This is the sort of book to read when your own family gets too much and we all know that season is fast approaching!
There is a knock at Cat Winter’s door in the middle of the night, going through the possibilities of which family member has had a disaster requiring such an action Cat is wrong-footed when she realises the young child, about the same age as her own daughter Freya, who stands pale and unspeaking, is actually her husband Tom’s daughter. Yes, not the news you really want especially as Ruby’s mother has been found dead and there is no-one else to take her.
Firstly I’m so pleased that the author has a sense of humour about this scenario.
As Tom spoke I couldn’t help thinking just how bloody old and worn and unoriginal the story sounded, a clapped-out tale of a faithless husband led on by some mysterious femme fatale. If you saw it on TV, you’d reach for the remote. This wasn’t us. This wasn’t who we were meant to be. So how was it that it was what we had become?
Her assurance that this was a somewhat overused storyline led me to believe that there was far more on offer, and boy there was. Ruby is a beautiful child but Cat simply can’t relate to her and becomes increasingly anxious about the way she interacts with Freya. This might sound overly dramatic but we know that Cat had some illness that led her to be admitted to a psych ward during her pregnancy so that explains part of her anxiety, the other part is explained by the work Cat does as child psychologist with damaged children, she’s seen the worst that they offer and fears poor Ruby has some kind of personality disorder.
Tom Winter I quickly surmised was not the man you’d want by your side when dealing with life’s daily battles and since he seems to protect Ruby at Freya’s expense the tension in the book quickly mounts and battle lines are firmly drawn.
This is one of those books that you settle down to and enjoy the ride, I don’t usually like the children in my fiction, certainly not ones who are yet to reach their teens reeking of malevolence, but Ruby does but her actions are enacted relatively subtlety and in a way that is age-appropriate which made it all a bit easier to swallow. With new revelations or more the pieces fitting together as Cat digs deep to find out where all the secrets are buried whilst simultaneously trying to keep her own daughter out of Ruby’s clutches this is a fast-paced read.
Although this book begs the question ‘What would I do?’ I didn’t feel with this one that I could realistically enter the game because in my world Tom would pack his and his daughter’s bags and go and deal with whatever seeds he had sown (literally) on his own but that didn’t stop this being a very entertaining way to spend a cold and wintery day.
I was fortunate enough to receive a proof copy of Give Me the Child from the publishers HQ and this unbiased review is my thanks to them.