Hush Little Baby is Suzanne Redfearn's debut novel.
You never really know what goes on behind closed doors - sometimes until it's too late. Jillian Kane has what looks to a perfect life - a great job, the millionaire family - a boy and girl, and her husband Gordon, who's a cop and dotes on his children. Sounds like a perfect marriage....except it's not. Gordon is a controlling, cruel man who is mentally and physically abusive to Jillian. And after nine years of hiding it from the world, Jillian is fast reaching her breaking point - except no one believes her - she's done such a great job of hiding everything.
"How easy it is to sabotage a life. For a year, he’s used my vanity and pride to my own demise. While I’ve covered up his abuse, his deceit, his lies, he took every opportunity to flaunt, exaggerate, and advertise every mistake of mine. Like a magic trick, the illusion is seamless and unchallenged, and without another explanation, it’s believed."
Readfearn tackles the abuse issue realistically, with questions anyone would ask. Why would Jill cover it up? Why would she stay? That final catalyst is her children - but again, Redfearn raises questions - would Jill be better off to leave them with Gordon?
Jill does decide to run. Without spoiling the storyline, I am quite glad Redfearn chose to not have this turn into a seamless getaway. And to not portray Jill as a perfect mother. Redfearn slows down the story down midway to provide a 'healing' time for Jill and her kids. Her location and the characters at this juncture, although idyllic, seemed a bit far-fetched to me. But the premise introduces and reinforces what is important in life and what will sustain us at the worst of times.
The suspense is excellent, with Gordon seemingly one step ahead of Jill all the time. I was invested in her attempts to best her husband at his own game and quickly kept turning pages to see if she could. This isn't a new story, but Redfearn puts her own stamp on it and does it justice.
Redfearn captures the angst and terror of her main character well. Redfearn's character is an architect, borrowing from her own life. (Although she is quick to point out in the author's notes, the similarities end there - here husband is "to a wonderful, kind, not-abusive-in-any-way man".)
Redfearn has blended a sensitive and always timely issue with suspenseful storyline to create a very strong debut. I quite enjoyed Hush Little Baby. Fans of Joy Fielding and Jodi Piccoult would enjoy this new author. Read an excerpt of Hush Little Baby. Suzanne has prepared reading group questions as well.
Suzanne Redfearn is a summa cum laude graduate from California Polytechnic University and, like her protagonist, is an architect. She is an avid surfer, golfer, skier, and Angels fan. She lives with her husband and children in California.
Congrats to Suzanne for being chosen as one of Target's Emerging Authors for their November '13 promotion. You can find Suzanne Redfearn on Facebook and on Twitter.