The Perfect Child
A Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestseller.A page-turning debut of suspense about a young couple desperate to have a child of their own—and the unsettling consequences of getting what they always wanted.Christopher and Hannah are a happily married surgeon and nurse with picture-perfect lives. All that’s missing is a child. When Janie, an abandoned six-year-old, turns up at their hospital, Christopher forms an instant connection with her, and he convinces Hannah they should take her home as their own.But Janie is no ordinary child, and her damaged psyche proves to be more than her new parents were expecting. Janie is fiercely devoted to Christopher, but she acts out in increasingly disturbing ways, directing all her rage at Hannah. Unable to bond with Janie, Hannah is drowning under the pressure, and Christopher refuses to see Janie’s true nature.Hannah knows that Janie is manipulating Christopher and isolating him from her, despite Hannah’s attempts to bring them all together. But as Janie’s behavior threatens to tear Christopher and Hannah apart, the truth behind Janie’s past may be enough to push them all over the edge.

The Perfect Child Details

TitleThe Perfect Child
Author
ReleaseMar 1st, 2019
PublisherThomas & Mercer
ISBN-139781542040549
Rating
GenreThriller, Fiction, Mystery

The Perfect Child Review

  • Danielle
    January 1, 1970
    I’m okay with not having a happy ending, but an ENDING would be nice. I feel like the book ended in what should have been the end of a chapter. Good book, although I found the husband, Christopher, INFURIATING.
  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    One word to sufficiently describe this book: DISTURBING!!!Dr. Christopher Bauer and his wife, Hannah, have been struggling with infertility for years. Hannah, now 41, has all but given up hope of having children until.....A young girl is found abandoned and walking alone through a parking lot covered in blood, malnourished, and once examined, is found to have multiple old and new bone fractures, none of which have ever been treated. Once thought to be a toddler it turns out after surgery that sh One word to sufficiently describe this book: DISTURBING!!!Dr. Christopher Bauer and his wife, Hannah, have been struggling with infertility for years. Hannah, now 41, has all but given up hope of having children until.....A young girl is found abandoned and walking alone through a parking lot covered in blood, malnourished, and once examined, is found to have multiple old and new bone fractures, none of which have ever been treated. Once thought to be a toddler it turns out after surgery that she is actually 6 years old. Christopher, being an orthopedic surgeon, is the one to perform the many surgeries she requires and from here he keeps a close vigil on young Janie. When it comes time for Janie to be released from the hospital and entered into the foster care system Christopher is just beside himself. He ever so casually brings up to Hannah the idea of them taking in Janie. After all this may be the blessing they have been waiting for. Hannah is reluctant but nevertheless agrees and from here their lives will never be the same again. We have alternating chapters between Christoper, Hannah, and Piper (Janie's social worker) and they all work beautifully to move the story forward. The entire time your reading you know that it is leading up to something big but that reveal doesn't come until the last 25% which will have you furiously flipping the pages. Lucinda Berry has penned quite the nightmarish tale. This was my first read by her but I assure you it will NOT be my last. I'm going to get my greedy grabby hands on anything she has written. 5 terrifying stars! **This book is not for the faint of heart and has instances of child and animal abuse so if those are triggers for you then I suggest passing this one by.**
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  • Bridgett
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not sure I've ever read such a crazy, intense, non-stop, haunting, anxiety producing novel...but only in the best and most desirable way. I didn't want it to end. Once this book has you in it's grips, it won't let go. I started it this morning and literally could not put it down. My poor husband probably feels deprived. Having received The Perfect Child free as a Kindle First February option, I honestly didn't have high expectations. These freebie books are hit or miss for me. Sometimes the I'm not sure I've ever read such a crazy, intense, non-stop, haunting, anxiety producing novel...but only in the best and most desirable way. I didn't want it to end. Once this book has you in it's grips, it won't let go. I started it this morning and literally could not put it down. My poor husband probably feels deprived. Having received The Perfect Child free as a Kindle First February option, I honestly didn't have high expectations. These freebie books are hit or miss for me. Sometimes they're decent, sometimes they absolutely stink, and sometimes, they slowly mesmerize you with their intensity and unparalleled chaos.The Perfect Child was like that...I was absolutely mesmerized. The characters, particularly Hannah, were so beautifully tragic...she felt very real to me. I could relate so very much to her feelings, her anxieties...virtually everything. Having said that, at times I also felt frustrated, primarily with Christopher. His choices and actions were questionable, even during the best of times. But the character who had my jaw dropping at virtually every turn of the page was Janie. HOLY COW! I don't want to say much for fear of giving anything away, but Janie may be the best "villain" I've read in years. Little girl was beyond vile! Is the story a bit predictable? I'd say yes, which is why I didn't give it a full 5 stars. One of the main threads was incredibly obvious to me, but that took nothing away from the story-line. And there were a couple twists which shocked me...not necessarily because they were unexpected, but because of how they actually occurred. There is also some animal torture/death, which is another deduction for me. I HATE animal torture in any book. Fair warning. I can't end this review without making the obvious comparisons to Baby Teeth. Clearly, Lucinda Berry was somewhat inspired by the Zoje Stage novel. There are many similar threads throughout...but the stories diverge enough to make them each incredibly readable in their own ways. I'm a fan, fellow readers. I haven't checked to see if this is Ms. Berry's first novel or not, but she has definitely become a must read author in my eyes. I'll be thinking about this novel for a long, long time.
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  • Lola
    January 1, 1970
    This is one messed up book and Janie is one messed up child. You’d think that the more psychological thrillers you read, the less they will affect you. But actually, it doesn’t work like that. If anything, your insides instinctively prepare themselves to be disturbed the moment you begin a new thriller.I read this story at night. First mistake. My second was to take a break from it by taking a shower in my apartment, alone, at 4 am. Normally, I don’t care, I feel safe enough. But that night, the This is one messed up book and Janie is one messed up child. You’d think that the more psychological thrillers you read, the less they will affect you. But actually, it doesn’t work like that. If anything, your insides instinctively prepare themselves to be disturbed the moment you begin a new thriller.I read this story at night. First mistake. My second was to take a break from it by taking a shower in my apartment, alone, at 4 am. Normally, I don’t care, I feel safe enough. But that night, the softest sound unhinged me, making me wonder if a Janie-like figure was waiting for me outside the bathroom door. Needless to say, I am happy to be done with this book. Lucinda Berry, the author, is a doctor, so she knows what she’s talking about. She knows what’s normal and what isn’t. She knows what can drive a person crazy. I would be terrified of her, but she actually looks really nice. And despite the amount of manipulation in this story, there is a lot of humanity, too. It starts like a horror movie, and then turns into a happy romantic comedy, before settling on drama and suspense and mystery until the end. What I liked most was how wrong I was about everything. You think you know what will happen, who will die, and how they will die, but turns out you have no detective skills because your assumptions are 5 km away from the truth. The format of the ending, if that makes sense, is an odd choice on the author’s part. But I am satisfied and relatively impressed.Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Bloglovin’
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  • Elaine Maynard
    January 1, 1970
    There was a knock on the door, I peeped behind the curtains to see who it was then I didn't bother to write a review after all.
  • Elyse Walters
    January 1, 1970
    Audiobook..........narrated by Christine Williams Erin Bennett, Dan John MillerThe three voice narrators kept me interested - really hooked!!!One reviewer compared this to ‘Baby Teeth’. Both books deal with a mentally troubled child....But where ‘Baby Teeth’ was fiction nonsense — in which several of my friends who are child therapists agree.... ( Baby Teeth being way out in left field - one which few therapists vouch it’s realistic qualities-in which a young child expresses she wants daddy to k Audiobook..........narrated by Christine Williams Erin Bennett, Dan John MillerThe three voice narrators kept me interested - really hooked!!!One reviewer compared this to ‘Baby Teeth’. Both books deal with a mentally troubled child....But where ‘Baby Teeth’ was fiction nonsense — in which several of my friends who are child therapists agree.... ( Baby Teeth being way out in left field - one which few therapists vouch it’s realistic qualities-in which a young child expresses she wants daddy to kill mommy while watching them have sex)....“The Perfect Child” ‘was’ written by a child-trauma- therapist. I thought it was very plausible- from beginning to end. The child’s behavior ‘was’ disturbing but more realistic ( she had been severely abused by her birth mother), making us have tons of empathy as to just how hard every single day is for everyone: The child, and new adoptive parents. “The Perfect Child”, is more than a disturbing story… its an ongoing chronic nightmare of a story.....but also FASCINATING!!!!The ending was weak - but the rest of it had me curious as to what’s the solution? How does a couple raise - help- and support a severely emotionally disturbed child? How does a child who has been soooo traumatize, heal? How much can you expect fromloving responsible adults? The child in this story - Janie- had unpredictable and unbearable tantrums. She finger painted with her own poop, broke toys, killed an animal, was manipulative, controlling, hurt other children, and had extreme attachment displacement disorder. Her new adoptive parents were willing to do everything possible to rehabilitate the child...With every type of therapy imaginable and their undivided loving attention. But Janie made it extremely difficult to succeed. Anyone who has worked with children.... social workers, teachers, pediatric medical doctors, nurses, parents, foster care parents, or have adopted a child..... might consider reading this book. (I suggest the Audiobook)...Much respect for author Lucinda Berry...She knows what she’s doing!!!Terrific psychological character study... of all the main characters.
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  • Monika Sadowski
    January 1, 1970
    Jesus, What I’ve just read?!?! This book is very disturbing but I couldn’t put it down.  My emotions where all over the place because I didn’t know who should I feel sorry for more. I guess all of them :(It is a story of the couple Dr Christopher Bauer and his wife Hannah, who adopted an abused by her real mom child, Jenie. I think they underestimated how hard it is to foster traumatized child.Lucinda Berry is a trauma psychologist and she uses her clinical experience to create psychological thr Jesus, What I’ve just read?!?! This book is very disturbing but I couldn’t put it down.  My emotions where all over the place because I didn’t know who should I feel sorry for more. I guess all of them :(It is a story of the couple Dr Christopher Bauer and his wife Hannah, who adopted an abused by her real mom child, Jenie. I think they underestimated how hard it is to foster traumatized child.Lucinda Berry is a trauma psychologist and she uses her clinical experience to create psychological thrillers. I have to read more of her books in the future.
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  • Aga Durka
    January 1, 1970
    5 Disturbing Stars!!This book will stay with me for a very long time. It was a disturbing and horrifying read but also it was so painfully real that it made my hair stand up on my arms at times. It is definitely not an easy read but oh so captivating and so hard to put down. I admire any parent that decides to adopt or even foster a child, especially a child that has special needs, mental or physical. Christopher and Hanna lived through a spine-chilling nightmare, when they adopted Janie, an abu 5 Disturbing Stars!!This book will stay with me for a very long time. It was a disturbing and horrifying read but also it was so painfully real that it made my hair stand up on my arms at times. It is definitely not an easy read but oh so captivating and so hard to put down. I admire any parent that decides to adopt or even foster a child, especially a child that has special needs, mental or physical. Christopher and Hanna lived through a spine-chilling nightmare, when they adopted Janie, an abused and mentally disturbed child. I felt for Hanna and I wanted her to do well because all she wanted in life was a child, but what she got was a lot of pain and suffering instead. And Christopher...well...I just wanted to smack him over the head!! Even though he was trying to do the right thing by Janie and he loved her unconditionally, like every parent should love his/her child, he was just not making the right decisions for Janie and for his family. I was really frustrated and angry when reading this book but I was also rooting for all of the characters, and I felt sorry for all of them. It was just a bad situation for everyone involved.This book is a truly captivating, heart-wrenching, and spine-chilling read. It also has some triggers, like child abuse, animal abuse, psychological abuse, so anyone that has a problem with these topics should probably stay clear from this book.
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  • PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
    January 1, 1970
    After years of infertility Dr Christopher Bauer and his wife Hannah, a nurse, gave up the idea of having a biological child. When abandoned and battered six-year-old Janie winds up in the ER, they decide to adopt her. Despite warnings from professionals that Janie trauma will take years to heal, if it ever does, the Bauers feel they are equipped. Then somebody dies.Readers don’t know who the murder victim(s) is (or are) until near the end of THE PERFECT CHILD. Told from the first person points o After years of infertility Dr Christopher Bauer and his wife Hannah, a nurse, gave up the idea of having a biological child. When abandoned and battered six-year-old Janie winds up in the ER, they decide to adopt her. Despite warnings from professionals that Janie trauma will take years to heal, if it ever does, the Bauers feel they are equipped. Then somebody dies.Readers don’t know who the murder victim(s) is (or are) until near the end of THE PERFECT CHILD. Told from the first person points of view of Chris, Hannah and Janie’s social worker, readers are taken through the precarious road of Janie’s adoption. Lucinda Berry hit all the right notes with the behaviors of a child with reactive attachment disorder so I wasn’t surprised to learn she’s a psychologist. Berry was particularly accurate with one parent minimizing Janie’s behavior, the other with two high expectations to create a perfect scenario for Janie to manipulate and triangulate the parents. I couldn’t be angry with Christopher for thinking Hannah exaggerated because kids like Janie are just as Berry described, manipulative as a coping mechanism to try to control their environments in order to feel safe.I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a free monthly Amazon book as much as THE PERFECT CHILD. I immediately ordered all of Berry’s other books, I can’t wait to sink my teeth into the next one. Some readers may find the story unbelievable, but sadly it’s not. Reactive Attachment Disorder can be as extreme as Janie’s behavior, though fortunately usually isn’t quite as tragic. Usually seen in kids who never attach to a primary caregiver, often infants in orphanages or with parents who don’t respond to their needs, neglected to the point where they can only count on themselves. They both crave and fear attachment, often overly friendly with strangers and violent with those closest, the disorder is heartbreaking.THE PERFECT CHILD is unputdownable psychological thriller and family tragedy.
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  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    Absolutely INCREDIBLE! This is my second read from Lucinda Berry and she is a phenomenal writer. I just bought two more of her books, Phantom Limb, was just .99¢ today! This book touched me, sent chills down my spine several times. I have worked with severely emotionally disturbed children, many who were in foster care. It touched me so much that I became an emergency placement foster parent. When I got married and had children I told my husband I was done having children in my home, I would not Absolutely INCREDIBLE! This is my second read from Lucinda Berry and she is a phenomenal writer. I just bought two more of her books, Phantom Limb, was just .99¢ today! This book touched me, sent chills down my spine several times. I have worked with severely emotionally disturbed children, many who were in foster care. It touched me so much that I became an emergency placement foster parent. When I got married and had children I told my husband I was done having children in my home, I would not put my children into a potentially harmful situation. This book is fiction but let me tell you, things like this DO happen. I recently changed career paths and now work for Child Protective Services...this book was full circle for me. I feel like this is a must read.
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  • Stacie
    January 1, 1970
    No ending!Great story, but then it just stopped. It was as if the author got tired and quit. Such a disappointment.
  • Darinda
    January 1, 1970
    Christopher and Hannah are a happy couple, but they long to have a child. When Janie, an abandoned six-year-old, shows up at the hospital where they work, Christopher wants to foster her. Despite the warnings about raising a child with an abusive past, they take her into their home and family. They are not prepared for the challenges they face.Told with alternating points of view - Christopher, Hannah, and Piper, Janie's social worker. Christopher adores Janie and finds it difficult to believe s Christopher and Hannah are a happy couple, but they long to have a child. When Janie, an abandoned six-year-old, shows up at the hospital where they work, Christopher wants to foster her. Despite the warnings about raising a child with an abusive past, they take her into their home and family. They are not prepared for the challenges they face.Told with alternating points of view - Christopher, Hannah, and Piper, Janie's social worker. Christopher adores Janie and finds it difficult to believe she is capable of the harmful behavior others warn him about. Hannah is more realistic about the difficulties they face. Piper is Janie's social worker, and presents an outsider's view of the family and their behaviors.It's no surprise that Janie suffers from physical and mental issues due to her abusive past. With their medical background, Christopher and Hannah do seem like the perfect couple to take care of Janie. Unfortunately, Christopher is blinded by his love, and Janie's manipulation, to see how bad things are. My biggest issue with this book was Christopher's disregard for Hannah's concerns and the safety of their family. If Christopher hadn't been such a dolt, this would have been a better book for me.A disturbing domestic thriller. While it is clear something very bad has happened, the very bad thing isn't revealed until late in the book. Makes for a suspenseful read. Good for fans of Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage.This was my pick for Amazon First Reads in February 2019.
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  • Amelia Strydom
    January 1, 1970
    "We'd like to think a mother and father's love can turn everything around, but there are times where parents do the very best they can, but the kid- even from the get-go - is just a bad kid ... Ignore the problem, and we could have blood on our hands." Adrian Raine, psychologist (University of Pennsylvania).https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/...After years of infertility, Christopher, an orthopaedic surgeon, and Hannah, a nurse, have given up on having a biological child. While they are lookin "We'd like to think a mother and father's love can turn everything around, but there are times where parents do the very best they can, but the kid- even from the get-go - is just a bad kid ... Ignore the problem, and we could have blood on our hands." Adrian Raine, psychologist (University of Pennsylvania).https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/...After years of infertility, Christopher, an orthopaedic surgeon, and Hannah, a nurse, have given up on having a biological child. While they are looking into adoption, a severely abused and malnourished little girl called Jamie is admitted to the hospital where they work. Christopher is on Jamie's surgical team and immediately falls in love with the surprisingly affectionate and outgoing six-year-old. Since the feeling is mutual, he begs Hannah to meet Jamie. The bond between the two of them isn't as immediate or as strong, nevertheless Hannah agrees to foster Jamie until a suitable adoptive family can be found. This is anything but easy: Jamie is prone to horrendous tantrums that can last for hours, she isn't potty trained, and rarely sleeps. It is no wonder that Hannah is reluctant to agree when Christopher wants to adopt Jamie. Furthermore, Hannah has to relinquish her dream of adopting a baby. Still, she loves her husband and gets immense satisfaction from seeing Jamie thrive in the loving environment they are providing. After a short internal battle, she agrees to give the damaged little girl a forever home.Things improve - until Christopher returns to work. Hannah is hurt and frustrated when Jamie starts ignoring her completely. To add insult to injury, the bond between Jamie and Christopher keeps deepening, and Jamie is sweet and charming towards just about anyone but Hannah. The one person she doesn't take to is Piper, the social worker assigned to her case. Hannah longs to return to work, but Jamie acts out at every school they enrol her in, eventually breaking her "friend's" arm. Matters go from bad to terrifying when Hannah miraculously falls pregnant...The book begins with a bang: an interview between Piper, a homicide detective, and a mysterious private investigator. I couldn't help but read until 2 am, I simply had to know who had been murdered. Reading the story was like witnessing a fatal accident: you realise this is going to be awful, you want to look away, yet your eyes remain glued to the unfolding horror. Hannah, Christopher and Piper - all POV characters - are caring, relatable people. I even bonded with Jamie. Yes, she was a ticking time bomb, but she had been through so much. Maybe love would triumph in the end?I highly recommend The Perfect Child to readers who enjoy psychological suspense. It is a scary, poignant exploration of the nature/nurture debate. The fact that the author is an expert in no way detracts from the twistedness of the tale. On the contrary! Berry has shot to the upper rungs of my favourite-authors ladder and I'm pretty tempted to go straight to another of her books.Warning: Steer clear if you are sensitive to child- and animal abuse.
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  • Nichole
    January 1, 1970
    This may contain spoilers, but this book left me with a lot of thoughts and feelings.This sh*t was bananas! B-A-N-A-N-A-S! I started reading it on my lunch break on Monday and finished it a few hours later. I could not put it down, because I just had to figure out what the heck was happening! The story is told from three points of view. Christopher and Hannah (our main characters) and the child protective services lady, Piper. Christopher's character is absolutely infuriating, it amazed me how v This may contain spoilers, but this book left me with a lot of thoughts and feelings.This sh*t was bananas! B-A-N-A-N-A-S! I started reading it on my lunch break on Monday and finished it a few hours later. I could not put it down, because I just had to figure out what the heck was happening! The story is told from three points of view. Christopher and Hannah (our main characters) and the child protective services lady, Piper. Christopher's character is absolutely infuriating, it amazed me how vain he was, the level of disrespect he had for his wife. My heart broke for Hannah and the amount of crap she had to deal with. How she tried her best to love a difficult child, how devoted she was to her marriage and how she was completely alone to deal with a sociopath and no believed her. It was gut wrenching to see that she lost her mind in a psychotic breakdown because she honestly couldn't do it anymore and her husband didn't have her back. Pipers character, good lord woman how naive can one person be? I wanted to reach through the book and slap her more than once. How she didn't believe a child could be so evil and that they all deserve a happy home at no matter the cost. Infuriating! Janie character made me think a lot of the Orphan, except she wasn't an adult in a child's body. She is vile and completely unlovable. She is the type of child that nightmares are made of and showed all the signs of a future serial killer that no one but Hannah picked up on. She is manipulative and hurts people. One very disturbing part was how she treated the kitten. Which also lead to me to wonder, why they let her keep the kitten after she initially hurt it in the first place? Did they not think she would do worse? Well, she did (and this was exceptionally disturbing to read)! UGH!!! The book just ends too. There is no closure and definitely no happy ending. It is left open for there to be another book if the author so desires. I do not feel that there is a need for a continuation of this book. It left me feeling like I needed therapy and no amount of meditation last night was able to soothe me enough to get a good nights rest. I even dreamt about some of the things in the book. This book was highly disturbing and gave me the creeps.
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  • Christina McDonald
    January 1, 1970
    Intense, terrifying and at times utterly horrifying, I loved this book and found it one of those cray-cray, intense reads that I just couldn't look away from. Christopher and Hannah have a perfect life except one thing. They can't have a baby. But when a battered and abused child winds up in their ER, they fall in love with her and decide to adopt her. But Janie is not the child they were expecting. Lead down a rabbit hole of devious and frankly terrifying behavior, Hannah becomes increasingly t Intense, terrifying and at times utterly horrifying, I loved this book and found it one of those cray-cray, intense reads that I just couldn't look away from. Christopher and Hannah have a perfect life except one thing. They can't have a baby. But when a battered and abused child winds up in their ER, they fall in love with her and decide to adopt her. But Janie is not the child they were expecting. Lead down a rabbit hole of devious and frankly terrifying behavior, Hannah becomes increasingly terrified of Janie, while Christopher continues to be blind to her flaws, inevitably driving the couple further and further apart. Janie was pure evil, but I really wanted to slap Christopher upside the head! Kudos to the author for making me feel such strong feelings!A fantastic domestic suspense novel with themes of how far a parent will go for their child and yet how blind love can be.
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  • Rick
    January 1, 1970
    Man, this book really had an impact. On the plus side, it was gripping in a kind of "can't-turn-your-head-away-from-the-scene-of-an-accident" kind of way. I mean, I was really caught up...couldn't wait to find time to read and find out what's going to happen next, how's this going to turn out. The characters, although bordering on too stupid to live, engaged me and I cared about them. The demon child was the most evil kid I've ever seen, worse than THE BAD SEED. But then....that ending. Seriousl Man, this book really had an impact. On the plus side, it was gripping in a kind of "can't-turn-your-head-away-from-the-scene-of-an-accident" kind of way. I mean, I was really caught up...couldn't wait to find time to read and find out what's going to happen next, how's this going to turn out. The characters, although bordering on too stupid to live, engaged me and I cared about them. The demon child was the most evil kid I've ever seen, worse than THE BAD SEED. But then....that ending. Seriously? You're gonna engage me deeply and then leave me a la coitus interruptus? NOTHING resolved. Abrupt, like you just decided to quit. And then I read there's a sequel so maybe your cliffhanger is manipulative, trying to get me to buy the sequel. Not happening. It's a shame because this was my first read from this author and I liked her well enough to read all her other stuff. Now I don't know. The ending was so awful that it's completely put me off.... Sorry, Ms. Perry.
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  • Sophie Bristow Harris
    January 1, 1970
    I came very close to giving this a full house of 5 stars. However the last line ended on a cliff hanger and I believe the author only writes stand-alones....It was a good, at times hard to read novel. The characters were all pretty unlikeable and unsavoury! I love the bright cerise balloon on the cover and it depicts the book extremely well.A nail biting and tense read which I read over a couple of days and enjoyed.
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  • Cheyenne
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.Check out my reviews at https://cheyennereads.home.blog !This book was so stressful. Reading about Janie and her behavior had me on edge the entire time, I was worried about Christopher and especially Hannah throughout the book. Janie’s behavior was unpredictable and violent, and it was honestly scary. What do you do when you’re in danger but no one will believe you because she’s only a child?I really enjoyed this I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.Check out my reviews at https://cheyennereads.home.blog !This book was so stressful. Reading about Janie and her behavior had me on edge the entire time, I was worried about Christopher and especially Hannah throughout the book. Janie’s behavior was unpredictable and violent, and it was honestly scary. What do you do when you’re in danger but no one will believe you because she’s only a child?I really enjoyed this for the most part. It was compulsively readable. I tend to read ebooks at night, and I stayed up super late reading this one. It had me on edge and I had to find out what was going to happen next. I cared for these characters, they felt real and I didn’t want to see any harm come to anyone. Which ended up being one of the things that stressed me out the most.I wouldn’t recommend this book if you’re sensitive to child abuse. There’s a lot of talk about child abuse in this book, and I can imagine it being hard or even impossible to read for some people. I felt I needed to point that out before recommending this book.As for the negatives – the husband, Christopher, was absolutely infuriating. He made the most ridiculous decisions and never thought things through, and never listened to his wife. His behavior with Janie was honestly kind of weird, and their bond just didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. I would have like to see Christopher make smarter decisions and show that he cared for his wife.My other problem – no spoilers – is that this book basically has no ending. I won’t elaborate, but it just – ends. There’s no conclusion, and that was frustrating after investing so much time into it. I wanted to see what happened next, thought I was at the end of the chapter, but turned the page and found the acknowledgements. I was really upset, because I wanted to know more.Overall, I mostly enjoyed this book. It was tense, anxiety-inducing, and interesting. It was genuinely scary at times, especially if you’re particularly empathetic towards children or are a parent. I would recommend this book to those looking for a tense thriller, who know they can handle the more difficult parts of this book – and the lack of an ending.
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  • Shelby
    January 1, 1970
    After years of infertility, Dr. Christopher Bauer and his wife Hannah—a nurse that works at his same hospital—have accepted the fact that they may never be parents. But one night, a young girl is brought into their ER, badly abused and malnourished. Christopher, an orthopedic surgeon, is assigned as the girl’s surgeon to fix countless fractures. The little girl’s name is Janie and although she’s the size of a small toddler, she’s 6-years old. When Janie meets Christopher, she instantly warms to After years of infertility, Dr. Christopher Bauer and his wife Hannah—a nurse that works at his same hospital—have accepted the fact that they may never be parents. But one night, a young girl is brought into their ER, badly abused and malnourished. Christopher, an orthopedic surgeon, is assigned as the girl’s surgeon to fix countless fractures. The little girl’s name is Janie and although she’s the size of a small toddler, she’s 6-years old. When Janie meets Christopher, she instantly warms to him and he feels a parental connection to Janie. The police don’t know exactly what happened to Janie, but they do know that she must’ve been badly abused prior to being admitted to the hospital. A caseworker named Piper is assigned to the case and has diagnosed Janie with abused child syndrome. Over the first few weeks of Janie’s recovery, Christopher is one of the only people Janie reacts positively to. And after Hannah is introduced to Janie, she becomes attached as well. Hannah and Christopher decide to foster Janie and the caseworker Piper agrees it’s a wonderful fit. But as soon as Hannah and Christopher take Janie home, things take a turn for the worse. She has explosive tantrums about anything and everything. The Bauers knew Janie would have a hard time adjusting due to her abusive past, but the level of difficulty they’re experiencing is beyond belief. And then Janie starts to change—she only communicates with Christopher, showing outward hatred toward Hannah. Hannah and Christopher can’t seem to agree upon Janie. Hannah feels Janie is purposely manipulative, while Christopher thinks Janie’s an innocent child. And the longer Janie is living with them, the more she destroys not only the Bauer’s marriage, but their entire lives. Is Janie a victim of her early childhood or is she a lot more divisive than anyone gives her credit for?The Perfect Child by Lucinda Berry is a nightmare of a thriller. Immediately we learn that something bad has happened in regard to Janie and the Bauers, since there are alternating chapters where the police are interviewing the caseworker, Piper, in regard to said incident. While Piper is being interviewed we see chapters back and forth between Hannah and Christopher’s perspective from the moment they met Janie until the incident. Things with Janie keep getting worse and worse as time goes on. She is an absolute nightmare of a child and she has Christopher and Hannah pitted against each other in no time. For most of the book, I couldn’t stand Christopher. Always siding with Janie and not his own wife—it drove me bonkers. Stories about psychologically unstable children always give me the creeps and The Perfect Child was no exception! 4/5 stars.
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  • Diane
    January 1, 1970
    I’m dizzy from rolling my eyes over this one. An orthopedic surgeon who is so dim witted as to miss every red flag thrown in his face was hard to believe. The incidents with the classmate and the death of the cat would have caused any thinking person to realize Janie needed a lot more than he could give. Hannah’s trip to the ER being too embarrassing to even mention to her sister was also ridiculously unbelievable. I felt for Hannah, but was annoyed that she didn’t flee the train wreck before it I’m dizzy from rolling my eyes over this one. An orthopedic surgeon who is so dim witted as to miss every red flag thrown in his face was hard to believe. The incidents with the classmate and the death of the cat would have caused any thinking person to realize Janie needed a lot more than he could give. Hannah’s trip to the ER being too embarrassing to even mention to her sister was also ridiculously unbelievable. I felt for Hannah, but was annoyed that she didn’t flee the train wreck before it hit her. I might be in the minority, but I think Janie’s grandmother was correct. Finally, I can’t think of an ending I’ve ever hated more.
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  • Reeda Booke
    January 1, 1970
    Christopher, the husband, has to be one of the dumbest persons on the planet.A typical evil child wrecking havoc in a home. Although Janie was bad, it's Christopher I wanted to slap. Enough said.
  • Ruthy lavin
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, unsettling and hauntingly believable.This is a fantastic thriller, sure to give parents everywhere nightmares.Easily worthy of 5 stars.
  • Erin *Help I’m Reading and I Can’t Get Up*
    January 1, 1970
    So realistic, down to the dissatisfying ending. A must NOT read for anyone interested in adopting a child. Yoinks.
  • Tania
    January 1, 1970
    A quick, suspenseful read about a young couple desperate to have a child of their own—and the unsettling consequences of getting what they always wanted. I read this on the airplane and finished it in one sitting. The best part of the book was how realistic it was written, this is probably because the author is a trauma psychologist and a researcher in childhood drama.
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  • Lyn
    January 1, 1970
    Audio - 5 starsStory - 4 stars
  • Lynda Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    This was my Kindle First pick for February. I had thought it was the author's debut only to find out once I finished it that she's written maybe half a dozen other stories. Don't know how she passed me by before but I'll be reading some of her others for sure. I see they all seem to be about damaged kids but you can also tell she knows her stuff (and explains things in simple, laymen's terms) so it's intriguing to learn about what she clearly gets to see in her "other job." I'm not a fan of chil This was my Kindle First pick for February. I had thought it was the author's debut only to find out once I finished it that she's written maybe half a dozen other stories. Don't know how she passed me by before but I'll be reading some of her others for sure. I see they all seem to be about damaged kids but you can also tell she knows her stuff (and explains things in simple, laymen's terms) so it's intriguing to learn about what she clearly gets to see in her "other job." I'm not a fan of children, let alone imagining dealing with a broken one like Janie.....I just wouldn't have the patience.....you have to salute people who work with them and take them into their homes as they do.I like the way it's written from differing viewpoints, though I am never keen on what I think comes across as retarded English with the American way of speaking. It just sounds awful and reads terribly, "I thumbed through the first couple pages, the dates starting the day we had gotten home from the hospital"or "I didn't like the way the house filled with people aimlessly moving from room to room like there was anywhere to go...."At one point she wrote Gene as opposed to dad when Hannah was referring to her father, which was odd and wrote queued and not cued but that was it for errors so its presentation is spot on, making the whole experience so much more enjoyable. The fascinating storyline also held my interest the whole way through. Trust me, it's a gripping read.
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  • Carla (Carla's Book Bits)
    January 1, 1970
    Wowee! The Perfect Child is a thriller perfect for fans of stories about creepy children. Hannah and Christopher Bauer are a doctor-and-nurse couple who have always wanted a child, but had never been able to have one due to infertility issues. Lo and behold, Janie, a six-year-old orphan, is mysteriously found and admitted to their hospital. Christopher and Hannah take to Janie right away, and eventually they pursue the possibility of taking care of Janie as if she was their own.Obviously, there Wowee! The Perfect Child is a thriller perfect for fans of stories about creepy children. Hannah and Christopher Bauer are a doctor-and-nurse couple who have always wanted a child, but had never been able to have one due to infertility issues. Lo and behold, Janie, a six-year-old orphan, is mysteriously found and admitted to their hospital. Christopher and Hannah take to Janie right away, and eventually they pursue the possibility of taking care of Janie as if she was their own.Obviously, there's much more to this story and Janie's not the sweet little girl that they think she is.. But wowza is she a creepy thing! I spent pretty much 80% of this book fighting this mounting sense of dread. None of the characters were perfectly likeable, but I was still sitting here biting my fingernails, hoping for their safety against that little monster. The Perfect Child is almost perfect, paced at a breakneck speed, and with a villain larger than life, you cannot go wrong with this read! Spend a few hours with this, it's worth it!I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for a review, however, this opinion is my own.
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  • Darcia Helle
    January 1, 1970
    Me and this book were like a bad blind date. Nothing worked.Be aware that there is a lot of vivid detail regarding child abuse, and there is also animal abuse. I'm not squeamish in the least, but, for me, the author went way overboard on this aspect. There are scenes I wish I hadn't read that I'd like to get out of my mind. Readers, in general, don't need to be assaulted with descriptive abuse in order to understand it. I could have, maybe not enjoyed, but appreciated the story despite the abund Me and this book were like a bad blind date. Nothing worked.Be aware that there is a lot of vivid detail regarding child abuse, and there is also animal abuse. I'm not squeamish in the least, but, for me, the author went way overboard on this aspect. There are scenes I wish I hadn't read that I'd like to get out of my mind. Readers, in general, don't need to be assaulted with descriptive abuse in order to understand it. I could have, maybe not enjoyed, but appreciated the story despite the abundance of detail, if I'd liked the main characters. I didn't. The couple seems almost childish and naive, especially considering they are at the top of their medical fields. They don't communicate well. They take on a severely traumatized child without really understanding what they're getting into. And then they try to hide how bad things are.The writing style didn't engage me, either. So, as I said, a bad blind date.
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  • Jonathan Maas
    January 1, 1970
    Great domestic thriller - keeps going until the end. Hope to write a full review soon.
  • Laura Belgrave
    January 1, 1970
    I have no recollection of how this novel came to my attention, and it really isn’t the kind of book I’d ordinarily read. However, I will tell you this: Whether you have children or not, The Perfect Child will absolutely grip you by the throat and not let go until its conclusion — and that conclusion may not at all be what you suspected when you began reading.You already know the basic storyline, I’m sure. A husband and wife, unable to have children, decide to adopt. The husband, a hospital surge I have no recollection of how this novel came to my attention, and it really isn’t the kind of book I’d ordinarily read. However, I will tell you this: Whether you have children or not, The Perfect Child will absolutely grip you by the throat and not let go until its conclusion — and that conclusion may not at all be what you suspected when you began reading.You already know the basic storyline, I’m sure. A husband and wife, unable to have children, decide to adopt. The husband, a hospital surgeon, takes on an emergency case with a very young girl who had been discovered locked up in a garage or shed, showing alarming signs of starvation, and clear indications that many of her bones had been broken over a long period of time. Her name is Janie, and she appears to be about three years old. Actually, she’s six.Over time, he becomes smitten, and so does his wife. When the girl is physically repaired, she begins therapy. Eventually, she presents as a perfect candidate for adoption and the couple proceeds. It’s a long process, but they are successful and finally have a child. What occurs after that is a horrifying, suspenseful ride through the psyche of a damaged child. Can Janie psychologically be salvaged? Can mental issues she presents be overcome?That’s the heart of the story, really, and whatever you think you know and whatever kind of optimist you may be, you’ll find the journey, well . . . difficult. I did. I did to the extent that I couldn’t put the book down until 4 a.m. Never mind that my eyes were bleeding out of my face by then. I had reached the end and just sat, dumbfounded, when all along, perhaps I should have anticipated the ending much earlier.In my estimation, this is top-of-the-class emotional suspense with exceptional writing. Perhaps that's as it should be, given that the author is a trauma psychologist and leading researcher in childhood trauma.
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