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The Bookworm Sez: “Dear Child” by Romy Hausmann

The Bookworm Sez: “Dear Child” by Romy Hausmann

There’s no one else like you in the world.

No one with the same tongue-print or identical ear shape. Nobody else has your memories, and every experience you’ve ever had is unique to you alone. You might favor one parent or the other, you may have a twin or a doppelganger, but in the end, you are one-of-a-kind. You’re irreplaceable but, as in the new novel, “Dear Child” by Romy Hausmann, someone can sure try.

Hannah was sure that Sister Ruth wasn’t too smart.

Minutes after Hannah arrived at the ER with Mama, she was whisked from Mama’s side and into another room to wait, then this Sister Ruth walked in, acting like she didn’t understand words. Hannah had already patiently explained that Mama’s name was Lena; that there’d been a car accident; they’d left Hannah’s brother, Jonathan, home to clean the rug; and Hannah was concerned because bloodstains were hard to get out of a carpet.

For nearly 5,000 days, Matthias waited for his daughter, Lena, to come home.

He tried to keep hope alive, for his own sake and for that of his wife, Karin, but in his heart, Matthias knew Lena would never sleep under his roof again. She was probably dead, but yet, he didn’t know – so when a former friend, a policeman, called and said they’d found a woman with an identical facial scar and she might be Lena, that Matthias should wait before going to the hospital, well, that was impossible. Matthias and Karin went without question.

The woman didn’t want them to think she was awake.

The two men beside the hospital bed were obviously policemen and she knew they were waiting to question her so she just listened, wanting to be sure she had the facts right before she stirred. Her ribs hurt, probably because of the beating. She had trouble thinking; probably from the accident. For sure, though, she could tell them three things: she hit that man in the head with a snow globe, hard.

Those children weren’t hers.

And her name was not Lena.

Reading “Dear Child” is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle without the right box.

You know there’s a cabin there, and a little girl, and blood. You know that something horrible happened, but there are holes and the full picture won’t appear until author Romy Hausmann hands you the right puzzle pieces to complete the scene.

Until then, every jigsaw piece looks dark and dank, which is appropriate for a boarded-up setting. You can turn the puzzle bits in a circle every-which-way in your fingers, but they must fit and nothing does. Are you looking at woods or a cavern? A child or a damaged woman? A father… or a monster?

Make sure the edge of your chair has extra padding because that’s where you’ll be perched while you’re reading. Prepare to have your eyebrows stuck up by your hairline for a few hours, because “Dear Child” is that kinda book. There’s no one else like you, and you will love it.

“Dear Child” by Romy Hausmann
c.2020, Flatiron Books
$26.99 / $36.50 Canada
368 pages

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