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Pretty Baby

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A chance encounter sparks an unrelenting web of lies in this stunning new psychological thriller from national bestselling author Mary Kubica

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.

380 pages, Hardcover

First published July 28, 2015

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About the author

Mary Kubica

24 books13.7k followers
Mary Kubica is a New York Times bestselling author of suspense thrillers including The Good Girl, The Other Mrs., and Local Woman Missing. Her books have been translated into over thirty languages and have sold over two million copies worldwide. She’s been described as “a helluva storyteller” (Kirkus) and “a writer of vice-like control” (Chicago Tribune), and her novels have been praised as “hypnotic” (People) and “thrilling and illuminating” (L.A. Times). She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and children.

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5 stars
11,020 (20%)
4 stars
22,633 (41%)
3 stars
15,699 (29%)
2 stars
3,582 (6%)
1 star
963 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,734 reviews
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,695 reviews14.1k followers
August 6, 2015
A mixed read for me. I admire the structure of the plot, the slow unraveling and dissembling of the storyline, timed with the mental unraveling of a few of the main characters. But, the slowness of the plot and also the fact that I really did not much like these characters was also a stumbling block. Did feel sorry for Willow at times but there was just something that kept me from immersing myself into these characters stories. I have read other books where I didn't care for the characters and still liked the book, and I liked this one, but just okay. It was very well written, but I just expected more.

ARC from NetGalley.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,406 reviews9,543 followers
May 5, 2019
*Reread for book challenge! Still enjoyed it!


This book is sad on so many levels it's unreal. The thing is, so many of the things that happen in this book actually happen in the real world. We live in a world that loses track of people, loses track of what's right, loses track of it's humanity. Just from reading this book makes me think that people need to wake up and look around just a little bit more. Have a little bit more compassion with things in the world, slow down, stop rushing and pushing things aside.

The woman rolls her eyes, closes the file before her and says to me, "This alleged sexual abuse. Tell me about that."

This book is a great psychological thriller, you don't have a clue what is going to happen or what happened until the author lets you in, lets out snippets of the story until the bitter end.

The story is told from three POV, there is Willow, Heidi and Chris all telling their parts of the story, how they are feeling, what's happening with them. I thought that was great!

Pretty Baby is definitely not what I thought it was going to be, the author took it somewhere else.

The first time I see her, she is standing at the Fullerton Station, on the train platform, clutching an infant in her arms. She braces herself and the baby as the purple line express soars past and out to Linden. It's the 8th of April, forty-eight degrees and raining. The rain lurches down from the sky, here, there and everywhere, the wind untamed and angry. A bad day for hair.

Happy Reading!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
3,923 reviews35.4k followers
June 10, 2015
Mary Kubica has written an intense, tightly plotted novel with more than one surprising
turn of events. I personally think this is a stronger
more interesting thought-provoking novel, that her debut: "The Good Girl".

Chris is an investment banker....cares a lot about money: who has the most...and how can he continue to get more!!! He and his family live in Chicago.
One of the things which attracted him to Heidi, before marriage - was she cared about the 'lack of money'.... caring more about the 'haves- not's', in the world.
Heidi works for a non-profit agency, teaching adult literacy to low-income immigrants who have been granted asylum from Asia, Mumbai, etc.
Chris thinks Heidi is a little over-involved in their 12 year old daughters life....for a teen girl going
through her tumultuous years.
Zoe is their only child. She attends a private Catholic School near by, and a newly
vegetarian. ( dad definitely prefers meat).
Chris's comments about food in this story were my 'laughing-moments'. Cute..family - dad -
personality - of a little sarcasm. I liked his character.

Chris continues to remind us about what type of wife he married: Heidi recycles everything to a fault:
cans, bottles, batteries, aluminum foil, newspapers, remnants...returns hangers to the dry cleaners....and spiders are relocated rather than killed.
Heidi will take in homeless cats.
"Every neglected, mistreated, overlooked, ignored,
abandon, forgotten, emaciated, abused, derelict creature on God's green earth is Heidi's

Willow is a young girl....(18, 16, or or 15), hanging around and underneath the train tracks-- it's
heavy April rains. She's shivering ...wearing torn jeans - an army green coat- lace-up boots...
sitting on the cold wet concrete near garbage cans... rocking her crying baby against her chest.

With a little persuasion, Heidi treats Willow to a meal at the diner.
In time, Willow & baby 'Ruby' are guests -- living with Heidi, Chris, and Zoe in their home

Don't you want to know what happens next??? Was Heidi crazy for bringing a 'stray' girl and baby into their home? How do you imagine Chris and Zoe react? Aren't you curious of where
Willow came from? What's her story?? and why this turns into a mystery- thriller novel? I'm not telling!!!!

The writing and pacing is excellent. The story itself is damn Good!
You'll meet many other memorable characters:
Graham: metrosexual neighbor, freelance writer for websites by day: fiction writer early mornings.
Jennifer & Taylor: mother & daughter... Best friends with Heidi & Zoe.
Cassidy Knudson: Bright-- sexy- ( every guys fantasy)... works with Chris - and the other guys.....Henry& Tom at his office.
Tensions....(sexual energy), run high with Cassidy new on board. (creates conflicts for Chris and Heidi). They take travel business trips together. (hmmm???).
She is "freaking genius, not awkward, or nerdy, tall, thin, pencil skirts, - 3inch heels, looks
'risque'. ".
More characters:
Louise Flores: Silver Hair lady
Mrs. Amber Adler...Joseph, Miriam, Matthew, Isaac, Lilly

**A favorite children's book: "Ann of Green Gables"

Lovely Memory Game of "I love You's"............( which will make more sense when you read this book)
.... "I love you like a squirrel loves nuts"
....."I love you like a mouse likes cheese."
....."I love you like a fat boy loves cake."
....."I love you like cinnamon loves sugar."
....."I love you like peanut butter loves jelly. "
....."I love you like bees love honey. ".

EVERY character is memorable...wonderful descriptive engaging writing...(or how do you
think I would have remember everything I wrote for this review if it were not great?)..,
As long as this review is... I gave away ZERO spoilers!!!

This is one of the most intelligent subjects for a mystery thriller I've read in a long time.
I can't applaud Mary Kubica enough. I really didn't care for her first novel - ( I didn't
respect the subject - and felt the ending was silly). Yet... If you look at my other review - I said I wanted to read this author again! Sure glad I did! (I have my friend Judy to thank, also)
This novel is terrific!!! It has integrity which fits the story! ( sometimes not easy to do with
mystery thrillers Imo).

Thank you to Harlequin publishing, Netgalley, and Congratulations to Mary Kubica

Profile Image for Blaine.
730 reviews580 followers
November 27, 2021
One of my 2020 reading challenges has a category to read a book by “an author you previously disliked.” I greatly disliked Mary Kubica’s first novel, The Good Girl, but there’s no doubting that she’s a very successful author. So I decided to read Pretty Baby for this category, genuinely hoping that I’d see what all her other fans see. But that didn’t happen. It’s not quite as bad as her debut novel, but this book has many of the same flaws.

First, there’s not much of a plot, and the story moves painfully slowly. It’s just boring for long stretches before finally picking up in the final pages. The book is told from three first-person perspectives. Willow’s story is the hardest to know what to make of because it’s almost all backstory and she regularly tells the reader that she’s not being truthful. You can never never be sure you believe her, which softens the pain of her trauma and makes her less sympathetic than she should be. Heidi’s story started as a cliché, but it got so bizarre that it was ultimately the most interesting part of the novel. Again, the final pages made you realize in an unsatisfying way that the story you thought you’d been reading wasn’t really what you’d been reading, but it was compelling.

The majority of my ire, though, was reserved for the portions of the story narrated by Heidi’s husband, Chris. For a novel not on its face about a couple considering a divorce, I don’t know that I’ve ever read about a couple more in need of one. He spends most of the book PG-13 lusting after a co-worker. Chris has long stopped being in love with Heidi, and he regularly speaks about her with undisguised contempt. Want a sample of how he’s the literal worst? Here’s Chris thinking about HIS OWN 12-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER:
I cringe. I hate that word. Menstruating. Menstruation. Menstrual flow. The idea of my daughter wearing tampons, or me having to hear about it for that matter, fills me with dread.
It would be one thing if Chris was positioned as the villain, but he’s not. It’d be another thing if the book was about how he psychologically abused his daughter, but she’s mostly an afterthought throughout the book. It’s just him campaigning for Father of the Year, I guess.

For every popular author you just adore, who you think you would give 5 stars to if they published a grocery list, there must be another popular author you just don’t get, whose books you can only suffer through like nails on a chalkboard. A lot of people disagree with me, so take everything I’ve said here and in my other review with a pile of salt, but I just don’t get the appeal of Ms. Kubica’s books. I find them to be a parody of better-written, better-plotted psychological thrillers. If I get a future reading challenge to read an author I previously disliked, I’m picking someone else. Not recommended.
Profile Image for j e w e l s.
307 reviews2,344 followers
April 27, 2018
So much talking, so many words...WHERE'S THE ACTION? IS THERE A PLOT?

I'm really shocked this is so incredibly slow. I've been kicking myself for the last year for not reading any Kubica. I've heard people rave about her books. Well, not me. I don't even care if PRETTY BABY is not as good as her other books, I'm done.

I'm getting old and cranky and out of patience for mealy-mouthed novels. Sorry, Kubica fans. It's me, not you.
Profile Image for Andrew Smith.
1,035 reviews570 followers
August 24, 2015
Heidi lives in Chicago with her busy corporate lawyer husband and young teenage daughter. Her husband describes her as a ‘bleeding heart’ and she spends her days looking after the needs of immigrants, many of whom don't speak any English. She had always wanted a large family, but some years ago serious illness had brought an end to this dream.

One day, as she travels to work, she spots a girl on the platform with a baby. It's biting cold and Heidi worries they look ill equipped to survive in such an environment. As days pass Heidi eventually spots the pair again, this time in the local library.

The scene setting was well done and, in the audio version I listened to, the alternating voices of the three main protagonists (Heidi, her husband and the girl with the baby) worked really well. Certainly, the tension built as Heidi first made contact with the girl, offering her help, and then brought her into her home to provide temporary respite.

There are several other elements to this tale and on the whole it is very well executed. It’s interesting to watch the story develop from the separate points of view and, in truth, I didn't see the ending coming. That said, I'm not sure I found the conclusion of the story totally satisfying. Others might disagree, of course, and that's the beauty of books (and stories in general). But overall I did enjoy this one and would recommend in to fans of thrillers in general and psychological thrillers in particular.
Profile Image for Catherine McKenzie.
Author 25 books4,562 followers
April 12, 2015
This book had me on the edge of my seat from the first page. I think I might have liked it more than The Good Girl, and that's saying something! Complex characters, a woven plot that braids perfectly in the end - do yourself a favour and read this book!
Profile Image for Riley.
424 reviews20.8k followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
February 28, 2016
DNF at 50%
This was just very boring.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,723 reviews6,663 followers
August 6, 2016
Pretty Baby is a standalone, psychological thriller written by Mary Kubica. This story is told through three perspectives: Heidi, her husband Chris, and Heidi's newest charity case Willow. I loved Heidi's character when I began this book. She has the biggest heart and just wants to help everyone (despite her family's eye-rolls). Willow on the other hand appears deeply troubled, homeless, and eerily mysterious - worst of all, she is clearly unable to appropriately care for her baby. Obviously, Willow is in desperate need of Heidi's help.

Oh boy...

That's the thing about psychological thrillers. They mess with your head...they make you think one thing and then flip what you thought you knew upside down. I won't spoil anything, but if you have a reading experience similar to mine, you'll have a pretty good idea where this story is heading as it slowly progresses. The "big moment" (at least what I perceived as the big moment) still made my jaw drop so for that I am grateful to Ms. Kubica. Themes of child abuse, a failing dependency system, mental/behavioral health, and marriage and family stressors were front and center and the emotions they solicited were fairly palpable. The characters are well-developed and complex as all get-out. In terms of characters versus plot, the strength of this book lies in the characters for sure.

In my opinion, this storyline flowed much too slowly for my personal taste to the point I was beginning to lose patience. After a heavy amount of “hurry up and get there”, suddenly it was there and then it ended. Maybe this style was chosen to elevate the suspense factor but it didn't quite work for me. I paused the book often and didn't feel much urgency to pick it up when timing permitted. Based on ratings I'm seeing, I seem to be in the minority but felt it was worth mentioning in an effort to provide an honest review. Regardless, I liked Pretty Baby overall and would recommend it to fans of Mary Kubica or character-driven psychological thrillers in general. Ever since reading The Good Girl, I've been keeping an eye out for Ms. Kubica's next release and I will continue to do so. Check her out!

My favorite quote:
"I imagined those kids out that window, the kids with the bikes and the chalk, and their own mommas and daddies telling them never to play with Isaac and Matthew 'cause they were weird. Not to talk to Joseph because he was an odd duck, and then later, when all was said and done, it would be those mommas and daddies who told police that they felt something wasn't quite right. Something they couldn't put their finger on. But they didn't do a thing about it."


Hmmmm...processing, processing, processing.
Profile Image for Gabby.
1,209 reviews26k followers
May 29, 2016
I was debating between giving this book one or two stars but I decided to give it one star when I realized I couldn't think of one thing I liked about this book. This book was so boring and basically nothing happens. I was expecting a suspenseful mystery thriller but this story is so slow-moving and boring. I didn't like any of the characters either.

Heidi is an over the top jealous wife who gets jealous over the dumbest shit. She spends 99% of the book going on and on about how much she loves babies and how she wishes she could have had another baby, it got so repetitive. Then we have Zooey, their teenage daughter who acts like a brat the way any 13 year old girl normally does I suppose, but her only purpose in the book was to annoy Heidi. Then we have Willow, the homeless girl who Heidi takes in. Willow's chapters were so long and wordy and boring and I couldn't care less about her past. Her character in general just wasn't very interesting to me. Chris, Heidi's husband, is the only character I liked and related to because I would be reacting the same way if someone in my family brought a homeless person to live with us. His POV chapters were the only ones I kind of looked forward to even though they weren't all that great or exciting either.

The writing style is what bothered me the most. It's so wordy and long and drawn out. It takes the author forever to just get to the point. I was listening to the audiobook and I kept skipping minutes of her describing the sky and the weather for 10 fucking minutes. It was seriously that wordy. It was excessive.

This book had nearly the same exact story line as Until You're Mine but it isn't done as well, and it made this book extremely predictable. There are no crazy plot twists or anything exciting that happens in this book at all. It's all pretty straight forward and expected. I considered not finishing this so many times but I figured it had to get better and intense towards the end, as most thrillers do, but nope not this one. I was so disappointed while listening to the last few chapters of this book that I wasted 12 hours of my life listening to this story.

Bleh, I hate when I dislike a book this much but I can't help it, I really just didn't like this book. I don't know how or why I finished it to be honest.
Profile Image for Barbara.
1,318 reviews4,843 followers
November 28, 2021

Heidi and Chris Wood are an upscale thirtysomething Chicago couple with a twelve-year-old daughter, Zoe, who exhibits typical tweenie angst. Chris is a successful investment banker and Heidi is a warm-hearted social worker who feels compelled to help everyone in need.

One rainy morning Heidi spots a teen girl with a baby and a suitcase at the train station, soaked and obviously homeless.

Heidi can't get the girl and baby out of her mind and - after seeing them a few more times - offers assistance. Skip ahead a day or so and teenage Willow and baby Ruby are ensconced in the Woods' apartment, though Willow is clearly scared and uncomfortable.

Heidi knows it's illegal to harbor homeless underage juveniles for more than a couple of days but can't bring herself to call child protective services. So Willow and Ruby remain, much to the chagrin of Chris and Zoe. Chris, who suspects Willow may be dangerous, is especially perturbed.

The book is told from three rotating points of view: Heidi, Chris, and Willow. As the story unfolds the reader slowly learns about the history of the characters, what goes on in the Woods' apartment, and what happens afterward.

We find out that Willow was orphaned at age eight and placed in a frightful foster care situation.

We also learn Heidi hoped to have lots of children but was thwarted for health reasons; and that Chris is a loving husband who's obsessed with making money.

Other characters add interest to the story including Heidi's best friend Jennifer, and playboy neighbor Graham; Chris's sexy co-worker Cassidy; Willow's little sister, foster parents, and foster brothers; and more. To say much more would risk spoiling the plot.

The book is an interesting psychological thriller with some big surprise twists and some outcomes that are fairly predictable - but this shouldn't detract from the enjoyment of the story. For me the book moved too slowly and I got tired of Willow's frequent (and sloppy) pancake eating.

There was also too much about Heidi cleaning, feeding, and rocking the baby; Chris's numerous business meetings; etc. I was impatient for things to move along. I did appreciate, however, the way the book's various narratives smoothly led to the dramatic climax and ending.

I wasn't a huge fan of Mary Kubica's previous book, "The Good Girl", which also has a rotating series of narrators. The format just isn't my favorite. Nevertheless, "Pretty Baby" is a decent mystery that I'd recommend to fans of psychological thrillers.

You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....
Profile Image for Carol.
824 reviews482 followers
August 7, 2015
The Hook - Kubica’s debut The Good Girl was promising so I decided to see what she was up to now.

The Line”We’re like the wheels of a car: in sync but also independent.”

The Sinker – Told from multi-character point of view Pretty Baby begins its slow build of tension when Heidi spots a teen girl standing on the train platform at Fullerton station, ”Clutching an infant in her arms”. Just that word clutch gives you an idea of the edginess to come. Heidi is at first curious about the teen and baby, and when she encounters them again, curiosity becomes more than that. Working for a nonprofit that helps young women, Heidi has a great deal of experience with those in need so it seems natural for her to take Willow under her wing. But there’s a difference from providing assistance through the system than taking in a homeless stranger and her child into your home. You just know something is going to derail but are not certain exactly what. Hearing everyone's story, Heidi along with family, Chris and Zoe, plus Willow and baby Ruby, unfold makes for a good psychological read.

Not an easy book to describe without spoilers Pretty Baby took me on a different kind of ”girl on a train”. I liked it much better than that other trip.

3.75 stars rounding up to 4 – Kubica's got my attention
Profile Image for Jan.
423 reviews251 followers
February 16, 2016
There's a fine line between reality and insanity...but how do you distinguish the difference?

Heidi Wood is what society would call a 'tree hugging do-gooder', often putting the needs of others over the needs of her family, which consists of over worked husband Chris and 12 year old Zoe. One day on the way to work,Heidi spots a young disheveled girl with a baby in her arms standing in the pouring rain. She can't get the image of this poor girl out of her head, so the next time she sees her again, she knows she has to do something, offer some help.

What starts out as an offer for a hot meal ends up with the young girl (Willow) and her baby (Ruby) spending the night at her home, against the wishes of her husband and daughter. One night turns into two, and soon it becomes clear lines are being crossed and Heidi's life is spiraling out of control...the question is can she make it stop?

Told from the voices of Heidi, Chris and Willow, the author weaves past and present story lines together in a way that will leave you stunned. You will feel the pain, heartache and love that eventually drove them to this place and time where the past determines their future.

The last 100 pages completely blew me away. I felt like I was watching a runaway train...I knew what was coming wasn't going to be good, but I couldn't stop reading.

Once again Mary Kubica did not disappoint...I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!
Profile Image for Holly  B (busy month catching up).
799 reviews1,808 followers
July 9, 2017

This story is told from three POV - Heidi (the charitable wife), Chris (Heidi's husband), and Willow (the teen-age homeless girl with a baby). The narration is good and invokes intense emotions. This is a psychological thriller heavy on family drama.

Heidi befriends and eventually brings Willow and her baby Ruby to stay in her home. The problem is she doesn't really know anything about Willow or her past. Her husband seems concerned, but he is distracted with other things going on. There was a twist in the end, but it took to long to reveal and was predictable (for me).

The story unfolded slow and steady to reveal how each characters past impacted and shaped their lives. The pace was too slow for me and I wanted to fast forward the story and give me something "more" to pull me into the story.

Profile Image for Norma.
551 reviews12k followers
May 17, 2018
I was so excited when I found this book at my local second-hand thrift store that I had to grab it right away! I haven't been disappointed yet with any of Mary Kubica's novels. I thought this had an excellent storyline which was well executed and had me interested right from the very first chapter.

The story was told from three different narratives that of Willow, Chris, & Heidi and I have to say that I enjoyed all three characters! We were teased really early on that something was going to happen to Heidi and I actually had no clue what that was going to be. I was not disappointed!

This was a steady-paced, quick and easy read with a satisfying ending. Would recommend!

Two Sisters Lost in a Coulee Reading
Profile Image for Karen.
561 reviews1,104 followers
January 7, 2016
I really liked this book from the start. I liked it more then Kubica's first novel THE GOOD GIRL. Really liked the multiple perspectives. There was never a boring moment..fast paced.
Profile Image for Gary.
2,590 reviews364 followers
September 12, 2015
I would like to thank Net Galley for allowing me to review this book. I have been planning to read Mary Kubica's first book 'The Good Girl' for some time now, but for whatever reason have never actually got round to it. So when I received the opportunity to read her second book by Netgallery I jumped at it. I was so impressed with this book, both the writing style and the plot itself. I picked the book up at every possible opportunity wanting to know more. The book alternates between the three main characters narrating from their different point of view. It is not so much full of action but the suspense is terrific and you sense things are about to change for the worse. Each character is defined so well and you find yourself siding with each character in turn as the story unwinds.
I found this book a thrill to read and will certainly read Mary Kubica's other book which received such high praise. Another winner from this new author and I am sure someone we will hear a lot more of in the future.
This book is so well written I could easily imagine it becoming a best selling film.
Profile Image for Melissa (Mel’s Bookshelf).
438 reviews289 followers
August 4, 2015
I liked this book. It has received wonderful reviews so far and I can understand why. It is extremely well written and has an engaging story and kept me turning the pages!

Heidi lives with her husband and pre-teenage daughter in Chicago. She starts witnessing what she believes to be a teenage girl on the train with a baby, braving the elements day after day with the same clothes on, and comes to the conclusion that they are homeless. Being extremely charitable, she decides to help the woman who she now knows is named “Willow” and her infant daughter by letting them stay with her – Much to the disapproval of her husband and daughter. However all is not what it seems. Who is this “Willow” and where did she come from? And will she tear Heidi’s family apart?

I really enjoyed the layout of the book. Each chapter is told from one of three perspectives. Heidi, her husband Chris, or Willow. Willow’s story is by far the most interesting, as we gradually discover who she is and how she came to be staying with Heidi. Sometimes I find that the constant perspective changes annoys me in novels, but this was done seamlessly. If you came back to the book mid chapter there was no doubt about who you were reading about. The characterisation was so different between them all. There was no mistaking the energy and feel of the particular character who was narrating the chapter.

The characters themselves were all interesting and well imagined. I liked how the book didn’t have too many characters. The three chapter narrators were the major players. The secondary characters weaved into the story well. I especially liked Heidi’s daughter Zoe. I remember being a little like her at that age. Her neighbour Graham was also entertaining. The secondary characters in Willow’s story are terrifying, and her story is shocking!

I don’t know what it was about Heidi that I didn’t like right from the start. I loved how her character developed – especially in the last few chapters, but I found she bored me a bit. I know you are not necessarily supposed to like any character in a novel, but I assumed I would resonate with her a little more than I did, and I think it limited my enjoyment of the story.

Honestly at the end I found this book to be quite depressing. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the twist and “character developments” at the conclusion. But I didn’t LOVE it. I can understand in a way that it is being compared to Gone Girl. I can see the similar dark undertone. However these are extremely different books. Funny enough I didn’t LOVE that one either.

Would I recommend it? Yes, it was definitely worth reading!! It was a page turner and a relatively quick, entertaining read!

3.5 Stars

Many thanks to Harlequin MIRA via NetGalley for the opportunity to read the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

For this review and others, come visit my blog at http://www.booksbabiesbeing.com/book-...
Profile Image for Geo Marcovici.
1,217 reviews292 followers
April 3, 2019
Translation widget on The blog!!!

Un thriller excepțional!
Willow și bebelușul Ruby ajung in casa lui Heidi și Chris. De aici, pe rând, din punctul de vedere al celor trei, aflam o mulțime de secrete și de minciuni din viața fiecăruia dintre ei. Suntem convinși că înțelegem despre ce este vorba, dar autoarea reușește sa întoarcă situația cu fiecare nou capitol.
Am citit cartea cu sufletul la gura, neputând sa o las din mâna. Cu cât înaintam in acțiune, cu atât tabloul devenea din ce în ce mai complet și mai vizibil.
Teroarea prin care a trecut Willow, durerea lui Heidi, răzvrătirea fiicei lui Chris și Heidi, chiar si acțiunile lui Chris.... toate devin suspecte pe măsura ce ne apropiam de final. Și totuși, autoarea mi-a oferit o răsturnare de situație pe care nu am întrezărit-o deloc...
O carte căreia i-as da chiar 6 *
Recenzia mea completă o găsiți aici:
Profile Image for AH.
2,005 reviews370 followers
August 27, 2015
It's rare that I dislike a book so much and yet still feel the need to finish it. That's how I felt about this book. And let me say this from the outset - there is nothing wrong with the writing. It's just that this book was not my usual reading genre.

Pretty Baby is told from three perspectives: There's Heidi, an upper middle-class activist with a penchant for taking in strays. Her husband Chris is an investment banker who travels a lot on business. And then there is Willow, a runaway teenage mom.

At first I felt no connection to any of the characters but as the story progressed I began to feel a bit of sympathy for Willow. She's had a rotten life. That's it, that's all I can say. I admired Chris - for his love and loyalty to his family. It was really hard to connect with Heidi - as a mother I can't begin to imagine her pain, but still....

Anyhow, there are plenty of mixed reviews on this one, so I suggest that you look at them before deciding to read this book. For me, it was a slow read.

Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin Mira for a review copy of this book.
Profile Image for Jennifer Masterson.
200 reviews1,111 followers
August 15, 2015
I like this author, a lot! I will start out with that. I gave "The Good Girl" 5 Stars. I had high expectations for "Pretty Baby" but I felt Kubica's newest novel didn't meet those expectations. It was definitely not the fastest read. I didn't run to the book as I got home. I do think the author's writing skills have sharpened but the story, the characters, the pace all felt like a 4 Star read so that's what I'm giving it. Good but not great.

If you liked "The Good Girl" definitely give it a try.

Update - I can't get the ending off my mind. It just didn't do it for me. Maybe because I figured out what was going to happen. Maybe because I loved "The Good Girl" so much. Whatever. I'm lowering my rating to 3.5 Stars.
Profile Image for Julie .
4,001 reviews58.9k followers
December 30, 2015
Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica is a 2015 MIRA publication.

After reading the impressive novel “The Good Girl”, this author definitely had my attention. So, when this book finally became available at the overdrive library, I made sure I saved my place in line for it.

Sadly, this book didn’t quite measure up to “The Good Girl”, for me. In fact, it was kind of predictable, slow, slow, slow moving, and not all that suspenseful. When reading a book touted as a mystery, thriller, psychological thriller, it’s sad when the only thing that caused my palms to sweat, was worrying that Chris would give into the temptation his hot new co-worker presented.

Heidi and Chris live with their twelve- year -old daughter, going through the motions of life, just like many couples who have been married for a while. They have made some concessions, have gone through hard times, each growing into different people, based on their unique live experiences. But, lying not so far beneath the surface, is a simmering resentment, depression, discontentment that will quickly come to the surface when Heidi spots a young woman with an infant, who is obviously homeless.

Heidi works for a non-profit, is soft hearted, and so is deeply affected by the idea of this baby being hungry, sick, cold and so forth, that despite the trouble she could get into, despite her husband and daughter’s objections, she brings the young mother and child into her home. But, no one could ever have guessed at what would transpire, as Willow’s story unfolds, and Heidi begins to unravel, leaving those around her bewildered.

The story is written from the first person perspectives of Chris, Willow, and Heidi. Each of these characters are unique, with Willow being the most interesting. Both Heidi and Chris are selfish, thinking of their own needs before that of anyone else in their family. While for the longest, I felt Heidi was the most self-absorbed, in the end, I wondered how Chris’s avoidance of her only contributed to the problem. He apparently didn’t pay close enough attention to his family or what was going on with his wife.

Either way, I didn’t really feel like this book fit into the genres in which it was advertised. Yes, there is crime, but not much mystery and the ending was rather disappointing.

I see this book has been very well received, and my feelings about it, puts me in the minority. But, that’s the way it goes sometimes. I do plan on reading the newest release from this author, because she certainly shows promise. This one just wasn’t what I was expecting.
3 stars
Profile Image for Judy Collins.
2,508 reviews353 followers
January 28, 2020
JDC Top 50 Books of 2015 "Best Hypnotic Psychological Suspense Thriller"

E N T H R A L L I N G !

Master storyteller, Mary Kubica returns with another winner, following award-winning debut, The Good Girl, with one of the most intense, all-consuming psychological domestic suspense thrillers, PRETTY BABY, landing on my Top 30 Books of 2015 , capturing you from page one to the very end!

As I have mentioned previously, on social media, Kubica is "on fire", and if you thought The Good Girl was off the charts, wait until you read PRETTY BABY; will blow you away; ripe for the movie pickings, as well. (my prediction). Note: The Good Girl, also landed on my Top 30 Books of 2014 (movie coming).

From obsessive desire, grief, to PTSD, a complex blurring of fact and fiction; a woman and a young teen, no longer able to determine the difference between fantasy and reality— for a powerful and riveting psychological tale, you will not soon forget.

How far would you go to help a stranger off the street? When the person offering the help, may need assistance, as well. No one is communicating, and all the characters are keeping things hidden. Secrets. A web of deceit.

Set in Chicago, The Windy City, we meet the Wood family. Chris, Heidi, and Zoe.

Chris is an investment banker, with a demanding career. He feels he has to work hard to keep up his family’s lifestyle in Lincoln Park. His wife, Heidi works for a non-profit, and their daughter is enrolled in an expensive private school. He has to travel often, with his work, and sometimes with the femme fatale at his office (a flirty colleague). He loves his wife; however, their relationship is not where it was in the earlier days of their marriage. He often questions Heidi’s need to help everyone else, leaving him with the feeling as though the family comes last.

Heidi is the most complex of all the characters. She has it all together on the exterior. She is beautiful, classy, intelligent, has a successful career helping others, plenty of friends, and a great mother.

While on her way to work one morning at Fullerton Station, on the train platform she sees a young teen girl, clutching an infant in her arms. She looks desperate. At the time, it is April in Chicago, the temperature in the forties, and has been raining daily. She notices the girl is most likely homeless, poor, ragged, needing a bath, clothes, and food. She only carries a worn suitcase. She begins to wonder what this girl is running from? Why is she not in a shelter? Her parents? How will she help her? She cannot be older than sixteen? The baby looks sick and is continuously crying.

Soon the teen and the baby consumes Heidi’s thoughts, and they remain with her all day. She cannot get them out of her mind. When she rides the “L” the following day, she sees them again. She becomes obsessed with helping. She does not want to be intrusive or offensive; however, she thinks of a way to approach her. She has to help the girl. Possibly take her to dinner to start. She has no idea of her past.

Heidi has always felt the need to help those less fortunate. From animals to humans, their diet, to the environment. She works with refugees, the poverty-stricken, and immigrants. She of all people is fully equipped to help others, through her work; she knows resources and helps those less fortunate to get back on track.

Bighearted, Heidi has experienced some traumatic events in her own life, as she always wanted a large family. She lost her dad, then she received the news she had cervical cancer, and happened to be pregnant with her second child. With the devastation of losing her father, her child, and her future hopes of having additional children, she never really dealt with those emotions, hiding behind a mask. Until a baby triggers strong maternal feelings. The baby she lost. Sometimes she gets carried away, when helping others, leaving her family to fend for themselves. Their twelve-year-old Zoe is spoiled and at this age, the last thing she wants is to have a warm relationship with her parents or the homeless. Heidi feels a strong desire to nurture.

Willow, the homeless teen will make you want to cry, with her horrific and traumatic life. She lost her much loved mom and dad in a car accident in Nebraska when she was just a child, left with her younger sister, Lily. The state sent them to an orphanage, and the younger sister was adopted, separating them. Willow was heartbroken and tried to stay in touch with her younger sister. Willow was sent to live in a foster home. Without giving any spoilers, a very unhealthy environment. A nightmare of abuse from the time she was eight until age fifteen.

When Heidi meets Willow and baby Ruby, much has happened since this time. An emotional and intense meeting of lost, troubled souls. Soon, Heidi, homeless teen and baby moved into their small family apartment, without discussing with Zoe or Chris. She knows nothing about the girl or the baby. They could be criminals or minors, but nothing matters except taking care of the sick baby and the girl.

Chris and Zoe are shocked. With the poor conditions from living on the streets; health concerns as well as safety concerns. Chris, cannot believe his wife is bringing this young teen into their home and disrupting their family life. While Chris is away with work, being tempted non-stop by the femme fatale at work, Heidi has the company of the hot fun guy next door (loved Graham); however, now she is obsessed with this baby and forgets to collect her daughter from school.

Chris is worried about their safety as she is sure this girl has a story and maybe involved with something illegal. He hires a private detective and gets on Twitter (funny), trying to find out more about this girl. He has to get these two out of his house. He wants his life back. He is living in a nightmare.

Little does he know how close his wife is to the edge with her own emotions, losing her grip on reality, thinking the baby, the one she lost more than eleven years earlier. She is falling in love with this baby. As we flashback and forth between characters, the multi-layered story builds, and we learn of more secrets-- all the storylines come together for an explosive, dramatic ending. What begins as a kind gesture of help, spirals into a twisted psychological encounter spinning out of control for this family.

PRETTY BABY is spellbinding, as I have been holding off reading this one, as knew it would be awesome, wanting to savor until I had uninterrupted time to read – it exceeded all expectations. I was consumed with this book, blowing off work for the day, glued to the pages. The intensity never lets up from the first page to the last, brilliantly plotted, with well-developed characters, vivid settings, mixed with humor-- you feel the intense emotions of each character.

Kubica incorporates one of my favorite writing style formats; three main characters, narrating portions of the tale. As you move between each character, we hear tidbits from each (Willow, Heidi, Chris), as readers learn more background. What each character is made of. How they handle stressful situations. Their loyalties, their desires, their dreams. Their fears. She leaves you hanging (in a good way), the events of one character, while moving to another; however, she does this seamlessly, picking back up--making a smooth transition for an absorbing and engaging read.

This is not a predictable read. A complex plot, and Kubica handles it with ease and precision. Fresh, contemporary, and suspenseful. Many mothers will relate. I have read nothing like it previously. Unique. Nothing you expect happens. Twists and turns, for a roller-coaster ride. What makes it so profound is the fact, the events could happen in the real world, making it even more shocking and chilling. You even find yourself rooting for all three main characters at some point.

A winner! Highly recommend for all psychological suspense thriller fans. Mary Kubica is one of my top favorite authors and I enjoy connecting with her via social media. Looking forward to many more bestsellers in the future. Read both books. You are in for a rare treat..


A special thank you to Harlequin/MIRA and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for ReadAlongWithSue .
2,655 reviews170 followers
December 21, 2015

After reading The Good Girl by this author which I absolutely loved, I was so eager to see she had another book due to release, so with some begging, her PR got me my copy via Net Galley via Harlequin

I wasn't wrong in my assumptions that this book was going to be as well written. It had a strong plot, great focus and alluring appeal to keep you turning the pages constantly wonder what is going to be revealed next.

We meet Heidi Wood, charitable person, likes to help the needy and 'do her bit' for society. We have all met one along the walk of our lives surely you know someone like that? I know I do.

They sort of pick up waifs and strays, people in need or people with problems and hidden problematic pasts.

This was no different for Heidi. Because of her giving nature she can't help but get involved more than others might do.

She is at the train station one day and sees a young girl cuddling a baby, its tipping down with rain and neither of them look well covered or well kept. Heidi notices a person in need.
Boarding a train the girl is then lost sight of.

Its not the first and won't be the last time she 'bumps' into this young girl who we come to know as Willow.

I am not going to give the plot away as its excellently written and very well crafted. It sort of keeps you lingering there, hanging motionless at times and then......bang.......you get a little bit more information.

Heidi has a daughter. And like all young daughters approaching puberty she isn't the pleasantest of youths at times. Heidi also has a sad past of her own.

The plot in the story was gradually creeping up on me, I didn't see it at first until it gets you, all of a sudden.

Heidi's is meticulous when it comes to recycling and one of her neighbors isn't. The conversation between them was fun to read.

Heidi also has a husband, he is very driven and materialistic. He loves money. He is the complete opposite to Heidi. But they do say opposites attract, right?

My eyes were truly wide open at the end of this book and in awe of this authors follow up book.

She is definitely high up on my agenda for each book she writes.
Profile Image for Sandysbookaday is (reluctantly) on hiatus.
1,928 reviews2,018 followers
June 7, 2018

The first time I see her, she is standing at the Fullerton Sta­tion, on the train platform, clutching an infant in her arms. She braces herself and the baby as the purple line express soars past and out to Linden. It’s the 8th of April, forty-eight degrees and raining. The rain lurches down from the sky, here, there and everywhere, the wind untamed and angry. A bad day for hair.

The girl is dressed in a pair of jeans, torn at the knee. Her coat is thin and nylon, an army green. She has no hood, no um­brella. She tucks her chin into the coat and stares straight ahead while the rain saturates her. Those around her cower beneath umbrellas, no one offering to share. The baby is quiet, stuffed inside the mother’s coat like a joey in a kangaroo pouch. Tufts of slimy pink fleece sneak out from the coat and I convince myself that the baby, sound asleep in what feels to me like utter bedlam—chilled to the bone, the thunderous sound of the “L” soaring past—is a girl.

There’s a suitcase beside her feet, vintage leather, brown and worn, beside a pair of lace-up boots, soaked thoroughly through.

She can’t be older than sixteen.

She’s thin. Malnourished, I tell myself, but maybe she’s just thin. Her clothes droop. Her jeans are baggy, her coat too big.

A CTA announcement signals a train approaching, and the brown line pulls into the station. A cluster of morning rush hour commuters crowd into the warmer, drier train, but the girl does not move. I hesitate for a moment—feeling the need to do something—but then board the train like the other do-nothings and, slinking into a seat, watch out the window as the doors close and we slide away, leaving the girl and her baby in the rain.

But she stays with me all day.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: A chance encounter sparks an unrelenting web of lies in this stunning new psychological thriller from national bestselling author Mary Kubica

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.

MY THOUGHTS: 'What starts as an act of kindness quickly spirals into a story far more twisted than anyone could have anticipated.' ...how true is that!

I can remember my mother telling me that no good deed goes unpunished. At the time I thought she was cynical. Now I wonder. . . But Mary Kubica uses this saying as the basis for her book, Pretty Baby, and uses it to great effect.

What starts out as a 'good deed' by Heidi, who works with the disadvantaged, soon turns into something far less simple as Willow, about whom Heidi's husband says 'Willow? That's not a name. That's a tree.', and her baby Ruby trigger long suppressed emotions in Heidi.

'Twisted' is an excellent word to describe the plot which, although slow-moving at times, has a satisfying depth to it. There is an underlying miasma, evident from the start, that for me, ratcheted up the anticipation of disaster. I was not disappointed.

The book is split over different timelines, and told from the points of view of Heidi, Heidi's husband Chris and Willow. Heidi and Chris couldn't be more different from each other. Heidi doesn't care about money at all. She is only concerned with the neglected, mistreated, overlooked, ignored, uneducated,
abandoned, forgotten, emaciated, abused, and derelict on this earth. Chris is an investment banker. Money is the main focus of his life and, paradoxically, this is what enables Heidi to pursue her passion. Chris loves his wife, loves that she doesn't care about money, but the fact that she has brought what he sees as 'her work' home, makes him uncomfortable. He fears for the safety of his 50" TV, and of their teenage daughter Zoe. Yes, there are plenty of moments to make you smile mixed in with the gathering darkness. But, eventually, the storm must hit, the results devastating.

Pretty Baby was so very nearly a five star read. But there was one section of the book that I found confusing. I went back over it several times, but was still left scratching my head. I still don't have it straight, but it is one minor blip in an otherwise excellent read.

I listened to Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica, narrated by Cassandra Campbell, Tom Taylorson and Jorjeana Marle, published by Blackstone Audio via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the 'about' page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my blog sandysbookaday.wordpress.com https://sandysbookaday.wordpress.com/...
Profile Image for Liz Barnsley.
3,405 reviews989 followers
August 25, 2015
Mary Kubica is a great storyteller as proven by her first novel “The Good Girl” – with Pretty Baby she has taken a slightly different approach whilst still writing a dark, intriguing psychological drama with great depth of character and a strong emotive edge.

Heidi is heavily into charitable acts so when she constantly spots a young mother and her baby on the streets, she becomes slightly obsessed -to the point of eventually inviting Willow into her home much to the consternation of her husband and daughter. There is more going on than meets the eye however and things soon start to spiral out of control…

Told from 3 points of view – Heidi, Willow and Heidi’s husband Chris the story unfolds slowly, Willow’s story is gradually revealed and Heidi must decide just how far she is willing to go to protect this stranger and her Pretty Baby…

It is cleverly constructed to allow the characters to develop and the story to unfold in a highly intriguing and often very emotional manner – the psychological depth to all of our three main protagonists is such that you really get a feel for them and as a reader will react accordingly.

For me, I found Heidi rather dislikeable – seemingly wearing her charitable personality as a badge of honour, doing things with no thought to those close to her – I had a huge sympathy for Chris and their 12 year old daughter who have pretty much spent their lives working around Heidi’s propensity to give most of herself away to other people. Willow is fascinating and her character voice is probably the one that resonated most for me – as she slowly reveals where she came from it is gripping and addictive.

Pretty Baby is a slow burner…no rush to judgement just an intense and well imagined cautionary tale with some engaging themes and thought provoking events. Overall a beautifully written story which, whilst I did not engage with it QUITE as much as I had done with The Good Girl, I would have no hesitation in recommending. The twists and turns are surprising and unpredictable and overall it was an excellent read. If you love family drama focused psychological thrillers you will adore this.
Profile Image for Christine.
831 reviews146 followers
August 2, 2015
‘Pretty Girl’ is the latest psychological thriller from Mary Kubica. It is beautifully written and profoundly sad.

Heidi is a kind hearted woman. Working for an adult literacy charity, and caring for her husband and daughter Zoe, her life is all about doing the right thing and thinking of others. She spots a homeless teenager one day and feels compelled to help. Willow is a homeless teenager, with a baby. Heidi takes her into her home and offers her kindness. Heidi’s family are not too impressed. Who is Willow? And has Heidi done the right thing?

The story is told from the perspective of Heidi and her husband Chris. We slowly find out about the past history of Willow and how she ended up with a baby, living on the streets.

Heidi and Willow are the strongest and most complex characters. Heidi, in particular, is a very believable character and it completely makes sense how much she wants to help a vulnerable girl and her baby. What slowly grows is a strange dynamic between Heidi and Willow, with the baby at its focus. A ‘pretty baby’ becomes the catalyst for change.

There is a great deal to this story; with underlying themes of child abuse and neglect, grief and obsession. I found Willow’s story very poignant and would have loved to have had even more of this. As for Heidi, I could sense exactly how this was going to turn out for her pretty early on. I was willing her husband Chris to stop being so focused on his work and his gorgeous colleague, and notice.

Gripping and emotional. This is a great read for the summer!
Profile Image for Suz.
1,073 reviews547 followers
January 17, 2022
This book jumped out at me after being on my physical shelf for years. GR now tells me it has been there for six years, and for some reason I remembered it was also on my kindle. I NEVER use my Kindle, apart from when it is impossible to find a book in print or in a library close by. It goes to say I do not know why it was on my Kindle! I ended up enjoying the experience of both hard copy and on the eReader. I never thought I would say that!

I liked the premise of this one, a young girl found in the freezing cold with a young baby, being taken in by a well to do woman, and her family that were not at all pleased. There was already an angsty teen and a slightly disinterested husband in the apartment in freezing cold Chicago. There dynamic was certainly thrown out of whack.

Willow has the baby, and Heidi is the saviour of sorts. What will happen as this story unfolds? This was an easy read, told in alternating chapters between wife, husband and the young, malnourished mother who is clearly struggling with a wet baby with terrible nappy rashes, fever and missing the basic needs of life.

I enjoyed each character’s back story, but I did warm to Willow the most, she had suffered a lot and needed some good in her life. I will search for more of this author, and this reading experience was a case of finally being able to pick up a book from my shelf, without worrying about return dates or a review due. I recommend this book to those who enjoy contemporary stories with a dash of mystery, suspense, and some psychological twisty bits. I liked it.
Profile Image for Aditi.
920 reviews1,323 followers
July 22, 2015
“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”

----John Holmes

Mary Kubica, the national best-selling American author, pens her new psychological thriller, Pretty Baby, that unfolds a gripping and mystifying story about a woman who helps a homeless teenager and baby by providing them shelter and food in her own home, thus resulting in a unbreakable marital distance between herself and her husband, but when this teenager's story started surfacing up, things take a wrong turn thus making the woman question her decision about providing shelter to that teenager on the first place. After all it has been rightly said, "Do not judge a book by it's covers!"


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.

Heidi Wood is a mid-aged wife with a husband named Chris, who is more interested in the new office girl, and a jealous 12 year old daughter, Zoe. Heidi has a quality, she can't stop herself from helping others, be it homeless cats to homeless strangers. When Heidi sees a young teenager with a baby on a packed platform, her heart melts away. But when she sees her again after a few days, she takes up the opportunity to help that teenager and her baby by inviting them to her condo for an indefinite period of time. Now Heidi here is haunted by the consequences of her life as she once had a bad pregnancy, which is still kept her broken from all those pain. There is one slight problem about Willow's real identity, or whether even Willow is telling the truth about herself on the first place.

The novel centers around some social issues like homelessness of an orphan, being selfless towards people, humanity, foster care along with other family issues like marriage and relationships. These themes have been incorporated into the storyline very strongly and effectively because at the end of the book, the readers are forced to look through the fractures of a foster care.

The writing is absolutely fantastic though it takes a few chapters for the readers to adjust with the author's writing style which is very descriptive and contains visual imagery. The prose is evocative as it brings up the past and the pain related to it with the articulate narrative style that flows with ease and makes the readers perceive the depth of the storyline perfectly.

From the story, it feels the author have a strong grip over her psychologically challenged characters which are either depicted as flawed or broken up by their past. The story is told from Heidi, Chris as well as Willow's POV. In the begining the author gives the readers a brief sketch and outline of her main characters and leaving them with breadcrumbs with their mysteries. Slowly, along with Willow's mysterious identity, the rest of the main characters started to unfold vividly thus making the readers contemplate and understand the wounds of each character.

Heidi might annoy with her suspicious as well as curious demeanor although she behaved like a selfless woman most of the time. Whereas Willow is one of the most brilliant characters that I've ever come across in a psychological thriller, she fits the bill perfectly and she is the one who shows the readers with the defects in the highly-polished society.

There are many layers to the mystery which peels it's each layer teasingly, thus will keep the readers hooked on till the very end. The mystery has also been mixed with lots of emotions and compassion. The climax is so unexpected that will sure to throw the readers off their edges.

Verdict: A must-read psycho-thriller.

Courtesy: Thanks to the publisher for the ARC of this book.
Profile Image for Laurie  (barksbooks).
1,706 reviews662 followers
January 18, 2019
This is one of those domestic dramas where the people are all slightly off and keeping secrets but you don’t know that at first. At first they all seem pretty normal. Getting to the reveal of all of the secrets is my favorite thing about these books. Well, that and reading about messed up people because that is always a good time.

Heidi is a do-gooder. She’s always tried to help out the less fortunate and has a decently cushy life so when she spies a young lady with an infant out in the elements she offers the girl a meal. And wouldn’t you know it, soon enough she’s offering her a warm place to stay inside her home. The home where her bratty 12 year old daughter and husband also live. She doesn’t check with either of them. She just brings this bedraggled stranger and her smelly, screaming baby into her home . . .

Chris, the husband is not happy about this turn of events but he travels so much that Heidi basically shrugs off his worries and does what she wants. And what she wants is to care for that beautiful baby.

“My eyes staring at the baby with longing, craving another chance to do this right.”

You know things aren’t going to end well, don’t you?

I’m not going to spill the details because the little details and secrets are what make reading a book like this so addictive and so much voyeuristic fun. This story kept me hooked from beginning to end and I particularly enjoyed that it was told from multiple points of view and that it flipped around in time to keep me on my toes but it never confused me. The author would you give one delectable little tidbit and then move on, leaving me desperate to read more - to read it all. I had to know ALL of the messy little secrets and messy they certainly were!

I recommend this story, if this is your sort of thing.
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