Book Review: “Dear Child” by Romy Hausmann

dear child

Thank you to Macmillan Publishing who provided me with an Advanced Reader’s copy of this book. Originally published in Germany last year, the American edition can be expected October 2020.

Lena Beck goes missing fourteen years before the book starts. Her heartbroken parents still hope that she will be found and give them closure on this case. A woman matching her description shows up in the hospital after a hit-and-run accident with a mysterious young girl, Hannah, in tow. Lena’s father, Matthias, swears that the woman is not his Lena but insists that she holds the key to finding his daughter, dead or alive. The book goes back and forth between the views of of “Lena,” Hannah, and Matthias giving the reader bits and pieces of perspectives relevant to Lena’s case. Hannah’s chapters are very reminiscent of the child’s voice in Room and provides an air of innocence and naivete. Both voices of “Lena” and Matthias provide an unreliable narrator whose story is tainted with secrets and questions. This novel will strike readers with classic suspense mixed with emotion and psychological thriller elements.

The cover of this book really spoke to me before I even started reading it. If you read Room by Emma Donaghue you will know what I’m talking about when I talk about a child narrator. The audiobook was even more creepy because it is read by a child and it has that eerie tension to it. The cover of Hausmann’s book does the same thing because it looks like a child’s drawing. Hannah also does a lot of drawing as therapy after she gets to the hospital so it ties together nicely with the narrative.

This book holds lots of unanswered questions and readers will find their minds constantly moving, trying to figure out the subtle connections between characters. American audiences might be confused by the sometimes blatant European terms or spellings but they are easily overlooked in light of the pace of the book. This is a great story and will speak to readers of Room, Gone Girl, and similar books in the suspense genre. Be sure to look for this title in bookstores and your local library this fall and in the meantime, add it to your Goodreads TBR shelf. Happy reading!

2 thoughts on “Book Review: “Dear Child” by Romy Hausmann

  1. It may appear to be idle curiosity on my part but do American readers really get “confused by the sometimes blatant European terms or spellings”? After all, us European readers can deal with “blatant American terms or spelling”? I have worked over the years in businesses where I’ve been required to write in UK English or in US English and it’s something I’ve often wondered about so I’d be really grateful if you or anyone would humour me by discussing thIs.

    1. Personally, I’m familiar with UK terms, but this book contained more Germanic locations and words that I had to read over again. It’s never kept me from enjoying a story or understanding it, it just reminds me that it takes place in Europe.

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