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The Perfect Child

Length: 10 hrs and 15 mins
4 out of 5 stars (191 ratings)

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Summary

A Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestseller.

A pause-resisting 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.

©2019 Heather Berry. (P)2018 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic reviews

"A mesmerizing, unbearably tense thriller that will have you looking over your shoulder and sleeping with one eye open. This creepy, serpentine tale explores the darkest corners of parenthood and the profoundly unsettling lengths one will go to to keep a family together - no matter the consequences. Electrifying and atmospheric, this dark gem of a novel is one I couldn’t put down.” --Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author

“A deep, dark, and dangerously addictive read. All-absorbing to the very end!” --Minka Kent, Washington Post bestselling author

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing story....but....

what went on with the ending g. so frustrating , I was totally engrossed but the ending absolutely ruined the experience. The performances and story are worth the credit but prepare to be disappointed by the ending. Such a shame.

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Soooo happy with this book... when it ended!

So, I listened avidly to this book as I REALLY wanted it to end. I invested a lot of time in the hopes it might improve but, nope it was consistently awful from start to finish. Tbh I’ve never listened to, or read a book where I hated every character, so that was a first. To the people who were left wondering what happened at the end, I can honestly say I didn’t care one hoot, my only disappointment was that any of them survived. Sappy parents, predictable awful child and nauseating social worker. Are you picking up on the fact that I wasn’t a fan?

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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The Perfect Child

I enjoyed listening to the book it was a real page turner. The ending was so abrupt though I thought there must of been some kind of mistake. If it’s to be made into a sequel I would understand more, but still think it could of been wrapped up better.

2 people found this helpful

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chilling page turner

This was a fast paced psychological thriller! oh my God I was upset many times, this story will stay with me for years!! Must read!

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Great but why the awful sudden end?

Was there a maximum word count? Where’s the rest?!
I’m all for leaving it on a cliffhanger but this just feels unfinished and the author just gave up.

1 person found this helpful

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grupping

loved it, just felt there could have been more to the ending, like what happened to janey,.... did Hannah get better ECT

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Ended abruptly!

Really enjoyed the bulk of the book..... it seems like it's set up for a sequel? if not.... disappointing ending....

1 person found this helpful

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hard to put down

good read, couldn't put it down, but a little disappointed at the ending, but confusing and wanted to know what happened next.

1 person found this helpful

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Emotional rollercoaster

Very gripping and emotional read. Only downfall was the lack of closure in the ending

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enjoyed the book, bot sure on ending

enjoyed the book especially seeing as I had just returned 3 different books I couldn't get into. I liked the story line and the characters even though I think the dad needs to step up and take some responsibility. wasnt too sure on the abrupt ending but still enjoyed the book

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  • shelley
  • 02-03-19

You can see it coming... but how bad is it?

What happens to this family - Pretty Bad!
Lucinda Berry is a psychologist who deals mostly with childhood trauma. My guess would be that her stories come from her cases. If this case is based on facts my heart goes out to the parents of this child.
This book takes parenting a foster child to an extreme. . Many new foster parents believe they are saviors to these children and the publisher's summary hints at the husband feeling this way. Add a new mother to two children. One is with an adopted child with sociopathic tendencies. She like to hurt other living things, urinate on the carpets and smear feces on the wall. The other child is a newborn who rarely sleeps. And let's not forget Mom's going through major postpartum depression.
This book goes from a timeline of events told from three different points of view to a hearing after incidents you won't find out until the end. This book certainly kept me interested and guessing.

The three narrators worked beautifully together.
If you found this review helpful please indicate so.
Thank You.

39 people found this helpful

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  • Alesha
  • 16-04-19

Spend the credit! Omg

I’ve read the comments about the ending but if you were following the story you understand the ending. I couldn’t stop listening. Fantastic!

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Wayne
  • 25-10-19

Incredible intensity!!

I did not enjoy THE PERFECT CHILD, but maybe it was not intended to be enjoyed. It is intense and I found it depressing. The premise of the novel is that children as young as 6 or 7 years can be sociopaths capable of per-meditated murder. Narration is stellar.

11 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Chilvr
  • 11-04-19

Definitely kept me guessing until the very end !

Loved it! Original, well written and excellent narration. This story captivated me so I literally could not put it down! I rarely write reviews but I had to share as soon as I finished. Do not start this book unless you have plenty of time! I literally stood up until 6:00 a.m. to finish it despite the fact I am working today. Like this one since childhood. I listen to audio books everyday and was just starting to get a bit jaded by how similar so many of the stories I have been listening to. Then I listened to this story and I am excited to "read' again. I'm not going to say anymore because I don't want to give anything away, but I highly recommend this book even if this is not your typical genre as it was not mine.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jenn
  • 05-03-19

domestic drama version of “Baby Teeth” by Zoje Stage

This book is like a domestic drama version of “Baby Teeth” by Zoje Stage, which was more on the creepy, thriller side. This story held my interest the whole time, I expected a more dramatic push and pull with the husband and wife believing/not-believing, taking sides etc (there was quite a bit already but not like in other similar stories) so it definitely unfolded a little differently than I thought — not a bad thing at all, it just placed the book in a different genre than I initially anticipated.

On a side note, the story was very focused on “the system” of child services and social workers and there was too much blatant blame on them even though across the US they are so over worked and underpaid. The “system” is not the best but the social workers aren’t to blame and don’t get even close to the level of credit they deserve.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kathi Cann
  • 09-07-19

Kathi

As a retired protective services worker, this book brought back some haunting memories. The story line was dead on and the characters believable. I saw one review that complained that there was not an acceptable ending. That’s because, just as in real life, there is no ending, acceptable or otherwise.

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Helen
  • 23-03-19

Clunk! This is how it ends?

The story, although improbable, mostly held my interest. I kind of wish Christopher began to have at least some doubts and chinks in his healthy denial system as time went on. The last quarter of the story sputtered and wheezed and finally died an unhappy death on the finale.

9 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Elaine
  • 26-06-19

Uhmm...

Okay... What was that awful ending? This book left me with more questions than it even answered. I am not super satisfied.

8 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Wanda
  • 03-05-19

Brilliant

For somebody who is not a fan of mpov in books this is one that actually proves my problem. The premise is brilliant but I think the author attempted to use the switch in narrators and in points of view to prolong and build up suspense. Seriously, For me this detracted from it. The mpov might be a bit more subtle if you read a book rather than listen to it so hopefully readers will disagree with me.

On that note. The premise is brilliant and you should understand how truly much I dislike mpov for me to only give this book a four star instead of a five star rating.

The story. BRILLIANT.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Heather Straub
  • 03-08-19

Chilling story with excellent pacing

Not the world’s most original concept (if you haven’t already, read “We Need to Talk about Kevin” and “Baby Teeth”), but still a worthwhile book. I don’t have children, and books like this definitely help me feel better about that fact! Also worth noting that the narration was outstanding. The narrators are extremely talented and this is one where listening gave it an extra depth that I appreciated.

1 person found this helpful