Published in paperback on 13 August 2015 by Mira
A chance encounter
She sees the teenage girl on the train platform, standing in the pouring rain, clutching an infant in her arms. She boards a train and is whisked away. But she can’t get the girl out of her head…
An act of kindness
Heidi has always been charitable but her family are horrified when she returns home with a young woman named Willow and her baby in tow. Dishevelled and homeless, this girl could be a criminal – or worse. But despite the family’s objections, Heidi offers them refuge.
A tangled web of lies
As Willow begins to get back on her feet, disturbing clues into her past starts to emerge. Now Heidi must question if her motives for helping the stranger are unselfish or rooted in her own failures.
‘Pretty Girl’ is the latest psychological thriller from Mary Kubica. It is beautifully written and profoundly sad.
Heidi is a kind hearted woman. Working for an adult literacy charity, and caring for her husband and daughter Zoe, her life is all about doing the right thing and thinking of others. She spots a homeless teenager one day and feels compelled to help. Willow is a homeless teenager, with a baby. Heidi takes her into her home and offers her kindness. Heidi’s family are not too impressed. Who is Willow? And has Heidi done the right thing?
The story is told from the perspective of Heidi and her husband Chris. We slowly find out about the past history of Willow and how she ended up with a baby, living on the streets.
Heidi and Willow are the strongest and most complex characters. Heidi, in particular, is a very believable character and it completely makes sense how much she wants to help a vulnerable girl and her baby. What slowly grows is a strange dynamic between Heidi and Willow, with the baby at its focus. A ‘pretty baby’ becomes the catalyst for change.
There is a great deal to this story; with underlying themes of child abuse and neglect, grief and obsession. I found Willow’s story very poignant and would have loved to have had even more of this. As for Heidi, I could sense exactly how this was going to turn out for her pretty early on. I was willing her husband Chris to stop being so focused on his work and his gorgeous colleague, and notice.
Gripping and emotional. This is a great read for the summer!
Many thanks to the publishers Mira/Harlequin UK for sending me a review copy!