, and is becoming more famous every day. This celebrity like status puts Carla on the outskirts of the “everyday” mom and I actually didn’t connect with her character right away.

Of course, this all changes as the story progresses. Carla’s devastating loss and never-ending determination to find her daughter Isobel made me fall absolutely in love with her! Even when everyone else gives up and believes her daughter is dead she pushes on; starting her own investigation and ultimately choosing to continue in her search rather than saving her marriage. Susanne on the other hand becomes cold and distant as her paranoia of being “found out” eats away at her. At times she even becomes physically and emotionally abusive with not just her daughter Joy, but also her husband and this ultimately destroys their marriage.

I love how Laura Elliot developed Carla and Susanne’s characters; they both took massive U-turns and I was pleasantly surprised. It was this character development that really kept me reading! I also thought the character of Joy/Isobel was wonderful and Elliot captured the emotions of a teenager whose life has been torn to shreds perfectly. Throughout the story we’re introduced to several secondary characters whose relevance is not initially clear. Slowly, these characters and their story-lines become intertwined with the main plot-line in the most unexpected ways. The author does a fantastic job pulling these interweaving plot-lines together and giving the story a very plausible ending that left me thoroughly satisfied!

The Stolen Child would make an excellent choice for any book club and there are reading group questions provided at the back of the book. I will definitely be recommending this to my book club for our May reading selection. Highly recommend and anxiously waiting to read Laura Elliot’s next book!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Bookouture and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Author: Laura Elliot
Formats: eBook & Paperback
Pages: 399