I stare at the newspaper article about a baby snatched from the back of a car thirty years ago, and wonder why someone would post it through my door. Looking closer, my blood freezes. The little girl in the photo has an unusual scar – just like mine. I’ve never met anyone with one like it. Is this stolen child… me?
Trembling with shock, I know I have to confront my mother. My parents got me through a horrific accident, helped me find a job I love teaching art, and even with buying my own house. But was it all built on lies?
She tells me the day I was born was the best day of her life, and I’m flooded with guilt for questioning her – but why do I catch her burning papers in the garden the next day?
Then I come home to find a woman sitting on my doorstep, covered in bruises and claiming she knows who abducted me. I don’t know if I can trust her – or if I’ll be the next to get hurt.
Because all the while, I’ve been hiding my own secret. Does whoever sent the article know what really happened the day of my accident? Desperate for the truth, I break into the house of my supposed kidnapper. Inside, I find a handwritten list of names. A shiver goes down my spine as I realise wasn’t the only child to be stolen.
Then I hear a key in the lock, and I know my life is in terrible danger…
An absolutely addictive read that will have you racing through the pages and questioning everything you thought you knew about your family. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train, Lisa Jewell and Shari Lapena.
As soon as I read the book description of The Child in the Photo, it struck me as something I’d enjoy reading. And, for the most part, I did.
Hope receives a newspaper cutting through the post about a stolen baby some thirty-odd years ago, and upon closer examination of the image she recognises herself in the child by virtue of an unusually-shaped ear. That sets her mind racing: could she be that child? Was she stolen and raised by people who weren’t her parents?
Her confrontation with her mum, I found disconcerting. It made me wonder how I’d react in the same circumstances. But I understood her need for the truth, so it made sense for her to track down the mother of the stolen baby. Not only does she find her “birth mother”, but on returning home, the person who posted the newspaper clipping is waiting for her, and she claims to be the real daughter of the couple who stole Hope (Baby Jane).
How Hope deals with all this new information is the crux of the story, aided and abetted by her best friend Stephen, and her sweet, elderly neighbour, Mr Bonner. Was she the only child to have been stolen? How did knowing the truth affect her life and relationship with her mum? Great stuff!
There’s a side story about an accident that Hope had, which rendered her an amputee that, for me didn’t tie into the story as much as I expected. Because all the while, I’ve been hiding my own secret. Does whoever sent the article know what really happened the day of my accident? For the life of me I don’t recall finding out the answer to that question posed in the blurb. There was also an issue around a phone call Hope received from her birth mother’s stepson that also seemed to run out of steam.
That said, I did enjoy this book and found the premise fascinating. The dilemma facing Hope caused her to reflect on her past and to see for the first time the lies and drama around her birth. At times, it felt as though she was being led a merry dance and I had to wonder whether she’d come out of it all with her family relationships intact.
A riveting read with a few surprises on the way.