Published by Corvus
ebook & Paperback : 6 April 2017
approx 336 pages
Zoe and Ollie Morley tried for years to have a baby and couldn't. They turned to adoption and their dreams came true when they were approved to adopt a little girl from birth. They named her Evie. Seven years later, the family has moved to Yorkshire and grown in number: a wonderful surprise in the form of baby Ben. As a working mum it's not easy for Zoe, but life is good. But then Evie begins to receive letters and gifts. The sender claims to be her birth father. He has been looking for his daughter. And now he is coming to take her back...
The story starts in London with parents-to-be Ollie and Zoe rushing to a hospital for the birth of a baby, we then jump to 7 years later and to their son Ben’s second birthday party where the family are living in Yorkshire. Zoe is frazzled, having to cope on her own without Ollie’s support and Evie, their oldest child is behaving strangely, is she just jealous of Ben getting all the attention or is there another reason for her bad behaviour?
The first thing that I really noted during the early part of this story was the difference in Ollie’s behaviour. Whilst seven years previously he and Zoe were excitedly getting ready for the hospital and looking forward to bringing home a baby, he was a devoted and caring husband but just five short years later, he seems to be spending as much time away from the family as possible, pleading work commitments. It’s no wonder that Zoe feels as though she is a single mother and sometimes drops one or two of the balls she is juggling.
The Stolen Child is a really enjoyable suspense story that kept me intrigued all the way through and the setting of the Ilkley moors was so descriptive and atmospheric. The chapters are easy to follow as there is a timeline introducing each one. As well as seeing the main drama unfolding, we occasionally hear the voice of another unknown person; whoever it is clearly believes that their daughter has been stolen and wants her back. I have to admit there were times when I felt so frustrated with some of Zoe’s decisions that I wanted to shake some sense into her and on several occasions I was silently shouting ‘no don’t do that’. I do have to commend her though for following through with her intuition and gut feeling – she could sense some things were wrong even when others, for example the police, thought they knew better.
The plot is well structured and as you would expect from this genre, nothing is quite as it seems. I was feeling a bit smug as I thought I had worked out who was responsible however a clever writer always has a trick or two up her sleeve and the twists and turns in this story meant that by the time the big reveal came I had suspected everyone in turn. As well as the suspense element, the story focuses on the increasingly fractured relationship between Zoe and Ollie and also that of Evie and her adopted family. What does Evie really think – does she feel loved enough? Does she feel that Ben is their favourite because he is their biological child?
A recommended read – and such a lovely cover too! I had already bought the author’s first book, Bone By Bone, which I have yet to read – if that is as good as this one then I’m definitely missing out and need to bump it up the TBR mountain.
My thanks to the publisher and to Lovereading for the paperback copy to review.
About the author:
‘Bone by Bone‘, published by Corvus Books, is my first psychological thriller. It was longlisted for a CWA Steel Dagger Award, and was nominated as one of the best crime and thriller books of the year by the Guardian and the Sunday Express. It’s recently been published as an audio book by Audible.
My second thriller, ‘The Stolen Child’, is out in April. It’s set in Ilkley, where I grew up. I spent a large proportion of my childhood rambling over the moor, as you’ll probably be able to tell!
I live in Bristol, with my husband and daughter.