Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Perfect Little Children

Perfect Little Children by Sophie Hannah
HarperCollins: 2/4/20
eBook review copy; 336 pages
ISBN-13: 9780062978202

Perfect Little Children by Sophie Hannah is a recommended domestic thriller.

Beth Leeson is driving her 14 year-old son to his soccer game when she decides to take a little detour, since she's in the area, and look at her ex-best friend's house. She parks outside the house of Lewis and Flora Braid. She hasn't had contact or seen Flora in 12 years after the Braids came into money and moved, which was quickly followed by a schism in their friendship. Beth parks near the house when she sees Flora, but she also sees two young children and hears Flora call them Thomas and Emily. Beth is stunned by this since when she knew Flora, Thomas and Emily were five and three years-old. Flora looks older, but these two children look the same age, but they should be 17 and 15 now. And where is the baby, Georgina? Beth is shocked and decides to try and further investigate her former friend, with help from her husband Dom and daughter Zannah.

The story is unique, but, alas, I had a difficult time keeping my interest in finding out what was really happening with the Braids early in the novel. It is slow moving I just kept thinking that Beth's behavior was creepy. If you haven't seen someone for 12 years and you have ended the friendship, why would you be stalking them in real life? Sure, I can see some occurrence bringing an old friend to mind and you undertake some low key harmless on-line stalking, but Beth quickly escalates her curiosity to the level of questioning neighbors and further.

When the denouement is finally reached, it was satisfying, but I also felt a sense of relief that it was over. The basis of the plot stretches credibility. Combining a plot that requires you to suspend disbelief along with the lack of significant character envelopment made this novel a chore to read at times. At first I was freakishly hoping that there would be some science fiction twist to the story, but that was not to be. There are some twists and surprises. Probably a 2.5, but I'll round up.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.

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