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Title: The Perfect Child
Author: Lucinda Berry
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publish Date: March 1, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller
My Rating: 3/5
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.
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Christopher and Hannah are a happy couple, but they long to have a child. When Janie, an abandoned six-year-old, shows up at the hospital where they work, Christopher wants to foster her. Despite the warnings about raising a child with an abusive past, they take her into their home and family. They are not prepared for the challenges they face.
The Perfect Child is told with alternating points of view – Christopher, Hannah, and Piper, Janie’s social worker. Christopher adores Janie and finds it difficult to believe she is capable of the harmful behavior others warn him about. Hannah is more realistic about the difficulties they face. Piper is Janie’s social worker, and presents an outsider’s view of the family and their behaviors.
It’s no surprise that Janie suffers from physical and mental issues due to her abusive past. With their medical background, Christopher and Hannah do seem like the perfect couple to take care of Janie. Unfortunately, Christopher is blinded by his love, and Janie’s manipulation, to see how bad things are. My biggest issue with this book was Christopher’s disregard for Hannah’s concerns and the safety of their family. If Christopher hadn’t been such a dolt, this would have been a better book for me.
The Perfect Child disturbing domestic thriller. While it is clear something very bad has happened, the very bad thing isn’t revealed until late in the book. Makes for a suspenseful read. Good for fans of Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage.