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Dear Child

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  27,340 ratings  ·  3,407 reviews
A windowless shack in the woods. A dash to safety. But when a woman finally escapes her captor, the end of the story is only the beginning of her nightmare.

She says her name is Lena. Lena, who disappeared without a trace 14 years prior. She fits the profile. She has the distinctive scar. But her family swears that she isn’t their Lena.

The little girl who escaped the wood
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published October 6th 2020 by Flatiron Books (first published January 2019)
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Average rating 4.07  · 
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 ·  27,340 ratings  ·  3,407 reviews

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Nilufer Ozmekik
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After ten minutes long silence I started another ten minutes long ovation for this book! It’s brilliant, intense, dark, gripping, character-driven, shocking and also terrifying, nightmarish, high tension, scary, thought-provoking story with lots of twists, jaw dropping moments, extremely heart wrenching chapters and devilishly smart, stunning conclusion.

It is mostly quite fascinating mash up of Room and Wendy Walker’s “Don’t Look for me”. The characters were well-developed, emotionally layered,
Meredith (On Vacation)
Sick and Twisted

3.75 stars

Dear Child is a psychological thriller about a woman who is held in captivity in a cabin in the woods until she escapes.

13 years after disappearing after attending a college party, Lena is found. Having killed her captor, she is now safe. Her two children, Hannah and Jonathan, are rescued as well. However, Lena’s story doesn’t add up, and it is clear that she is hiding something. Her children are also keeping deadly secrets. Even though they have physically escaped, the
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
EXCERPT: He had returned and was standing over me, smiling, like before. I calculated that I'd been his prisoner for just over half a day now, although my senses and my intellect were at odds over this. in the darkness time stood still. And yet I still felt just about okay, so couldn't have been here much longer, I was tired, and had a headache, which I interpreted as a sign of dehydration, but my brain was still functioning. Even if all it could offer me was: after two or three days without wat ...more
Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs-read
Dear Child is a taut Psychological Thriller that will leave you scratching your head until the bitter end. Hausmann immediately drops the Reader into a fairly complicated human puzzle.

Although it can take some time to get your bearings, once the narrative really begins to unfold, it's completely intriguing.

The story is told from three main perspectives: a kidnapped woman, known as Lena, who has just escaped her captor; her daughter, Hannah; and Lena's father, Matthias, who has been searching fo
“Love. It’s love. No matter how sick, distorted and misunderstood, it’s still love. Love that spurs us on. That turns us into monsters, each in our own way.”

If I had to pick a quote from this book to summarize it, I’d say that’s the one. Romy Hausmann’s debut novel is a powerful look into the psychology of both love and trauma, and how it expresses itself uniquely through different people, sometimes in horrifying ways, and sometimes in healing ways.

The story is told in three narratives by ‘Lena
What a gripping plot! A real page turner that is disturbingly dark, twisted and unputdownable. Finally a phycological thriller that made for compelling reading.

Dear child is a novel by German author Romy Haussmann . A family held captive by their father who rules his household with scheduled bathroom times, locked doors, and protects his family from the outside world until they manage to escape his obsessive world . But the night mare just begins for Lena and her family as the police try to p
Jan 08, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
“5013 days… that’s how long I spent looking for my daughter”

What a deep, dark, read.

Lena has been missing for 13 years. So long in fact, that she’s had two children while being held captive by a madman.

When the opportunity presents itself, it’s time for ‘Lena’ to run! Unfortunately, she runs directly into the path of a passing car and ends up in the hospital.
The first words she manages to utter…

“ name is Lena ”

But is it really her? And why won’t the children tell the authorit
What the WHAAAAA!!!!!!???????

Shortest Summary Ever: Lena has been held hostage along with her 2 children. One night the unthinkable happens - she’s free, only to wind up in hospital, hit by a car. What happened, who is she, and is the nightmare truly over?

Thoughts: I’m never going anywhere again. Nope. Nope. Nope. Never. Agoraphobia is my jam. Yup. (Fetal position).

Good God what did I just read? Something that scared every bajeezer out of me! Every. Last, One. (Crossing myself ten times, clutch
May 24, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Where there’s feeling—even if it’s pain—there’s life that can be recovered.”

Matthias and Karin Beck's daughter, Lena has been missing for 13 years with absolutely no leads or clues as to what happened to her the night she disappeared. Then one night they get a call telling them that a woman matching their daughters description has been found and is a patient in a hospital a few hours away. But when they get to the hospital, is this really the case or is this just the start of another chapte
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4-5 stars rounded up.
This is a shocking and gripping story of abduction and captivity which goes beyond this to look at the effect of the trauma on the victims and their families. A young woman is injured when she is hit by a car, she is taken to hospital accompanied by a strange child Hannah, who says that she is the victims daughter and that the woman’s name is Lena. Is this Lena Beck who has been missing for thirteen years? Her mother Karin and father Matthias full of hope, rush to the hospi
Feb 08, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This certainly had some twists and curves I didn’t see coming.
An abduction that happens 14 years ago to then 23 year old, Lena. Then another woman is found after missing for 4 months who calls herself Lena and looks a bit like her, but is not her. 2 children born in captivity. An escape.
A father who faithfully believes he will find his daughter in the 14 years she’s been gone.
It made me think of my own 22 year old daughter who is leaving again to further her education this coming fall. A reminde
Jan 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dear Child - Romy Hausmann

Well that was twisty and just all kinds of... wrong!

This is a hard one to review without giving anything away but I will try. A woman escapes captivity only to hit by a car on the first road she come to. The driver is shocked but calls an ambulance immediately. As they head to the hospital the paramedics ask her name and a child’s voice says “Lena, her name is Lena”. But it’s not! And how did Hannah end up in the ambulance with her?

In the hospital the woman, whose real
Katie B
This book is one of the better psychological thrillers I have read in the last few years. It's dark and disturbing and I couldn't help but be engrossed in the story.

No doubt some comparisons can be made to the book Room by Emma Donoghue. You have a captivity plot and one of the narrators of the story is a child. However, don't skip this book just because you have read Room. Despite a few similarities Dear Child goes off in its own direction and I certainly didn't feel like I read the same book
Frank Phillips
Nov 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.25, rounded down!! What a great debut novel this was. To start with, this story takes place in southern Germany (Bavaria), which is where I was born and raised until I was 12 years old, so that immediately had me intrigued. Also, anything to do with creepy children intrigues me, so that was another plus. Let's just say that one of our young protagonists, Hannah, definitely met my creepiness expectations! The story was very dark and frighteningly realistic or at least plausible, to me. It gave ...more
When a woman called Lena is in a hit and run accident and is taken to hospital with her daughter Hannah, a tale of abduction and captivity in a cabin in the woods emerges. The police think the woman may be Lena Beck who was kidnapped fourteen years before and summon Lena's parents to the hospital to identify her. This may sound like a familiar theme - a controlling monster of a man, a woman abducted and hidden in a remote location, children born and kept locked indoors - but nothing is as it see ...more
Mar 15, 2022 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Had a hard time reading this book. Omg. The world is indeed a cruel place.

This is a story of Lena, a young woman who went missing 13 years ago, an odd little girl and a father who’s been searching for his daughter. How are these people connected? What happened to Lena?

Dark and menacing. One of those books that would probably make you feel uncomfortable and troubled. This will make you think the unthinkable and imagine the unimaginable.

So cruel and twisted. My heart broke for the main characters
Gloria Arthur (Ms. G's Bookshelf)
⭐️5 Stars⭐️

Five well deserved stars for this shockingly super-creepy thriller!

Wow! A compelling and page-turning story of abduction, cruelty and mystery. Imagine living in a cabin in the woods, windowless and isolated, everything you do is meticulously scheduled including bathroom visits. I’m not going to give too much away.....

Lena Beck, 23 a petite, blonde student disappeared without a trace after attending a party until 5 a.m. thirteen years earlier.

A woman is brought into hospital, critical
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Student Lena Beck went missing 14 years ago in Munich after going to a party. When a young woman is bought into hospital after a hit and run accident, the child Hannah she is with calls her mommy and says she is called Lena, they live in a cabin in the woods with her brother Jonathon and their dad.

Lena’s dad has never given up looking for his daughter and pesters the police for more information, he is hopeful that Lena is still alive. The suspense builds as he rushes to the hospital only to find
Sandra Hoover
BAM! The sound of a watermelon smashing as it's dropped on the floor . . . or a head shattering as it's beaten against a wall . . . or my mind exploding after reading this dark, chilling, one-of-a-kind psychological suspense thriller. You'll get the analogy after you read Dear Child. Friends, what we have here is as rare as hen's teeth - a brilliantly written thriller that imprisons readers in an isolated, windowless shack deep in the woods in the middle of nowhere with a woman, 2 children, and ...more
Carolyn Walsh
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“You haven’t got us, not really. It’s your prison, not ours.”

After finishing this book earlier today and sitting with it for a while to gather my thoughts, I still feel a bit conflicted about it. Initially, as it was off to a very rocky start with me, I berated myself for choosing a story that centred around characters kidnapped and held in captivity, a theme that has never really been my cup of tea. I’m one of the few people who weren’t totally enamoured by ROOM, or SILENT CHILD, or LOOK BEHIND
Sep 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a creepy and warped little book, translated from the German, about a woman and children who escaped from their captor. (It’s a good and smooth translation!) At first the story’s setup sounds like one we have all read before, with a woman raised in captivity and subjected to sexual abuse, but it turns out there are twists upon twists here. This first twist has to do with mistaken identity - when it turns out the woman identifying herself as “Lena” may not actually be the long-missing kidn ...more
Oct 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nazanin by: Mary Beth
4 Solid Stars

Told in multiple POV, 1st person, it’s a standalone novel. I think this was a good debut novel. Dear Child is a dark thriller, a creepy read and you should proceed with caution (view spoiler) It’s fast-paced with short chapters, unpredictable (about finding the bad guy) with a satisfying ending. My only complaint is its similarity with Room (I’ve watched the movie and haven’t read the book itself but I could see their similarit
Lyn❤Loves❤Listening #AUDIOBOOKADDICT
Audio... 3.5 Stars

The Male narrator almost ruined the audio for me with all his mouth sounds 😣 Thankfully there were two strong female narrators that helped me get through the audio.

Story....4 Stars
3.75 Stars.

Student, Lena Beck, 23, missing in Munich.

It's been 4,993 days and nights. 13 years of waiting for the phone to ring....and it does. Now there's a bit of hope, but what the parents find at the hospital is not what they expected.

I thought I had this puzzler figured out more than once, but no cigar! As the book summary reveals, an isolated life behind locked doors of a shack in the woods is the setting, and although we've heard similar stories before, DEAR CHILD keeps the storyline

Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

Normally I hate when a blurb says “this book is ABC meets XYZ.” Hate. It. But since this book actually was Room meets Gone Girl . . . .

Fourteen years ago the Beck’s daughter went missing and they never gave up hope of finding her alive one day. But when a young woman matching Lena’s description (down to a scar on her forehead) turns up in the hospital it is not she who Herr Beck recognizes. It’s the thirteen year old girl with he
Louise Wilson
Apr 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lena had been missing for 4000 days when her parents got the call to say that a woman matching her description had turned up at the hospital with a child. Lena had escaped from her abductor only to get knocked down in a hit and run accident. Matthias has never given up hope that is daughter is alive. But when he sees the woman he knows it's not his daughter. But why does her daughter, Hannah look like Lena did at that age? Hannah and her brother Joseph have been kept in a windowless cabin.

This s
Oct 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What kind of mother are you, Lena?
What kind of monster are you?

When a woman named Lena is the victim of a hit and run accident and turns up at a nearby hospital, a cold case is reactivated. She says her name is Lena, but how can it be? She disappeared without a trace thirteen years ago and this woman looks nothing like her. Is this really Lena? Where has she been?

Omg this book! When Alice Feeney says, “If you only read one thriller this year, read this one,” you listen! I. Couldn’t. Put. It. Do
I was fully prepared for this novel to be dark - one only has to read the blurb to know that. Just how dark and disturbing I was not quite ready for. Also, I thought that its darkness would be off-putting and hard to read, yet the author turned this story into one which I found myself devouring. I couldn't read the pages fast enough.

Why? Hannah. A young girl with such a distorted view that I just couldn't reconcile how she was going to move on with her life. And Jasmin... so damaged that at time
I can sum up Dear Child by Romy Hausmann in two words: INTENSE and BRILLIANT! OMG - What a physiological mysterious brain twister! Dear Child had me in a grip from 1st page to last! Seriously, I could not put this down until it was finished!

Told from multiple POV, the story of a woman who went missing for 14 years, and held captive by an overly protective, abusive man who hides her in the woods in a run down cabin. The parents are desperate in their attempt to find her and have always held out h
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Play Book Tag: Dear Child by Romy Hausmann - 4 stars 2 10 Oct 20, 2021 05:46PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Please add pagenumber 2 8 Aug 07, 2021 07:44AM  
English Translati...: Romy Hausmann - Dear Child - Germany 1 29 Oct 06, 2020 05:19AM  

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Romy Hausmann was born in the former GDR in 1981. At the age of twenty-four she became chief editor at a film production company in Munich. Since the birth of her son, Romy has been working as a freelancer in TV. DEAR CHILD is her thriller debut, and her second mind-bending thriller SLEEPLESS publishes in 2021. She lives with her family in a remote house in the woods near Stuttgart.

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