My grateful thanks to Becky Hibbert at Penguin Random House for a copy of Hush Little Baby by Joanna Barnard in return for an honest review.
Hush Little Baby was released in e-book by Ebury Press yesterday, 1st May 2017, and is available for purchase and paperback pre-order here.
Hush Little Baby
When baby Oliver breaks his arm, no-one can (or will) say how it happened.
His mother is exhausted.
His father is angry.
His older sister is resentful.
And they all have something to hide.
My Review of Hush Little Baby
Ten month old Oliver has a broken arm and no-one is able, or willing, to say what happened.
Firstly let me say that Hush Little Baby is a cracking domestic thriller that keeps the reader guessing throughout. I definitely suspected every character who had access to Oliver on the day of the injury. I was desperate to know what had happened.
However, what struck me so much about Hush Little Baby was the exploration of the characters, what makes us human and the eye opening information about what happens and could happen when physical abuse is suspected. The reactions of those outside the family made for uncomfortable reading as I felt my own attitude was being highlighted quite unfavourably. I think I’ve probably fallen into the ‘no smoke without fire’ opinion in the past and now I feel quite ashamed. The themes in Hush Little Baby are brilliantly handled. We frequently don’t know what goes on behind closed doors and Hush Little Baby illustrates just how easily an ‘ordinary’ family can implode.
Hush Little Baby is a masterclass in character driven plotting. Whilst Oliver’s injury is the catalyst for the action, it is almost incidental as Joanna Barnard peels back the layers of Sally, Richard and Martha. I went through the complete range of emotions about each of these characters. At times I hated, loved and pitied each one. They are so vivid and real that it was difficult not to believe that they are not living people. The first person perspectives add to this feeling so effectively. Joanna Barnard is able to create a fifteen year old girl and an adult man with equal skill and realism.
Each character has a past that helps the reader gain full insight into why they are as they are and I really felt as if Joanna Barnard was manipulating me thoroughly as she controlled how I felt about each one. Several times I exclaimed aloud ‘Oh!’ I had a busy time when I began reading Hush Little Baby and couldn’t devote sustained periods to reading it. I think it says something about the quality of the book that I wondered how the characters were faring when I wasn’t reading.
I thought Hush Little Baby was intelligent, skilful and absorbing and I really recommend it.
About Joanna Barnard
An English Literature graduate, Joanna Barnard has experience in marketing and as a counsellor. In 2014, she won the inaugural Bath Novel Award. A Northerner currently exiled in the South of England, Joanna misses flat vowels, friendly bus drivers and chips and gravy.
She is the author of Precocious and Hush Little Baby.