Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica

imageBefore starting Pretty Baby, I had heard some really good things and read some rave reviews, which meant that whilst I really wanted to read it, I was also very nervous that I would be disappointed.  In fact, I’ve owned the book for a few months now and kept putting off reading it.  Once I did crack the spine though, it turns out my fears were just that because from page one the book grabs you and doesn’t let you go.

It starts with Heidi seeing a young girl with a baby standing on the train platform on a very rainy morning.  They look bedraggled and in need of food and shelter.  She hesitates, but gets on the train.  Then she sees them again, and again, and the need to help becomes so strong she can’t help herself and – despite the objections of her husband and daughter – she brings them home.

The girl, Willow, seems fragile, scared.  She won’t talk about her past, where she has come from, how she ended up living on the streets, and Heidi doesn’t push.  She doesn’t want to know because she is starting to love having the baby, Ruby, in their house.  Ruby’s needs and unconditional love are welcome distractions from the angst of her teenage daughter Zoe and the absence of her husband Chris who seems to be constantly travelling for work.

Whether Willow likes the interest Heidi is taking in her daughter, or is truly what she seems – a lonely, homeless, girl in need of love herself – is another matter and Mary Kubica keeps you on the edge of your seat as you try to figure out just who she is and if she is a danger to the family who have taken her in…or if they are a danger to her.  Told in alternating chapters from the perspective of Heidi, Chris and Willow, it’s like a jigsaw you have to put together.

I really like this style of storytelling and found this story in particular quite compelling.  It was well written, with good pace and each character seemed like their own person with their own voice.  There were plenty of twists and turns and second guessing and, whilst I have to say I wasn’t too keen on any of the characters in the beginning, I had started to care about all of them by the end and the predicament they found themselves in. No one ended up being quite who I thought they were.  It all made for a great book and one I kind of feel I can sum up in one word – it’s how I felt when I’d finished – “wow!”.  Loved it!

Emma

14 comments
  1. I have an earlier book by Kubica (is it Good Girl?) on my TBR and I’m intrigued by this as well. The jigsaw feeling always makes for compelling reading.

    1. The Good Girl is really good too, though I think I prefer this. Such an interesting story idea and so well written.

  2. I loved this one, too, even more than the previous book, The Good Girl…although I enjoyed that one, too. I found myself holding my breath with each choice Heidi made that seemed risky…and frightening. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I was doing the same thing. I really couldn’t see how it would end up. I thought this was better than the good girl, though I enjoyed that too. This felt more accomplished and that Kubica has grown as a writer.

  3. Wow is exactly how I felt after reading this book too. I was gripped the whole way though and it really shows how first impressions may not always be the right ones. I have her other book (The Good Girl) and can’t wait to read it soon. It was actually free on ibooks one day and I snapped it up!

    1. I felt quite exhausted after reading it – though that may have been because I stayed up late to finish it 😀 I enjoyed The Good Girl too, though have to say you can see here how Kubica has grown as a writer.

  4. Great review! I really do want to read this one – it sounds fascinating, and I really like books that have characters you just aren’t sure about. It makes it quite intriguing!

    -Lauren
    http://www.letsgetbeyondtolerance.blogspot.com

    1. It really is a good read. A page turner. Enjoy!

  5. This was an especially good read. Did you read The Good Girl? I loved the writing in style I that one as well. Kubica writes good thrillers.

    1. It really was. Even better than I’d hope. I enjoyed The Good Girl but did think this was better.

  6. I’m very much with you on this Emma. It’s the sort of book you think it going to go one way and it veers in another direction completely!

    1. Absolutely. And it does it so well!

  7. […] of the week wasn’t quite as exciting and book wise a bit of a mixed bag. I got my review of Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica posted and read and reviewed Girl Meets Boy, a short story by Ali Smith and part of […]

  8. […] told, I read one book I loved this month, Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica. I had heard great things about it and was a bit worried I would be disappointed. I […]

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