Title: Hush Little Baby
Author: Joanna Barnard
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…
I really enjoyed Hush Little Baby. I’m not a mother myself, and don’t in fact have many friends with kids (yet!) so I can’t read this novel when any sense of knowing exactly how it feels to have a child, let alone lose your child to the social services system because of something you didn’t do. It also may have been easier for me to read about a subject like a child being hurt without becoming as upset. Regardless, the writing by Joanna Barnard makes you feel like you’re going through it; like you’re struggling to prove your innocence against an injustice and people who seem to want to take your child away, and it’s an interesting read.
Told from three different point of views, the novel focuses as much on Sally and a Richard’s relationship and Richard’s daughter Sally and her struggles, as the actual ‘incidence’ itself. Though I really wanted to know who hurt baby Oliver, that ends up being more of a side issue, with the plot instead focussing more on the way it affected each person and their family, and the sense of distrust that this kind of case can bring. Therefore the novel lacked a strong sense of ‘mystery’ or ‘thriller’ element, but I didn’t mind this – it didn’t feel like it was supposed to be that kind of book anyway. I became wrapped up in the story of Richard and Sally’s fight to try and get their son back… and those characters felt really well developed. I don’t want to give too much away but some of the character’s actions made me *hate* them and others I felt desperately sorry for. No one comes across as blameless though; each has their own faults and this felt far more realistic than when an author tries to clearly define ‘kind’ and ‘horrible’ characters.
Hush Little Baby made me think about how I’d feel in this situation, and is an enjoyable, easy read which left me wanting to read more by this author.