Book review: Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica

Sunday, August 2, 2015 Permalink

All of the book bloggers I know RAVED about Mary Kubica’s debut novel, The Good Girl (not to be confused with Gone Girl, of course!). I’m yet to read it but jumped at the chance to read and review her second offering, Pretty Baby.

The blurb

She sees the teenage girl on the train platform, standing in the pouring rain, clutching an infant in her arms. She boards a train and is whisked away. But she can’t get the girl out of her head…

Heidi Wood has always been a charitable woman: she works for a nonprofit, takes in stray cats. Still, her husband and daughter are horrified when Heidi returns home one day with a young woman named Willow and her four-month-old baby in tow. Disheveled and apparently homeless, this girl could be a criminal—or worse. But despite her family’s objections, Heidi invites Willow and the baby to take refuge in their home.

Heidi spends the next few days helping Willow get back on her feet, but as clues into Willow’s past begin to surface, Heidi is forced to decide how far she’s willing to go to help a stranger. What starts as an act of kindness quickly spirals into a story far more twisted than anyone could have anticipated.

pretty baby by mary kubica

Australian cover

My thoughts

This novel wasn’t at all like I anticipated. I can’t really explain why without giving too much away, but I think the beauty of this book is that no one behaves in a way you’d predict.  Both in their roles as a mother, father, husband, wife, do-gooder and so forth; AND in the roles we expect them to play in this thriller.

I read so much of this genre I find myself making assumptions…. “Oh, of course, this is THAT sort of novel,” I think and continue knowing what’s coming. Sometimes I’m right, but in this case I was very wrong. There are ultimately signs and while there’s no bizarre twist at the end, there’s this kinda creepy feeling of dread as you turn page after page. The players will surprise you and they’re really not who you think they are.

The book’s well written and unfolds through the viewpoints of Heidi, her husband Chris and Willow. The story of Willow in particular, is shared across several timeframes. We learn how she came to be standing on the platform garnering Heidi’s attention; we see her in the house with Heidi and her family and wonder what secrets she’s hiding; and we meet her ‘after’….

Others have said this isn’t as impressive as Kubica’s debut, so given I really enjoyed this, I really really need to add The Good Girl to my ever-growing must-read list.

US cover - much prettier I think!

US cover – much prettier I think!

Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica was released by Harlequin Books in Australia on 1 August 2015.

I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. 

Buy now at Booktopia (Australia) or Amazon(International). 

Update: I note Booktopia is offering a copy of The Good Girl FREE when you buy this! Argh!!! #want

10 Comments
  • Michelle Weaver (@pinkypoinker)
    August 2, 2015

    I’m reading The Good Girl right now. It’s been taking me a while to get through. I like it but I’m not dying to get back to it if you know what I mean. I need to read more by Tammy Cohen. That book had me rivetted.

    • Debbish
      August 2, 2015

      Oh that’s disappointing. I was like that when I finally got to Gone Girl. I’d read so many better books but I was several years late in getting to it!

  • Harvee
    August 2, 2015

    Not sure whether to read or not….I liked The Girl on the Train and if these are anything like that, I’d probably like them.

    • Debbish
      August 2, 2015

      Yes, very much like that Harvee… psychological thrillers!

  • Emma
    August 2, 2015

    I’ve heard nothing but good things about this and really want to read. I enjoyed good bar one last twist at the end so have high hopes for this.

    • Debbish
      August 2, 2015

      It was hard to describe without saying why it surprised me… so I hope you enjoy it!

  • Elizabeth
    August 2, 2015

    I’ve been wondering about Mary Kubica, haven’t read either book. Lately, I’ve read several books, some thrillers, with unlikable characters that left me feeling sad or depressed, but not let down by the story. I’m going for fun and light with the next few, but will pick one of these up soon.

    • Debbish
      August 2, 2015

      Ah yes… I’m relying on the Sue Grafton for fun and light (well, it will be a mystery or murder, but not grizzly and probably not involve psychopathic killers!). It’s good to mix it up now and again!

  • Book Muster Down Under
    August 14, 2015

    I haven’t got a copy of this one yet but am dying to read it – never mind that The Good Girl is still sitting on my shelf, yet to be read!

    • Debbish
      August 14, 2015

      I’m actually getting a copy of The Good Girl so really excited about that as I read a lot of positive reviews when it came out!

I'd love to hear your thoughts