“Make no mistake, my darling. I am coming for you. I will take you back.”
― Sanjida Kay, The Stolen Child
The Stolen Child by Sanjida Kay is a psychological mystery set in atmospheric Yorkshire. Zoe and Ollie have adopted a little girl, Evie, after years of trying and failing to get pregnant. When Evie is seven, they are a little family, having surprisingly had a little boy as well. Zoe is a painter working on an exhibition, and their family life is busy as she and her husband juggle work and family life. It comes as a great shock, then, when Zoe discovers letters Evie has been receiving from someone claiming to be her biological father and wanting her back.
The story moved quickly, and kept me entertained and curious, though I have to admit, I guessed the resolution about half-way through. Still, I wanted to know whether my suspicion was correct, so I happily kept reading until the end.
Here are the things I liked best and didn't like so much about this book.
The good: The setting was very atmospheric and felt almost like another character in the novel, which I always love, especially if it is a place I have never been. The author also builds a sense of suspense and the story of the adopted child really intrigued me, because I have always been drawn to the idea of adopting myself. The family dynamics were well-illustrated and felt quite real, which, however, brings me to the part I didn't love about this book.
The bad: The characters, though probably realistic in their behavior and the way Kay developed them, did not appeal to me. Zoe felt a bit whiny and not particularly warm, and her husband was difficult to gauge and a little colorless. I did feel for them - how could I not - but I did not want to know them. This is not unusual, of course. You don't always like the characters in books and sometimes even unlikable ones are terribly intriguing. However, in this story, I did feel it was the author's intention to make Zoe a relatable and likable character and it somehow missed the mark for me.
Final thoughts: Though I had some niggles with the protagonist, I was engaged and entertained by the story from start to finish and would definitely read books by this author in the future. I would recommend this book to fans of psychological thrillers and authors such as Sibel Hodge, Ruth Ware, or Fiona Barton.
Thanks to Corvus Publishing for supplying me with this copy in exchange for an honest review!
"Zoe and Ollie Morley tried for years to have a baby and couldn't. They turned to adoption and their dreams came true when they were approved to adopt a little girl from birth. They named her Evie. In the days following Evie's birth the new parents watch anxiously as their precious daughter struggles - she is battling the severe effects of the drugs her birth mother was addicted to.Seven years later, the family has moved to Zoe's native Yorkshire and grown in number: a wonderful surprise in the form of baby Ben, conceived naturally against the odds. Ollie is earning good money allowing Zoe to pursue her career as an artist. As a working mum it's not easy, but Zoe has an exhibition coming up and her reputation is growing. Life is good. But then Evie begins to receive letters and gifts. The sender claims to be her birth father. He has been looking for his daughter. And now he is coming to take her back..."