I think Grace, the over-stretched single mum whose whole world revolves around her beloved but badly behaved daughter Sylvie, will strike a chord with mums the world over. But as the behaviour becomes more and more bizarre and extreme, Grace has to accept that this is more than the normal temper tantrums all children have. Is it autism ? Could there be mental health issues in her family ? Is it a reaction to the absence of a father ? Is she a bad mother ? As Grace is pushed away by all those around her, losing her friends, her much-needed place at nursery, her job, she frantically looks around for someone - anyone - who can help her. A random newspaper article in a dentist's waiting room will lead her to a strange psychologist who believes that certain children's behaviour can be linked to them reliving events in a past life. Grace is desperate enough to push aside her scepticism and serious reservations and will do whatever it takes to uncover the secrets that are tormenting her daughter and making their lives so unbearable.
The plot is very original and surprising, although I was disappointed that the title acts almost as a spoiler, suggesting in part what is to come. The US version of the book carries the title Yes, My Darling Daughter, which is more enigmatic. Despite the paranormal element, the book remains totally believable, largely due to Grace's own scepticism and difficulty in believing what is happening. This is a great lightweight read, full of drama, suspense and poignancy and the story will haunt you long beyond the final page.
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Mira Books (15 May 2009)
star rating : 4.5/5