The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld

Review published on September 29, 2017.

Wow! What a read this turned out to be! I was expecting it to be a little formulaic – girl goes missing, the hunt for her goes on – but this was nothing like that! It cleverly tells the story mainly from the points of view of Naomi, the child finder, who is hired by the desperate parents to track down their beloved daughter who went missing three years ago in the forest, and ‘the snow girl’, the missing Madison, as she tries to normalise the situation she has ended up in. She has always been a fan of fairy tales, so builds a bubble world around her by treating her ‘new life’ as a fairy story of which she is the main character ‘snow girl. This keeps her safe in her mind and takes the edge off the horror of the world she is now part of.

The setting is beautifully described throughout as you really get a sense of the vastness of the forest and the locations that Naomi is searching. She really is searching for a needle in a haystack. Meanwhile, you always get the undercurrent of Naomi and her past and sense that she is not only trying to find other missing children, but trying to find the past she has little memory of but that has such a powerful hold of her.

Her past life as a foster child is explored and there is a very sinister and dark undertone throughout, exploring some very difficult situations that don’t always make for pleasant reading. But they are approached with caution and care and never seem OTT or sensationalised or distracting from the overall message of the story.

The points of view switch really well so you are always intrigued as to the next part of the story and it is a gripping, heartbreaking and chilling read in equal measures! The author has captured the fairy tale element so beautifully and it shows the strength of humans in their fight for survival and the power that having hope in any given situation has in pulling you through.

A truly memorable read!

Karen Mace 5/5

The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld
W&N 9781474605533 hbk Jan 2018

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