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.
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.
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.
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.