‘She’s got a new family now…’
Prepare yourself for this very creepy novel from Jenny Blackhurst.
The Foster Child is published in paperback today with Headline and I was very lucky to receive a copy in advance to review. Having read and thoroughly enjoyed Before I let You In, I knew this was going to be a book I would find hard to put down.
Please read on for my thoughts….
When child psychologist Imogen Reid takes on the case of 11-year-old Ellie Atkinson, she refuses to listen to warnings that the girl is dangerous.
Ellie was the only survivor of a fire that killed her family. Imogen is convinced she’s just a sad and angry child struggling to cope with her loss.
But Ellie’s foster parents and teachers are starting to fear her. When she gets upset, bad things seem to happen. And as Imogen gets closer to Ellie, she may be putting herself in danger…..
The brilliant new novel from Jenny Blackhurst , the #1 eBook bestselling author of HOW I LOST YOU , which Clare Mackintosh called ‘utterly gripping’ and BEFORE I LET YOU IN
The Foster Child tells the story of Ellie Atkinson, a little girl aged 11. Ellie has had a very tough childhood. She lost all her family in a house fire and with nobody to care for her, she ends up ‘in the system’ in a foster home. Ellie is socially awkward and has difficulty in making close friends with anyone. Unfortunately, children in this situation very often find themselves a target for the school bullies. Such is the case with Ellie. A new town, a new family, a new school make life extremely difficult for her and she slowly withdraws into herself, instigating further antagonism from her class mates.
Imogen Reid, a child psychologist with her own secrets to hide, returns back to her childhood home in Gaunt with her husband Dan. They have decided to swap the busy city lifestyle and embrace a more relaxed way of life by moving to the country. Imogen left Gaunt when she was fifteen. Now that her mother has passed away, Imogen has inherited the family home so it makes sense for them to upsticks and take on this new challenge. Imogen and Dan have been through some very tough times, so this change of pace is welcomed, but with some hesitation. Imogen has ghosts she must overcome before she can ever truly fit back in to life in Gaunt, but with Dan she intends to conquer these fears and start again.
Imogen gets a job with the public health service assisting with placements etc and she soon discovers that one of these cases is Ellie Atkinson. Imogen never really had a childhood so she has great empathy for Ellie’s situation and is very hesitant to listen to rumours that are circulating in the town about Ellie.
Imogen sets out to acquaint herself with Ellie and soon finds herself tangled up in something far bigger than she had ever anticipated.
Jenny Blackhurst has set the scene perfectly in this book. As a reader you really have very little idea of who the innocent party is.
Imogen Reid is conscientious to the extreme with her work and gets very wrapped up in Ellie’s case. She refuses to listen to the gossip that is following in Ellie’s trail, as comments about how strange she is arise. Certain people in the town start to fear Ellie and as bad stuff starts to happen, there is plenty of finger pointing in Ellie’s direction.
With a reference to Carrie White (1976 movie/1974 Stephen King book of same name) mentioned in the novel, in relation to Ellie’s disturbing behaviour, Jenny Blackhurst is obviously very aware that this is not a new theme in fiction. But there are many other themes explored throughout this novel, all dealing with very important issues that challenge the society we live in today. Jenny Blackhurst weaves all these into a creepy and sometimes uncomfortable read. Bullying is always a difficult topic to read about but add in the possibility of the occult and it makes for a very intriguing twist to a tale.
The Foster Child is a totally absorbing novel. I loved the short chapters. It gave the book a very ‘fast’ feel to it. Difficult to figure out whodunnit here folks!!
Gripping, page-turning, fast-paced and highly engaging novel
Purchase Link ~ The Foster Child
Jenny Blackhurst grew up in Shropshire where she still lives with her husband and children. Growing up she spent hours reading and talking about crime novels – writing her own seemed like a natural progression.
The Foster Child is her third novel.
Twitter ~ @JennyBlackhurst