The #PrettyBaby Blog Tour: CTG reviews Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica

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What the blurb says: “A chance encounter. An act of kindness. A tangled web of lies. How far would you go to help a stranger? When Heidi Wood catches a fleeting glimpse of a teenage girl on a Chicago train platform, clutching a baby in her arms, she can’t get the image out of her head. Heidi is a charitable woman – but her husband and daughter are horrified when she returns home one day with the young woman, Willow and her four-month-old baby in tow. Dishevelled and apparently homeless, the girl could be a criminal – or worse. But despite her family’s objections, Heidi offers them refuge. As Willow starts to get back on her feet, disturbing clues to her past begin to surface and Heidi must decide how far she’s willing to go to help a stranger. What starts as an act of kindness quickly spirals into something far more twisted than anyone could have anticipated.”

This is a stunningly good second novel by Mary Kubica whose debut – THE GOOD GIRL – was one of my top reads of 2014.

Heidi is a caring, generous woman in a time-poor marriage complete with the challenges of a fast-growing up daughter and all the angst that can bring. She wants to do the right thing, driven by the need to help others, and so when she encounters Willow and baby Ruby she is unable to turn a blind eye like all the other commuters on the train. But bringing Willow and the baby home with her drives a wedge into the stress fractures in her family relationships, turning them from cracks to chasms. Becoming increasingly distant from her husband and her daughter, Heidi focuses on Willow and baby Ruby, even though she has no idea of the secrets they are hiding.

Both chilling psychological thriller and an emotion-filled study of a modern family’s life and the secrets they keep from each other – the doubts, the temptations, and the silent grief of a never spoken about sadness that never goes away – Pretty Baby has an ever building sense of unease that puts you on edge and compels you to turn the pages ever-faster to discover what has (and will) happen.

Perfect for psychological thriller fans.

 

Be sure to check out Mary Kubica’s website at www.marykubica.com and follow her on Twitter @MaryKubica

You can buy Pretty Baby from Amazon by following the link on the book cover below:

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Have a read of my review of Mary Kubica’s debut novel THE GOOD GIRL here

And be sure to check out all the other great #PrettyBaby Blog Tour stops …

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CTG Reviews: The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

The Good Girl cover image

The Good Girl cover image

What the blurb says: “I’ve been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she has her dry cleaning done, where she works. I don’t know the colour of her eyes or what they look like when she’s scared. But I will.

Mia Dennett can’t resist a one-night stand with the enigmatic stranger she meets in a bar. But going home with him might turn out to be the worse mistake of Mia’s life …”

This spellbinding debut thriller uncovers just how many dark secrets can be hidden behind a perfect family image. Schoolteacher, Mia Dennett, turned her back on her family’s extravagant lifestyle to work as an inner-city teacher and make her own way in the world. But when her boyfriend stands her up one time too many, a spare-of-the-moment decision to go home with the smooth and attractive Colin has horrifying consequences for more than just Mia.

Told through three main viewpoints – the mother, Eve, the kidnapper, Colin, and the cop, Gabe – each character shows the reader a different perspective on the events, and on Mia, leading up to, during and following the kidnapping.

It’s really hard to write about this story without giving anything away (and, trust me, you don’t want me to do that). What I will say is that with the different time-points told out-of-sequence, the story gradually builds the tension to the max as the details of what happened to Mia are uncovered. It’s a complex tale of deceit, jealously, fear, and love played out against the bustling, bright lights of Chicago and the frozen, unforgiving landscape of rural Minnesota in winter.

I found this artfully crafted story brutal at times, and yet so beautiful that it made me cry (and I can’t remember the last time a story did that). A stunning debut.

Highly recommended.

 

[with thanks to Harlequin MIRA for my copy of The Good Girl]