The Lost Child by Emily Gunis
Headline Review April 16th 2020
Some novels hold you in their spell and never let you go…
This is the heart-wrenching new novel from the author of the international bestseller The Girl in the
Letter, Emily Gunnis. Perfect for fans of Kate Morton and Kathryn Hughes The Lost Child is a twisting, nailbiting novel of a decades-old murder and a shocking secret.
A tragic death. A missing baby. A long-kept secret…
Thirteen-year-old Rebecca and her mother live in fear of Rebecca’s father’s violent temper. As a storm
batters Seaview Cottage one night, Rebecca hears a visitor at the door and an argument ensues. By the time the police arrive, the visitor has fled and both Rebecca’s parents are dead. No one believes Rebecca’s story
that she heard a stranger downstairs…
Iris, a journalist, is sent to cover the story of a new mother on the run with her desperately ill baby, as the police race against time to find them. When the trail leads back to Seaview Cottage, the childhood home of Iris’s own mother, Rebecca, Iris must unravel the events of the night Rebecca is desperate to forget for
Seaview Cottage to give up its secrets. To find the truth she must follow in her mother’s footsteps.
The Lost Child was in every sense multi generational, from post Second World War II to present day. The common thread were the women of the story, all beautifully portrayed by Gunnis, from Harriet, Rebecca, to Jess and Iris.
Harriet, strong, and in some ways brave, her actions the catalyst for the future, her intentions rooted in love.
Rebecca, blighted by tragedy, by guilt, unable to forget one fateful night, yet successful in her chosen profession.
Jess, pregnant, extremely vulnerable on a trajectory that would set off a chain of events that saw the women look back, reassess, seek forgiveness and closure.
Iris, journalist, life not as she wanted but she was our eyes and ears, our guide as we navigated the story of these women.
It was a story whose themes were common to all, yet the attitudes, response of both society and the medical profession different as we progressed through the years.
Domestic abuse, the ravages of post war trauma and the debilitating and shocking consequences of post natal psychosis were brilliantly examined by Gunnis.
You reeled as Harriet battled a husband who routinely took his rage, his battle trauma out on her. Your heart went out to their daughter Rebecca who tiptoed around, as voices and fists were raised. You got angry as police turned a blind eye, blamed Harriet and then oh my, the images Gunnis conjured of a young Rebecca, all alone, so so vulnerable, yet offered no comfort, treated like a criminal, as she reeled from the consequences of a vicious and deadly argument.
It was the post natal psychosis that fascinated, a time when the bond between mother and baby was strong, the joy of a new life to be celebrated yet everyone and every thing seen as the enemy, a potential danger to your baby. I was amazed to learn that it was genetic, could affect generation after generation of women, the only thing to change, the methods and understanding by which it was dealt with. It was an sight that was upsetting and scary and made me extremely grateful that my experiences were as they should be.
Gunnis’s skill lay in her ability to weave the educational and historical into her story. It perfectly complemented the differing stories of the women, one suffused with emotion.
Gunnis used their individual voices to tell their stories, it brought the reader closer to them, allowed them to have a better understanding of their actions and the devastating consequences that followed.
She gave a sense of unease, of a link that was missing, that we weren’t quite sure what it could be. As Gunnis pulled the strands together the narrative became more urgent, but you also sensed hope and forgiveness as it began to creep into her characters.
What lay ahead for these women, would the past stay in the past, would they move onto a future filled with light and happiness? To discover the answers I highly recommend you grab yourself a copy of The Lost Child. I guarantee Emily Gunnis will not disappoint.
I would like to thank Headline for a copy of The Lost Child to read and review and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
Emily Gunnis previously worked in TV drama and lives in Brighton with her young family. She is one of the four
daughters of Sunday Times bestselling author Penny Vincenzi. This is her second novel.