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. If you love Louise Jensen’s THE GIFT or SK Tremayne’s THE ICE TWINS you will love this.
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…
In Jenny Blackhurst’s latest book The Foster Child, we are introduced to eleven-year-old Ellie Atkinson who has already faced horrific times in her short life. Her family have been killed in a house fire; Ellie was the only one who survived.
Now Ellie has been placed with a foster family, but on top of losing her parents and her home, Ellie is faced with a torrent of abuse from her fellow pupils and even, shockingly, from some of her teachers. But what is it about Ellie that makes people, including adults, fear her? And why do strange things appear to happen whenever she is around?
I really enjoyed reading this book. I loved the short chapters, which kept me turning the pages; I wanted to find out what was going to happen to Ellie and to those around her. I found myself asking a lot of questions about Ellie which I wanted to get to the bottom of. There were times, as I was reading this book, when I couldn’t quite make up my mind about her. There were some scenes in the novel when I felt that what she really needed was a hug and I really wanted things to get better for her, but there were other times when I could almost see why people treated her this way. This was what made this book a really fascinating read, I could see why people were thinking the way they were and it made it all the more interesting to find out the truth. Jenny really did pull some startling revelations out of the bag with this one and I was totally surprised by the ending.
Jenny also introduces us to child psychologist Imogen Reid. Imogen has just returned to the town of Gaunt – the town where she grew up – and it is here that she meets Ellie for the first time. When she is assigned to Ellie’s case she is horrified by the level of hate which is directed towards this young girl. But as she grows attached to her, Imogen begins to wonder if there is some truth in the rumours. In both Ellie and Imogen we have two, utterly engaging characters. What I really found interesting was how my opinion of each character changed as the book progressed. I imagine that this book will prompt plenty of discussions in book groups.
The Foster Child is a seriously creepy read. Jenny does an excellent job at building up the tension which kept me glued to the pages. Highly recommended, I’m looking forward to seeing what Jenny does next. Thank you to Millie Seaward at Headline for sending me a copy of the book to review.
Publication date: 21st September 2017 (kindle) 16th November 2017 (paperback)
Print length: 400 pages