Monday, July 11, 2016
Held captive for eight years, Lily has grown from a teenager to an adult in a small basement prison. Her daughter Sky has been a captive her whole life. But one day their captor leaves the deadbolt unlocked.
This is what happens next... to Lily, to her twin sister, to her mother, to her daughter -- and to her captor.
For fans of Gone Girl and Girl on the Train, BABY DOLL is the most tense thriller you will read this year. -- Redhook
When I started the novel BABY DOLL by Hollie Overton, my first thought was that it reminded me an awful lot of Emma Donoghue's ROOM; and if you are familiar with that story, you will see why. The story begins with the suspenseful escape of Lily and her six year old daughter Sky from a man who had held them captive from the time Lily was just a teenager. Lily dreamed of an escape for years, so when her prisoner left the deadbolt unlocked, she took advantage of his carelessness. The remaining part of the story delves into Lily's attempts to return home and begin a life of normalcy.
What set this book apart from ROOM is the intriguing way it explored the relationship of Lily and her family after her return home. Her father had passed away and her mother was definitely lost as she worked her way through a variety of men. Her twin sister, Abby, was once her best friend and unable to fully move on after Lily's mysterious disappearance. Needless to say, things were complicated.
When Lily arrives home (after discovering that she was only a few miles away the entire time!), she thinks her problems are behind her. She is determined to see the man responsible put away for his crimes, and she's eager to pick up her relationships -- the ones that she assumes haven't really changed since she left. Unfortunately, a great many things have happened during the years Lily was missing including Abby's pregnancy to her ex-boyfriend.
BABY DOLL is a very interesting approach to a kidnapping story. Most of the novel takes place after the action of Lily's and Sky's escape; however, there still is an undeniable tension in the story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. I don't want to give too much away, but there are some twists in store and a surprise or two along the way.
One thing the author did really well was make the relationships in Lily's life extremely real. While there were times when I did have a hard time understanding Lily (and Abby), I had no problem believing that their feelings and actions were genuine. I was deeply impressed with how well the author portrayed the relationship between identical twin sisters -- both when they were together and apart. She managed to create a believable bond between these two characters that added another dimension to the story. After finishing the book, I learned that Ms. Overton is a twin herself -- totally makes sense!
Another thing I enjoyed about BABY DOLL was how the story was told. The author chose to write chapters in the voice of a variety of characters including Lily, Abby and even the captor! On one hand, I kind of wish the identity of the culprit wouldn't have been revealed so early; however on the other hand, it was interesting to get into the mind of a mad man!
Finally, I liked that the book had some suspense. For a big part of the novel, I felt as if the action occurred in the first few pages and that nothing else might happen. I admit I was a little concerned. However, there was always a part of me that had a certain "feeling" that something MAJOR was going to happen. I guess what I'm saying is that I appreciated how the author not only built suspense, but also left me questioning what was going to happen.
Overall, BABY DOLL is an interesting suspense novel. Recommended to fans of thrillers and books about family dynamics.
Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.
Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.