Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Pretty Baby – Mary Kubica

Psychological Thriller 5*s
Psychological Thriller
5*s

When the lovely Cara from Harlequin offered me a proof copy of this book many months ago I nearly bit her hand off as I loved this author’s debut novel The Good Girl. Determined to save it until nearer to the publication date I duly added it to the spreadsheet and hid it at the back of the TBR cupboard so I wouldn’t be tempted… then the doubt set in, could it possibly live up to that first novel? Rest assured if anything I enjoyed it even more! The author has produced a book that is totally different but in many ways even more engaging. The writing style is more straightforward, we have chapters and the characters actions, if extreme at times, have a clear link to the people they are which are based upon the effects of the life they have led. This clear character progression means that this book feels like it has more depth but loses none of the tension that made The Good Girl such an enjoyable read.

Heidi is a mother to pre-teen Zoe, wife to hot-shot financier Chris and fervent defender of those marginalised by society. She works with refugees and at times Chris feels she puts her client’s needs above those of her family while at the same time not losing sight of the fact that this was what attracted him to her in the first place. When she spots a young girl with a baby one April morning she is moved to help but I’m sure many readers will share Chris’s reticence that moving the girl into their apartment is really a good idea! She knows nothing about Willow and the girl doesn’t appear to want to share anything with Heidi although she allows her to help with baby Ruby who has suffered from life on the streets of Fullerton in the state of Illinois.

Heidi and Chris both narrate their version of events in the present tense however this is actually in the past in relation to Willow’s tale as told to Louise Flores. The direction her story takes quickly casts a dark shadow on the everyday happenings, well as everyday as things can be with a homeless girl and baby, in the Wood household. The three characters narrate the whole tale, each one heading up a new chapter.

This was one of those books that I knew more or less instantly that I would enjoy despite finding Heidi a little bit too sanctimonious for my tastes. As well having three-dimensional characters the storyline moves at a brisk pace with the tension ever-present in my mind from the first time we hear from Willow as I desperately tried to predict what events had caused her to be being questioned by Louise Flores. In another much-loved device, Willow is a fan of books so we have glimpses of her reading Anne of Green Gables to baby Lily, a quote from Peter Pan and some fun facts about all sorts of things which have been gleaned from non-fiction books. These touches whilst never truly relieving the tension, did temper my distrust of Willow, after all someone who loves Anne of Green Gables can’t possibly be all bad!

This was one of those books where I simply had to keep turning the pages, I needed to know what had happened and why and I’m pleased to say as the pace quickened towards the denouement it didn’t end up feeling rushed, and in my opinion the ending was a fitting one.

I highly recommend this book for lovers of crime fiction with a strong leaning towards the psychological, particularly those who enjoy complex characters and narration from different perspectives. Another definite winner from Mary Kubica; I can’t give more than the five stars I awarded to The Good Girl, but if I could, I would!

You can read my review of The Good Girl here

Author:

A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

24 thoughts on “Pretty Baby – Mary Kubica

  1. So very glad you enjoyed this, Cleo. It sounds like a compelling read, and the context has so many possibilities. It sounds as thought the characters are really interesting, too.

  2. First of all, I always think it’s interesting to compare the covers between the US version and UK version. If they are different. I guess this one is a reflection of the fact that the girl is noticed at the train station? I haven’t read any of Mary Kubica’s books yet, but plan to. I hope to get this one very soon and then go back for The Good Girl. Lovely review, Cleo! 🙂

    1. In this instance I prefer the US cover but I think the link is made better on the UK one with the train station… This was an excellent read but The Good Girl is too. I do like it when author’s come up with very different but equally good books. Thank you for your kind words.

  3. It’s always a worry when you approach a second book after the first was so good. Glad this one lived up to the first.
    This is a great cover. Did it ‘fit’ the story?

    1. As I mentioned I was hopeful that this would deliver as much as her debut novel and very happy that this was such a great book. The cover depicts the train station where Heidi first saw Willow and baby Ruby. The early part of the action revolves around the ‘L’ route in Illinois.

  4. Even though I LOVED The Good Girl, I loved this one even more as well. The characters were just flawed enough to make them questionable, so it was easy to like AND dislike them. As I neared the end, I couldn’t believe how it all played out, but it all fit together. Thanks for the great review!

  5. Happy for you that this book was a compelling read. Sometimes an author has hit or miss with an audience. They’re almost like athletes where they’re expected to crank out good performances every time.

    1. There are so many variables in a book – the writing can be great but the subject matter not to my personal taste or the writer can introduce a character that is outside my experience and therefore I find it hard to immerse myself in the plot etc. etc.

  6. So glad this didn’t disappoint. Have been looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Will have no trouble laying out the cash now 😄

  7. This sounds great Cleo although I’m still to read The Good Girl. I have a copy just haven’t had time to read it yet. Oh the perils of a bibliophile!! 😉

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