When baby Oliver breaks his arm, no-one can (or will) say how it happened.
His mother is exhausted.
His father is angry.
His older sister is resentful.
And they all have something to hide.
The mother in me wasn't bursting to read a book about a baby being hurt - but very quickly this became a book which I became absorbed in. From the early pages, where Sally's (the child's mother) experience of Post Natal Depression following the birth of baby Oliver, I was hooked. As a mother who experienced PND myself, I felt as if Joanna Barnard could see inside my mind. Her writing was raw, evocative, emotional and honest - and please, we need more honest books about the realities of motherhood and the complete shock to the system it can be to mothers!
Throughout the book - through the other primary characters of Richard (the baby's father) and Martha (the begrudging teenage half sister) Joanna Barnard deals with a number of sensitive issues - but not in such a manner that you feel this is a preachy or overdone book.
She peels away the layers of what initially appears to be a very happy marriage, in a very lovely house and uncovers the characters' pasts, their experience of the present and their hopes for the future - all the while expertly describing what happens when a child is removed from a home and the reverberations that can have not only within a family but through their entire social circle.
This is a book where you keep wondering who has hurt baby Oliver - it seems everyone could have lost their temper, lost control, at any time. Any honest parent will relate to the exhaustion, the emotional drain, the fear and the completely overwhelming nature of being a new parent.
This book is a deeply satisfying read - and one which should rightly become a bookclub favourite. There is much to like about this book, and much to discuss.
Hush Little Baby is published by Ebury
I was sent a review copy of this book by the publisher.