Moving and disturbing

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The Child by Pascale Kramer

Book Review:  4 out of 5 star rating

Claude is a former gym teacher who is battling cancer and losing. He lives in a low-income neighborhood with his wife, Simone.  There has been rioting in their neighborhood with the constant sound of police sirens.  There isn’t much calm inside their home either as they each in their own way try to adjust to the end of Claude’s days.  It’s just the two of them until a young boy comes for a visit and throws everything into even more discord.

The author doesn’t flinch at describing the horrors of a death from cancer. That and the effects of his decline on those around him make for a very disturbing read.  But as in her book “Autopsy of a Father”, Ms. Kramer writes in such a poetical manner that her books are beautiful to read despite the subject matter.  This is an in depth look at the end of a marriage as a result of death that I know will stay with me for some time to come.  It’s a short book, only about 150 pages, and I hope to read it again one day, not so much as to know what happens in the book as I already know that but just to enjoy the writing again.

Recommended.

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Very good psychological drama

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The Child by Fiona Barton

Book Review:  4 out of 5 star rating

Kate Waters is a news reporter hot on the trail of a story that she hopes will be a big one. A baby’s skeleton has been found in a construction site.  Kate can’t get the baby out of her mind.  What tragedy was behind the burial of this infant child?  Could this baby be the one who was stolen from a maternity ward decades ago?  As she digs deeper, secrets come to the surface that will change the lives of three women forever.

The reporter Kate also appears in Ms. Barton’s first book, “The Widow”. The chapters in her new book alternate between three women.  First of all is, of course, Kate Waters, the reporter.  She’s relentless in the pursuit of truth.  Angela is the mother of little Alice who she alleges was stolen from a maternity ward shortly after her birth.  Although Angela has two other children, she has never gotten over the loss of her child and longs for closure.  And Emma, a woman who seems obsessed with this baby.

The beginning of the book starts off slowly as the author builds her story. It was slow enough that I was considering giving the book 3 stars but the second half of the book pushed my rating up to 4 stars because that’s when I truly became involved in the story. The twist didn’t come as too much of a surprise but it didn’t matter as the main thrust of this book isn’t the “who done it” or even the why but the effect on the characters.  I loved how much Kate cared for the people she connected with.  I think we have such a callous opinion of reporters, only out for the story no matter what it costs others, so it was refreshing to read of one with a heart.  This isn’t so much of a thriller as an in depth character study of three women.  We know from the beginning that the baby has died so there’s no suspense there.  But the author does a very good job of giving us a look into the hearts and minds of women whose lives were so monumentally affected by one act.

Recommended.

This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.