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The Perfect Child

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  7,172 ratings  ·  917 reviews

A page-turning debut of suspense about a young couple desperate to have a child of their own—and the unsettling consequences of getting what they always wanted.

Christopher and Hannah are a happily married surgeon and nurse with picture-perfect lives. All that’s missing is a child. When Janie, an abandoned six-year-old, turns up at their hospital, Christopher forms an ins

Kindle Edition, First edition, 364 pages
Published March 1st 2019 by Thomas & Mercer
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Jeanine Stage No. I was worried about that initially myself, but it is very different. Janie is an actual child.
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4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,172 ratings  ·  917 reviews

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Feb 03, 2019 rated it liked it
I’m okay with not having a happy ending, but an ENDING would be nice. I feel like the book ended in what should have been the end of a chapter.

Good book, although I found the husband, Christopher, INFURIATING.
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure I've ever read such a crazy, intense, non-stop, haunting, anxiety producing novel...but only in the best and most desirable way. I didn't want it to end.

Once this book has you in it's grips, it won't let go. I started it this morning and literally could not put it down. My poor husband probably feels deprived.

Having received The Perfect Child free as a Kindle First February option, I honestly didn't have high expectations. These freebie books are hit or miss for me. Sometimes the
Monika Sadowski
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jesus, What I’ve just read?!?! This book is very disturbing but I couldn’t put it down.  My emotions where all over the place because I didn’t know who should I feel sorry for more. I guess all of them :(
It is a story of the couple Dr Christopher Bauer and his wife Hannah, who adopted an abused by her real mom child, Jenie. I think they underestimated how hard it is to foster traumatized child.
Lucinda Berry is a trauma psychologist and she uses her clinical experience to create psychological thr
Elaine Maynard
Feb 10, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
There was a knock on the door, I peeped behind the curtains to see who it was then I didn't bother to write a review after all.

PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
After years of infertility Dr Christopher Bauer and his wife Hannah, a nurse, gave up the idea of having a biological child. When abandoned and battered six-year-old Janie winds up in the ER, they decide to adopt her. Despite warnings from professionals that Janie trauma will take years to heal, if it ever does, the Bauers feel they are equipped. Then somebody dies.

Readers don’t know who the murder victim(s) is (or are) until near the end of THE PERFECT CHILD. Told from the first person points o
Amelia Strydom
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"We'd like to think a mother and father's love can turn everything around, but there are times where parents do the very best they can, but the kid- even from the get-go - is just a bad kid ... Ignore the problem, and we could have blood on our hands." Adrian Raine, psychologist (University of Pennsylvania).

After years of infertility, Christopher, an orthopaedic surgeon, and Hannah, a nurse, have given up on having a biological child. While they are lookin
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This may contain spoilers, but this book left me with a lot of thoughts and feelings.

This sh*t was bananas! B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

I started reading it on my lunch break on Monday and finished it a few hours later. I could not put it down, because I just had to figure out what the heck was happening! The story is told from three points of view. Christopher and Hannah (our main characters) and the child protective services lady, Piper. Christopher's character is absolutely infuriating, it amazed me how v
Feb 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Christopher and Hannah are a happy couple, but they long to have a child. When Janie, an abandoned six-year-old, shows up at the hospital where they work, Christopher wants to foster her. Despite the warnings about raising a child with an abusive past, they take her into their home and family. They are not prepared for the challenges they face.

Told with alternating points of view - Christopher, Hannah, and Piper, Janie's social worker. Christopher adores Janie and finds it difficult to believe s
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely INCREDIBLE! This is my second read from Lucinda Berry and she is a phenomenal writer. I just bought two more of her books, Phantom Limb, was just .99¢ today!

This book touched me, sent chills down my spine several times. I have worked with severely emotionally disturbed children, many who were in foster care. It touched me so much that I became an emergency placement foster parent. When I got married and had children I told my husband I was done having children in my home, I would not
Feb 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
No ending!

Great story, but then it just stopped. It was as if the author got tired and quit. Such a disappointment.
Sophie Bristow Harris
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I came very close to giving this a full house of 5 stars. However the last line ended on a cliff hanger and I believe the author only writes stand-alones....
It was a good, at times hard to read novel. The characters were all pretty unlikeable and unsavoury!
I love the bright cerise balloon on the cover and it depicts the book extremely well.
A nail biting and tense read which I read over a couple of days and enjoyed.
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
Man, this book really had an impact. On the plus side, it was gripping in a kind of "can't-turn-your-head-away-from-the-scene-of-an-accident" kind of way. I mean, I was really caught up...couldn't wait to find time to read and find out what's going to happen next, how's this going to turn out. The characters, although bordering on too stupid to live, engaged me and I cared about them. The demon child was the most evil kid I've ever seen, worse than THE BAD SEED. But then....that ending. Seriousl ...more
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Check out my reviews at !

This book was so stressful. Reading about Janie and her behavior had me on edge the entire time, I was worried about Christopher and especially Hannah throughout the book. Janie’s behavior was unpredictable and violent, and it was honestly scary. What do you do when you’re in danger but no one will believe you because she’s only a child?

I really enjoyed this
Christina McDonald
Intense, terrifying and at times utterly horrifying, I loved this book and found it one of those cra-cra, intense reads that I just couldn't look away from.

Christopher and Hannah have a perfect life except one thing. They can't have a baby. But when a battered and abused child winds up in their ER, they fall in love with her and decide to adopt her. But Janie is not the child they were expecting. Lead down a rabbit hole of devious and frankly terrifying behavior, Hannah becomes increasingly ter
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
After years of infertility, Dr. Christopher Bauer and his wife Hannah—a nurse that works at his same hospital—have accepted the fact that they may never be parents. But one night, a young girl is brought into their ER, badly abused and malnourished. Christopher, an orthopedic surgeon, is assigned as the girl’s surgeon to fix countless fractures. The little girl’s name is Janie and although she’s the size of a small toddler, she’s 6-years old. When Janie meets Christopher, she instantly warms to ...more
Ruthy lavin
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, unsettling and hauntingly believable.
This is a fantastic thriller, sure to give parents everywhere nightmares.
Easily worthy of 5 stars.
Lynda Kelly
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
This was my Kindle First pick for February. I had thought it was the author's debut only to find out once I finished it that she's written maybe half a dozen other stories. Don't know how she passed me by before but I'll be reading some of her others for sure. I see they all seem to be about damaged kids but you can also tell she knows her stuff (and explains things in simple, laymen's terms) so it's intriguing to learn about what she clearly gets to see in her "other job." I'm not a fan of chil ...more
Reeda Booke
Christopher, the husband, has to be one of the dumbest persons on the planet.
A typical evil child wrecking havoc in a home. Although Janie was bad, it's Christopher I wanted to slap. Enough said.
Jonathan Maas
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great domestic thriller - keeps going until the end. Hope to write a full review soon.
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2019
Kindle First Reads free pick for February. (Side note, these kindle first reads books have been good and allow me to read something I wouldn’t normally find on my own!) God, this book. This is just an edge of your seat psychological thriller. I mean, you know something bad is going to happen. The whole book is like inching along in traffic knowing you are coming up on a really bad accident. This book left me unsettled through the whole thing but couldn’t put it down. I’m more disturbed finding o ...more
LeTresa Payne
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was ok

I had to skip around in this book. It was just too much for me. It wasn't even that interesting after Janie kept up with her horrible behavior and the fact that Christopher was so blind to the child's problems. I'm so glad that this was a Kindle First read because if I would've spent money on it, I would be upset. Terrible book. Just awful. I rarely leave bad reviews, but this was not a good read. There was no saving this demonic child. This book wasn't even worth the time to read it and se
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was written by an actual child psychologist, I highly recommend!
Feb 18, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Darcia Helle
Feb 06, 2019 rated it did not like it
Me and this book were like a bad blind date. Nothing worked.

Be aware that there is a lot of vivid detail regarding child abuse, and there is also animal abuse. I'm not squeamish in the least, but, for me, the author went way overboard on this aspect. There are scenes I wish I hadn't read that I'd like to get out of my mind. Readers, in general, don't need to be assaulted with descriptive abuse in order to understand it.

I could have, maybe not enjoyed, but appreciated the story despite the abund
This was a really well told story even though there wasn't a lot of characters you could root for. The characters, particularly Hannah, were so beautifully tragic, and I felt for her. I could relate so very much to her feelings, her anxieties...virtually everything. I also felt frustrated with Christopher. His choices and actions were always questionable, even during the best of times. But the character of Jani is is a jaw dropper. Keep your eyes on her for sure! There were a lot of twists and t ...more
This was a no brainer for my Kindle First pick, I've previously read several books from this author. Based on past experience I went in expecting disturbing and was not disappointed!

It reminded me a little bit of Baby Teeth, but I thought this book was so much better. Christopher and Hannah are desperate for a child, but Hannah wants a baby and Christopher becomes very attached to six year old Janie after helping with her medical problems. It's clear from the beginning that Janie has many proble
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing

I loved the different perspectives from each character in the book! Amazingly written and extremely scary to think this could and probably is happening in real life!
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The first few chapters and this book was a shoe-in for a 5 star review. However, as the book progressed the number of stars declined. I knew nothing about Child Abuse Syndrome so an internet search revealed some basic facts and also a good article in The Open Neurology Journal from 2016. I did get confused as to whether this was Janie's diagnosis or if there was an alternative. The story is told from 3 viewpoints- Hannah's, Christopher's (so husband and wife) and a police investigation which is ...more
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Dr. Lucinda Berry's background is as unique as her stories. She has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, specializing in trauma and children. She uses her clinical experience to create compelling stories that blur the lines between fiction and nonfiction. If you want to contact her or be notified of upcoming new releases, please visit:

“Children of trauma are experts at triangulation.” “Triangulation?” I asked. “The child will act a certain way with one parent and a different way with the other parent. They try all kinds of things to drive a wedge in the parents’ relationship.” 2 likes
“Parenting a traumatized child is horribly difficult. Most of them suffer from severe attachment issues, and mothers are usually the targets of their rage. It can get pretty awful.” 2 likes
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