Thursday, September 10, 2015

Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica

In Kubica's (The Good Girl) second novel of dark psychological suspense, good Samaritan Heidi Wood sees what she suspects is a homeless girl and child on the platform of Chicago's "L" in the pouring rain. No longer willing to ignore them like the rest of the commuters, she convinces a leery Willow and her baby to come to her home where she lives with preteen daughter Zoe and husband Chris.

What Heidi discovers after she invites them into her home is an infant who has been seriously neglected and a mother who is too young and inexperienced to know better and may be running from trouble. Chris, Heidi's husband, fears that Heidi is putting their own family in danger but she is too enraptured with the baby who reminds her of their second child who she had to abort when they learned that Heidi had cancer while she was pregnant.

Like her first novel, the story alternates between the first person narration of three characters: Heidi, Chris and Willow. Willow's chapters offer startling insight into how she came to be on that Chicago L platform with blood on her shirt while Heidi and Chris's narratives lay out the unraveling of a woman still suffering from the loss of a child and how their lives converge during a wet and dark Spring.

Readers hearts will go out to Willow and Heidi making them sympathetic characters. Ratcheting up the suspense is Kubica's signature style that keeps the pages turning.

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