Baby Doll by Hollie Overton

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Baby Doll by Hollie Overton

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Category: Thrillers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: A brilliant thriller focussing on the aftermath of a hideous crime, this is compelling reading and a wonderful debut.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: June 2016
Publisher: Century
ISBN: 978-1780895079

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The Richard and Judy Book Club Spring 2017 Choice

As a teenager, Lily was taken from her family and imprisoned. Kept in a cellar, a dungeon, an underground lair, with no chance of ever being found. Except it's now 8 years later, and the unthinkable has happened. And so, without a second thought of the consequences, Lily and her daughter make a break for it.

If you've read Room by Emma Donoghue, this story may sound a little familiar. A nasty man takes a young girl and keeps her hostage in a room he has made for just this purpose. He abuses and torments her and at some point fathers a child with her. She plans and executes an escape plan. It was be an oversight not to note the similarities, but unfair to suggest they are the same story just told in two ways. After all, lots of love stories are similar and lots of murder mysteries are similar, but this whole kidnap-and-long-time-imprisonment thing is rare, so somehow now there are two books about it, it starts to feel familiar. There are many differences between the two books though, most notably that this one is set almost entirely outside the room, while the other has a before and after the escape element to it.

What's more, Lily has a twin, Abbey, and twins are known for their special bonds. When the two are reunited it's no normal family reunion. The girls are still quite young – not yet 25 – and so there are more opportunities for Lily to right the wrongs of her life, to get things back on track. Unlike Room which is told from the child's point of view, Baby Doll takes various viewpoints from the adults in the story, including Rick, though daughter Sky is not included in this list. I found this an interesting way to tell the story as it proved the impact not just on Lily but on her whole family. Lots is said about the parents of children who go missing, and what they have to endure, but little attention is given to what happens to those same parents when the children return.

It's easy to argue with the police handling of the case when Lily re-emerges, but to give them credit, it must be hard to follow procedure for something that has never have happened on their patch before. The scene at the high school left me slightly sceptical, but for the most part I wasn't judging their actions, I was just interested to see how the story, and the case, developed.

I really enjoyed this story, in much the same way I enjoyed reading Room and watching Kimmy Schmidt. It's an intriguing concept and, as with the best stories, it allows you to live through an experience you will probably never encounter (thankfully) in your own life. This story is incredibly easy to read without being annoyingly simplistic, and it's addictive too – I couldn't wait to see what happened next. With books like this it can be hard to come to a natural end, so I was pleased there was an epilogue to whisk us a little way into the future to see what Lily did next.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending us a copy to review. It was very much appreciated and very much enjoyed.

Fans of modern fiction with a twist may also enjoy One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf.

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Buy Baby Doll by Hollie Overton at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Baby Doll by Hollie Overton at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Baby Doll by Hollie Overton at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Baby Doll by Hollie Overton at


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