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HarperCollins Publishers (AU)
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Pretty Baby Kindle Edition
|Length: 381 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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About the Author
Mary Kubica is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Good Girl and Pretty Baby. She holds a BA from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in history and American literature. She lives outside of Chicago with her family and enjoys photography, gardening, and caring for the animals at a local shelter.
Original bio sent from Cassandra:
Cassandra Campbell began doing voice overs as the voice for Calvin Klein's Italian commercials. This was followed by commercial and documentary recording in both English and Italian. She has recorded many audiobooks and has received several AudioFile Earphones Awards as well as an Audie(R) Award nomination. As an actress and director, she has worked at the Public, the Mint, the Berkshire Theatre Festival, Stagewest, Theatreworks, the Baltimore Shakespeare Festival, Millmountain Theatre, the National Shakespeare Company, and the New York Fringe Festival.
Tom Taylorson is an Earphones Award-winning narrator and Chicago-based actor with over a decade of stage experience. In that time he also built a voice-over career and now primarily works as a voice actor. Tom is an adjunct faculty member at Columbia College Chicago, teaching voice-over for interactive media.
Jorjeana Marie has worked extensively as an actress, comedian, writer, and audiobook narrator. Her narrations have earned her several Earphones Awards. She has performed in hundreds of commercials and starred in the pilot Listen to Grandpa, Andy Ling with Elliott Gould. She is a stand-up comic who has opened for Richard Lewis, Louie Anderson, and Kathleen Madigan. Her video game credits include Final Fantasy, Crackdown 2, and Star Guardians. She loves reading so much it gets her into trouble.--This text refers to the audioCD edition.
A hypnotic psychological thriller...[Pretty Baby] builds to a stunning climax involving revelations you won't see coming.-- "People"
A superb psychological thriller...[with] a stunning conclusion.-- "Publishers Weekly (starred review)"
As bits and pieces of Willow's story are revealed, the other characters keep the story moving forward toward what the reader knows will be disastrous results...The story is almost hypnotic and anything but predictable...This book will give insomniacs a compelling reason to sit up all night.-- "Kirkus Reviews (starred review)"
As the perspective shifts...readers see Heidi's interest in Willow's baby intensify and senses family tragedy on the way. And yet, the conclusion is a genuine surprise.-- "Booklist"
Cassandra Campbell, Tom Taylorson, and Jorjeana Marie voice the three characters and bring out gentle Heidi's need for another child, Chris's self-centered disconnectedness, and Willow's misery and need for love. Their varied performances emphasize the three very different worlds these characters inhabit and add dimension to the story.-- "Library Journal (audio review)"
Suspense done well.-- "New York Magazine"
The fast-paced final chapters show us how easily we all ignore hidden infections in favor of surface wounds, and why 'the ones you never hear about' may carry the deepest secrets.-- "NPR"
Those who appreciate character-driven explorations of human emotion will enjoy Kubica's sophomore effort. The major characters are each deep in the midst of their own psychological crises based on past events...The story will stir readers.-- "Library Journal"
Thrilling and illuminating...[Pretty Baby] raises the ante on the genre and announces the welcome second coming of a talent well worth watching.-- "Los Angeles Times" --This text refers to the audioCD edition.
- ASIN : B00U21XV76
- Publisher : Mira (1 August 2015)
- Language : English
- File size : 627 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 381 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 78,704 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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Heidi, is an amazingly charitable woman who is fastidious about recycling, doesn't kill insects but moves them! and even works for a not for profit charity. She couldn't care less about making money. Heidi likes to feel needed and unfortunately, her 12 year old daughter Zoe has morphed into a difficult teenager who hates everything (including her parents).
When Heidi spots a homeless teen with a colicky baby at the station and again later at her local library, her natural disposition is to try help. Willow, the homeless teenager, has lived a traumatic childhood after the death of her parents in a car crash at age eight. Separated from her beloved baby sister and sent to a foster home, Willow has lived through hell and is understandably anxious to accept help from anyone. Alone, and desperate she lets her guard down and accepts the assistance of the kind hearted stranger.
Chris, Heidi's husband, is an investment banker who travels for business and is away a lot. Intent on making money - the opposite of Heidi, he fell in love with the kind side of Heidi and her desire to make the world a better place and help the unhelpable. Years later into the marriage, he has less patience for Heidi's giving behaviour. The opposite personalities and their extreme thoughts are what makes this book well balanced and quite thrilling as you are never sucked into the story just a voyeour. Always wondering who to believe? Who to trust? When will the bubble burst and how?
Mary Kubica has written a book in which you are able to empathise with each character. The writing is excellent. It's truly an onion peeled ever so slowly but revealing layer upon layer of psychological thriller. Fabulous. I've just given a copy to my daughter.
What the reader thinks the book is going to portray isn't actually what happens. Overall a great read my only complaint is it had far too much detail and descriptions which I found myself skimming through as they didn't interest me.
It's been so long since I have found a writer who can hold my interest. Mary Kubica... Thank you. Your stories are brilliant.
Top reviews from other countries
However, it really had all the potential of being a 5* read and a couple of things let it down. Firstly, the repetition. It was narrated by 3 voices:- Heidi, wife and mother of one, who takes pity on Willow and her baby and offers her shelter; Willow, of indeterminate teenage age, down-and-out, with a baby to look after in freezing Chicago; and Chris, high flying, workaholic husband to Heidi. Normally when there are several voices narrating we get an element of repetition as we hear events from the different points of view. However, although there was a degree of this, the main problem was each character (particularly the women) telling us the same things over and over again. How this wasn't picked up by the editor I don't know. Also, I found the passage of time very vague and even now having finished the book, I cannot work out if Willow stayed with Heidi for 4 days or 4 weeks.
Editing issues apart, I liked this very much. The characters were well defined and easy to sympathise with and I really liked the ending. Rather than putting in big twists Mary Kubica points us in various wrong directions, but leaving clues as to the right ones and I quite liked this and guessed some things probably before many would (because I read far too many of this type of book!)
I will definitely read more by Ms Kubica and hope the editing gets tightened up in future books.
You watch this story unfold from the eyes of three characters; The woman obsessed with helping the unfortunate; The husband and the mysterious young woman with the baby.
I didn't really care much for the husband's voice. Even though he had a stranger living under his house with his family, I felt like he was the outsider to the plot, his side story apart from one aspect wasn't very essential to the plot and it could have easily worked without him. I ended up skimming reading most of his parts.
As for the mysterious stranger, her view was quite interesting and the first half, you had lots of questions that she slowly revealed. However, after the first half, her path becomes more predictable.
The biggest surprise (I did not see it coming) came from the main character herself, and I'll leave it at that.
I definitely would recommend this book, especially if you like messy characters.
Heidi Wood, married to Chris and mother of 12 year old Zoe, is on the way to work one morning when she spots a young girl, bedraggled, wet and carrying a baby as she boards the train. Her first instinct is to help her. Unsure what to do, she leaves and gets on the train but can't get the image of her out of her head all day. After seeing her again the next morning, she cautiously approaches her to offer help, but the girl with the baby, who reluctantly introduces herself as Willow, is wary. After accepting Heidi's invitation to meet her in a diner, Willow is obviously hungry and homeless. Heidi is immediately drawn to the baby girl in Willow's arms, desperate to hold and cuddle her.
Heidi invites Willow and her baby to spend the night at her home, much to the obvious horror of her husband Chris, and disapproval of Zoe for bringing a stranger into the family home. One night becomes two, the baby is unwell with a urinary tract infection and appalling nappy rash, and Willow is finding it difficult to settle her. Heidi is happy to help, growing increasingly attached to the baby.
Chris is doubtful of this strange girl in his family's home, and naturally worried for their safety. He starts looking for the truth by simple searches on the internet. When his searches produce nothing, he makes contact with an old friend who works as a Private Investigator, asking him to look into Willow.
The story is fast paced, and switches between Heidi's, Chris's and Willow's points of view, going into past history. There are parts of this story that will make you cry, it's certainly one that makes you think. I found that, even in between reading, I was thinking about different aspects of the story.
All in all, without giving away any spoilers, this will keep you turning the page, needing to know more. Beautifully written and highly recommended! 10/10
When Heidi Wood sees a homeless young girl and her baby sitting in the pouring rain at Fullerton Station one April morning, she finds herself unable to sideline an increasingly persistent worry as regards their future. She tells herself that if she sees the girl and her child again then she will get them to the safety of a homeless shelter, but when the teenage girl promptly refuses, she takes it upon herself to invite Willow and her four month old baby, Ruby, into her family home; a home she shares with investment banker husband, Chris and their twelve year old daughter, Zoe. Working for a non-profit organisation, feeling neglected by her frequent flying husband, hung up on his close working relationship with a lissome young female colleague and shut out by an uncommunicative teen in Zoe, Heidi is feeling vulnerable. As she sees herself becoming increasingly peripheral to family life and no longer quite so 'needed' by Chris or Zoe she focuses all her energies into Willow and Ruby... Needless to say Chris and Zoe both feel slighted by what they view as a ludicrous decision, jeopardising all of their lives. After all, who is Willow Greer and just what is she running from?
Pretty Baby unravels through three narrators with Heidi and Chris both detailing present day events and providing their own take on each situation, interspersed with Willow, clad in an orange jumpsuit, hands cuffed revealing her backstory to Louise Flores, an assistant state attorney. The devastating bombshell that Kubica drops early on is that Heidi winds up in the very same orange uniform as Willow, and from then on the reader is hooked on every word... How has Willow caused the seismic downfall of Heidi Wood? The skill is telling this story from three perspectives, hearing from Heidi and Chris as their family life goes into meltdown alongside Willow's own horrific history. As Kubica makes a compelling case for each of the narrators I found my opinion and understanding constantly changing. My initial wish to shake Heidi and make her realise that her own family bonds are rupturing dissolves as it becomes increasingly clear that she is far more fragile than she first appears. As the story progresses I found myself re-evaluating events in the benefit of hindsight, from the blood spatter on the shirt of Willow to the vivid bruise she arrives with.
Whilst I was transfixed throughout Pretty Baby, it was always visible to me that Heidi had her own issues and that behind the willingness to see the best in everyone there was a need to be in the role of caregiver. As Heidi unravels in the grips of severe mental illness I was left with a sadness to see the disintegration of a once happy family and realise the consequences for all of the involved parties. Whether any of these individuals set out with this intention in mind is very doubtful, and means the conclusion of this novel hits you like a brutal gut punch. Never afraid to tackle controversial subjects head on, Mary Kubica has woven a harrowing but sublime tale, telling of one woman's descent into delusional psychosis and revealing that childhood abuse and mental illnesses both have the ability to shatter lives. From the start Mary Kubica suffuses a real sense of foreboding throughout every page of this novel and this ensures that Pretty Baby is hard for readers to take their eyes away for one moment.
Reviewed by Rachel Hall (@hallrachel)
Heidi is one of life's good people. She rescues animals, she recycles, she works with underprivileged people, she helps the homeless which is what draws her to the young girl at the station. Willow and baby Ruby have nowhere to go and no-one to trust...till Heidi decides to take her in.
The story is a 3 way narrative told by Heidi, her husband Chris and Willow herself, who is opening up about the events leading up to her meeting Heidi. It is character driven in a way that makes you feel a certain way about people and then totally tips it on its head! I thought the ending was beautifully handled and wanted to know more about what happened to everyone after the book ended.
For anyone who reads and enjoys this book without having read The Good Girl, then you will now have to go and read that book as well. Pretty Baby more than lives up to that book thankfully so I can now highly recommend both.
I received a copy of this book via netgalley in return for an unbiased review.