Everyone needs a guilty pleasure. Mine come in many forms (reality TV, Disney films, cheap white toast and butter…), but in book terms it equates to nasty psychological thrillers. After reading some real crackers of late- prizewinners, worthy, thought-provoking reads- I needed a break. An easy read of sorts. Hollie Overton’s debut novel Baby doll fitted the bill.
It’s been eight years since Lily, Abby’s twin, disappears from the face of the earth. A community and family is left shocked to the core. Then the unthinkable happens; Lily escapes, battered and abused, and returns home. But what happened to her? And more importantly, what happens now?
Escape is just the beginning.
The story reminded me so much of Room by Emma Donoghue, but instead Baby doll focuses more on the aftermath. This doesn’t make the setting any less shocking or uncomfortable, but doesn’t dwell on the details of the abuse as much as in Room. (That being said, I still vividly remember bits of Room, I’m not sure it will ever leave me).
I’m always interested in human behaviour, and the differing reactions of the community to Lily’s return were interesting. The story itself was a good one. There were plenty of twists and turns along the way; I genuinely cared what happened to Lily and her family. Ultimately, a thrilling, super-easy read that I consumed in two sittings. Not for the faint-hearted.
If you enjoyed this, watch The Missing Season 2; one of the finest British dramas I have ever seen.