Review : Hush Little Baby – Joanna Barnard

Hush Little Baby is a chilling tale of how you can so quickly lose control of a situation and how everything you try to do seems to make it worse. Who hasn’t made a throwaway comment or posted online about how they’d kill for a bit of sleep… and who out there hasn’t said that kind of thing without even thinking of how it could be interpreted if something bad happens? Not many of us, I bet.

Sally and Richard’s nightmare begins when baby Oliver is found to have a badly broken arm and the spotlight turns onto them while the police and social services try to determine how the injury occurred, and whether or not he is safe to return to them. Sally has been on her first night out since having Oliver, and Richard has snuck out somewhere and left his teenage daughter from his first marriage ‘minding’ the baby. However Richard chooses to lie to both Sally and the police about his whereabouts, thus making us wonder where he was, and what he was up to?

Richard’s daughter Martha has a difficult relationship with Sally, the woman her Dad left her Mum for, and suddenly discovers that she has her own escalating situation to deal with, all the time covering up for her Dad – was she involved in Oliver’s injury? Sally’s case is not helped by the fact that she’s hungover, stinks of booze and has had only a few hours sleep when they are interviewed by the hospital and police personnel.

This is a fast paced read, and it’s scary how fast things happen and at the same time, frustrating how the red-tape means that absolutely nothing happens for ages. Baby Oliver is removed to a ‘place of safety’ and yet then weeks pass before any further action is taken. Sally and Richard are going out of their minds, and also are facing the cracks in their own relationship; has Richard been unfaithful to Sally as he was with her? Is he planning on leaving? What happened in those drunken moments that Sally can’t remember? Was Martha involved? What was she doing in the house that night? There are so many questions to be answered, and this book really keeps you on the edge of your seat – right until the very last chapter.

5/5

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