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The Lost Child    by Emily Gunnis order for
Lost Child
by Emily Gunnis
Order:  USA  Can
Headline, 2020 (2020)
Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Emily Gunnis, author of The Girl in the Letter, now brings us The Lost Child. Like her previous work, the story moves back and forth in time to explore the connections between past tragedy and current crisis.

The story opens in 1960, where we see thirteen-year-old Rebecca being interviewed (without any adult support or breaks) by bullying DI Gibbs. Rebecca's abusive father suffered chronic battle neurosis, angered easily, and often sought 'whisky-fuelled oblivion'. When that happened, Rebecca would signal her friend Harvey with a torch and join him in the bomb shelter under Seaview Cottage. That evening, both Rebecca's parents ended up dead and the police don't seem to believe her account that someone else was downstairs arguing with her father.

The story fast forwards to 2014, when Harvey and Rebecca's daughter Jessie (who suffers from depression) has gone into labor early. Her boyfriend Adam is on a photo-shoot in Nigeria so she calls her dad for help (she is estranged from Rebecca). After the baby needs antibiotics, Jessie becomes paranoid and flees into the night with an infant who needs care. The police are called in and the story explodes in the newspapers.

Rebecca's younger daughter Iris (Jessie's half sister) is a journalist and covers the story, hiding her relationship to its subject. Back in time again, readers learn that Rebecca (now a physician) suffered a similar psychosis when Jessie was born, as did her own mother. As it becomes a race against time to find and save Jessie's sick child, Iris follows the trail back in time to work our where her half sister might have gone. The Lost Child is a gripping, absorbing novel.

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