Publication Date: 1 May 2017
Publisher: Ebury Digital
Hush Little Baby by Joanna Barnard follows three people part of the same family: Sally, Richard and Martha. After Sally and Richard’s baby boy, Oliver, breaks his arm, doctors believe it has to have been caused by one of the family members. Secrets from the mother, father and sister quickly come out.
“As soon as we got him home, it started; I obsessed about him dying.
I had been all bravado in the hospital, smug with my dark-eyed little bundle, and dosed up on painkillers. Holding him felt like the beginning of everything. I kept whispering his name – ‘Oliver, Oliver’ – relishing the taste of it on my lips. I breathed his new-born scent, stroked his tiny fingers one by one.”
The premise of this novel really captivated me because I love a psychological thriller within a family. The subject matter is distressing but written in a way that allows the readers to understand the situation. The way it was written was interesting because the story reads more like a drama than a thriller. Because of this, I would have enjoyed reading more grittier scenes to make it stand out as a thriller.
One of the main characters, Sally, was rather unlikeable. This was actually a good quality about her because I liked that she was not a great person and did not think of herself better than Martha or Martha’s mother, Zoe. The other two characters, Richard and Martha, were also unlikeable. Martha was much easier to read about but her chapters were rather uninteresting. The details given to show the readers what was good and bad about each character allowed me to make guesses on who the culprit was. At a certain point it got tedious to read because little was happening, and the reveals about each character were not shocking or surprising.
An aspect about the writing that seemed unnecessary was the scenes with backstory. It is not always needed to tell so much about a character and I sometimes skimmed over parts where the character was explaining something about their life. Aside from this, the writing was consistent and I enjoyed the choice of reading from the perspectives of three different people.
The ending was good and satisfying. It was quick yet still got the message across in an thrilling way. I was surprised by it, as it was a person I did not really suspect. The person who I thought it was did not commit the crime, so it was great to be wrong.
Although I did not enjoy this novel very much, I think many others would like it. Therefore, I would recommend Hush Little Baby to those who enjoy thrillers that are more of a mystery/drama.
Thank you to Ebury Digital for the advanced reader copy that I received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
- Will you be reading Hush Little Baby?