When baby Oliver breaks his arm, no-one can (or will) say how it happened.
His mother is exhausted.
His father is angry.
His older sister is resentful.
And they all have something to hide…
Hush Little Baby by Joanna Barnard begins on the night that little Oliver gets hurt. His mother is out with friends. She comes back home a bit drunk and then the next day; she is woken by her husband carrying her wailing baby, Oliver. The baby is rushed to the hospital and all hell breaks loose when the doctors find out that his arm is fractured. Things become even more complex when nobody seems to know how Ollie got hurt.
This is a domestic thriller. The story was more about how the family was affected by the injury. The secrets started coming out and Ollie’s accident revealed the cracks in what at first seemed like a perfect family. Throughout the story, I kept trying to guess what happened to Ollie. Of course there were theories. It could have been a natural injury caused by vitamin D deficiency or it could have been caused by someone’s actions. I couldn’t guess.
The three main characters are also the narrators. We get to hear the story from Martha (the step-sister), Sally (mom) and Richard (dad). These narrations are told through alternating chapters. I sympathized with the family and in particular, the mom, Sally. I can’t imagine what she was going through. Richard’s character is bound to elicit mixed reactions. When you read the story, you will get why. I also sympathized with Martha who was already struggling with fitting into the blended family. She had issues with finding acceptance not just in the family but at school too. However, I also had my suspicions about the three. What happened to Ollie? Who among them knows the truth? The three stories are interwoven with the mystery behind Ollie’s injury.
Hush Little Baby by Joanna Barnard is definitely a character-driven thriller. However, the pacing is brisk. There is a lot that is going on hence the pace keeps moving as we get further insights into the family and their secret lives. It was an easy read in terms of pacing though the themes were far from being light. My only issue with the book was the conflict resolution which felt a bit sudden. Nevertheless, I think that fans of domestic noirs and family-drama thrillers will like this book.