I have to rate this novel five stars for its exceptional characterisation and brilliant writing. This book stole my life for two days and I squeezed in reading it whenever possible - I got 3 hours sleep the final night and cried when I got to the twist! (I won’t comment on that for spoiler reasons!) absolutely gut wrenching, heartbreaking emotional rollercoaster. A little slow in parts but it’s a literary novel after all. I felt a bit disappointed at the end because I would have liked to know so much more, but I respect the authors intentions behind ending it this way. I’m still heartbroken and it’s been over 24 hours since I read it. I haven’t slept properly - those poor children and their stories have haunted me. I have a three year old and it terrifies me to my core to think of children being abused and neglected both physically and psychologically in the ways depicted in this novel. Not for the faint hearted, but a genuinely powerful and emotive read that asks important questions of its readers but doesn’t necessarily answer them itself. Which, in itself, speaks volumes about humanity and the big questions to which some of us never find conclusive answers. Arrrggg!!! This book is amazing. Abigail Dean is incredibly talented..
Edit: I have to add that I kept thinking the story was real and if I googled it I’d find their names and faces, photographs and articles etc mentioned in the story. Everything she wrote was just so profoundly REAL and that, I suppose, is what made it such a powerful read.