Cat. Tom. Freya. A nice happy little family….until it isn’t.
Imagine that you wake in the middle of the night to a knock on the door. A police officer stands there with a young girl; a child you had no idea existed until that moment and just like that the familiar life that you knew is gone.
Cat Lupo is the woman whose world starts to fall apart after she discovers that her video games designer husband Tom has fathered Ruby after a one night encounter. Ruby’s mother has died in suspicious circumstances and Tom is the only family that she has.
As a clinical child psychologist Cat spends her days treating children who have been diagnosed with anti-social personality disorders. While Cat is in shock she does want to do what is right for the girl and tries to accept Ruby into their life, but all is not right with the girl. Items go missing, a dead hamster is found in Cat’s bed and Freya becomes quiet and withdrawn. Cat with all her training can recognise mentally ill children and she becomes convinced that that is what Ruby is. It is not long before she begins to fear for her own daughter’s safety, a concern she tries to share with her husband and her sister without positive results as they start to believe that an intensive period of psychosis suffered before the birth of her own child has once again taken hold of Cat.
Seeming to lose all her lines of support we are drawn into the claustrophobic intensity of the unfolding drama as Cat hunts for the truth about Ruby, her mother Lily her evasive husband Tom and dark secrets from the past..
Cat’s research tells her there’s no such thing as evil. Her history tells her she’s paranoid. Her instincts tell her different.
Give Me The Child is a skilfully written, engrossing read with an unforgettable twist at the end . This is the story of a dysfunctional family in meltdown which asks uncomfortable but important questions about how much we know about our partners, our children and ourselves.
Reviewed by Fiona Frost
Catalogue link: Give Me the Child