Cover Image: The Hidden Child

The Hidden Child

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Member Reviews

An absolutely riveting ride, from start to finish. 

With its ominous pacing, vivid characterization, and alarmingly-charged plot, the author achieves an intensity of menace and foreboding that never lets up.

Dealing with infamous events that took place, for the most part, in the year 1965, situated on and around the creepily atmospheric Saddleworth Moor and neighboring town of Gorton, Manchester, (and of which, this reader was not already overly familiar with), this story, as experienced raw and unprompted, was almost suffocating in the emotional immediacy of its draw. 

Featuring a composite of characters so evil that if they weren’t drawn from real-life you would scarcely believe them, the author skillfully provides welcome counter-balance in the form of our poignant and tender pinch-hitter characters Ronald Cappleman, and his (dare I say “cuddly”) brother Thomas, who are trying desperately to eke out a living on their remote acreage and sheep farm adjacent to the story’s pivotal moor.  Kind-hearted and heroic, this somewhat-misguided-but-still-lovely-duo provide the closest thing to solace and succor you will encounter in this gut-wrenching and sordid story. 

When eight young people mysteriously disappear, (four of them children), deep in the bowels of North-East Cheshire, (a community, in this time-period, struggling with all the familiar plights of poverty, unemployment, teenage motherhood, and the improbably-assumed panacea of binge-drinking), the police and community are understandably reeling.  

As yet another young child is added to the Missing Persons List, a young mother and her boyfriend, (pitiable even in their abhorrently narcissistic parental neglect), frantically face the unimaginable terror accompanying the loss of a loved one, with no closure as to her fate. 

Every parent’s worst nightmare, this book held me pinned - spellbound and hostage - unable to stop reading until the tension was ultimately resolved. 

Without giving the plot away (for those readers not already familiar with this horrific tale),  this is a story that will have you leaving the lights on, as you lock the doors, turn on the security alarm, and consider, once again, your life of tepid normality a supreme and blissful blessing. 

A great big thank you to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for an ARC of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.
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The Hidden Child is incredibly hard to put down, the author, Rebecca Griffiths, has somehow managed to capture the true dark essence of the moors murders blending fact and fiction throughout the entire book.

Hessy and Neddy are pure evil, they frightened me and I was just a reader looking for an adventure. The great thing about reading a book like The Hidden Child, it allows the imagination to run riot and with every turn of the page you wonder how those living at the height of the panic caused by the murders truly felt. Although mostly a work of fiction, Brady and Hindley’s presence is hard to deny.

With an effortless storytelling voice, Rebecca has succeeded in delivering a touching and thoughtful 1960’s novel despite the gruesome subject matter cover in The Hidden Child. Full of wonderful characterisation she has delivered a real page turner.
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I tried to read this, but it was archived too soon. I really would love to read it if there is an option.
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I am typically a nonfiction reader but I am a fan of this book! I love when I'm reading prose and it can capture the essence of a location.  This is especially impressive with a location such as the moors; windblown, wet, beautiful, pastoral, wide, bleak and nightmarish at the same time.Griffiths is a skilled writer.

I also enjoyed the atmospheric nature of the book, the "whodunnit" and ominous tones when certain characters appeared.   The only critique I have is that I preferred the original title of the book, "The Body on the Moor." I thought this was a more interesting and catching title.
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It is 1965. There have been children who have gone missing without a trace. Connie became a single mum when she was far too young. Her mother was keen to help but Connie wanted to have her own place. She ignores her daughter Kathy(who is not sure that is her name as her mother calls her 'Maggot') She would rather be out with her friend Myra Hindley but is not so keen on her boyfriend Ian Brady. When Connie & her boyfriend drive off to a pub to meet Myra the leave Kathy in the car. When they return to the car after a coupe of hours Kathy is nowhere to be seen.

Ronald & his brother Thomas live in a remote farm on Saddleworth Moor. Ronald has had a run in with Hindley & Brady, backing off when Brady brandished a gun, He doesn't report him because he has his own reasons for keeping the police away from the moor. When a little girl turns up, scared & hungry, at the farm Thomas wants to look after her the way he does injured creatures. Ronald knows they should really tell someone but the longer she stays the harder it gets.

This was an engrossing book mingling the true nightmare of the Moors Murder with interesting fictional back stories. It was handled well, revealing the true evil of Hindley & Brady along with some troubled but engaging characters. Thanks to Netgalley & the publishers for letting me read & review this book
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The Hidden Child by Rebecca Griffiths Narrated by Richard Burnip and Sarah Durham was set in Manchester, England, 1965: This book is based on the Moors Murderers real life killers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, and weaves fact with fiction.

When Connie life all changed in an instant! A mothers worst nightmare when their child goes missing! Connie only her daughter Kathy for a moment.......this is all it took for Kathy to disappear without a trace. Connie looks everywhere for Kathy and there's no sign of her. 

Will Kathy be found? 

or 

is it too late and something has happened to her?

So many children disappeared around this time and some was not found till this day! Secrets and so many secrets that have not been spoken or told and gone to their graves.........

This book is full of great twists and turns throughout which made it addictive audiobook. The narrators were excellent and have you hooked from the beginning.

I highly recommend this audiobook! Excellent! 

Big Thank you to Bookouture, and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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September 1965. Seven year old Kathy goes missing. Her devastated mother Connie is comforted by her best friend Myra Hindley...
The Hidden Child is a fictional novel based on the infamous Moors Murders in the 1960s.
Connie is not a great mum to poor Kathy. However, her love for her daughter is brought into sharp focus when she goes missing. She is both comforted and ridiculed by childhood best friend Myra and her creepy boyfriend Ian. Knowing about the Moors Murders gives us the benefit of hindsight and ramps up the tension.
A second plotline of farmers Ronald and Tommy was also completely enthralling. Ronnie has secrets in his past and has lived in fear of discovery. Now Ronnie faces a more immediate danger as he is threatened by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley in a sinister way as well as overtly.
The connections between the two plots become apparent a third of the way through the book. I was gripped by this plot, waiting anxiously for the truth about Myra and Ian to come out whilst fearing for the safety of the other characters.
The writing doesn't pull any punches and seamlessly moves between fact and fiction. I felt that the 1960s were brought to life and the author has done great research into the era, the location and the killers.
The Hidden Child is a brilliant read for fans of true and fictional crime novels. Loved it!
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The Hidden Child was a new type of book to me - a fiction novel based on true events. I personally had no knowledge of the true historical murders and events, so it felt very much just like any other thriller/mystery. However as the book went on, and knowing it was based on true events, something ends up feeling a little off. I felt myself becoming confused on separating reality from fiction. However the writing is really amazing, and I definitely got very pulled into the storyline. The characters felt very raw, and very realistic. I enjoyed this one overall, and would surely read more by Rebecca Griffiths in the future.
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I really enjoyed this read! I had no idea that it was based on real murders when I picked it up but I think the author did a great job putting together fiction with just a bit of true crime context. The characters were all well written and interesting, I especially enjoyed reading Thomas and Ronald's POV chapters as their storylines were my favourite. One thing I didn't enjoy too much was the way the dialogue was written. It made sense with the setting that the characters would have strong accents but I personally don't enjoy when accents are written in the way they were done in this novel. 

4/5 stars. Thank you to NetGalley and the author for this copy to review.
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I have only just come across this author and wow what a talent ! This is the second book I’ve read by her and the way that she weaves true crime with fiction is genius! Based on the Brady & Hindley murders the storyline based around them was riveting!
Highly recommended
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What a brutal opening!!!! Totally and utterly brutal!!!! Loved it!!! Rebecca Griffiths is a #newauthortome and that opening chapter really got my attention to this author’s intent to shock her readers. I had high hopes for The Hidden Child after being hit around the literary chops like that! And boy did it deliver!

This book would be my nightmare, losing my child fills me with dread. Let alone having the real life backdrop of The pennines belt and Saddleworth Moors in tbe 60s. Geez! As a teenager, I was fascinated by the Moors Murders and how two individuals could be so brutal and lacking in any parental inkling. But Griffiths showed me how (potentially) this notorious pairing came across to those around them. It almost felt like she knew them personally.

I was kept on my toes as the story jumped between Connie’s heartbreaking predicament and Ronnie’s relatively solitary life with his brother. Each chapter carefully playing out how both households were turned upside down by one seven year old girl.

The Hidden Child is a chilling story that could very much be true. I personally think Griffiths captured the evil personas of Brady and Hindley. I was glued to my kindle, gripped to see how this nearly-true story would play out. I’ve already downloaded Griffiths’ previous take on a true crime scenario and I for one am really looking forward to see what she takes on next! This is one unique concept which I really like!
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This is inspired by a true story, and involves two of the most evil Britons, the ‘Moors Murderers’ Ian Brady and Mira Hindley. They were a bit before my time, but I remember their names being used in an almost ‘bogeyman’ way to make kids behave. Throughout there was a sense of foreboding which made this a tense read for me. That isn’t a criticism. For an author to maintain that level for a whole book is genius! I need a thesaurus for an original way to describe compelling. Perhaps gripping, transfixing, or entrancing. They all work. I felt I was doing this brilliant book a disservice by putting it down to do things like sleep. Or walk the dogs. I’m now on carpet cleaning duties for a month.

Oh, how Connie’s life changed forever on that day in 1965. I can’t begin to imagine what any parent goes through when a child is missing, but the author does an amazing job of converting some of what she would be feeling. This book contains the spectrum of humanity: kind strangers who will do anything to help, to the most evil and depraved society had to offer. This did make many characters at the very least disagreeable and occasionally loathsome. The descriptions of the Moors, where I spent some time in my younger days, were bleak, beautiful, and completely accurate.

Overall, I felt this well written story would stay with me for a while after reading. Would I recommend this book? Most definitely! I gave The Hidden Child, by Rebecca Griffiths, five stars, and I look forward to reading more of her work very soon.
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Manchester, England in 1965 - several young children & teenagers have gone missing in the north of England, & no-one has any idea what happened to them. Connie is a young single mum who dislikes having a daughter, Kathy, who is dependent on her, getting in the way of her having fun. When Connie goes to the local pub with her boyfriend, they leave Kathy in the backseat of the car with the promise of a bottle of pop & crisps later. When they finally leave a couple of hours later, Kathy has disappeared. Has she come to the same fate as the other missing children? Local farmer, Ronald, lives with his older brother on their family farm, & he dislikes the couple who keep trespassing on his land, especially when he hears them firing a gun. One day, a young child wanders into his yard, the farm is too far away from anywhere for her to have walked all the way. How did she get there? 

This a fictional look at some aspects of the Moors Murders, & the evil couple that carried them out - Ian Brady & Myra Hindley. I wasn't born for over a decade after the murders had been committed, but I remember them still being discussed, & the loathing in people's voices when they spoke of Brady & Hindley. In the infamous photographs of them, they both look dead behind the eyes.  I think the author did a good job in portraying the couple, but the more fictionalised aspects regarding the links between Ronald & the young girl who wanders onto the farm are far too conveniently tied together. It just felt unlikely overall. 3.5 stars (rounded up to 4 on sites that do not allow half star ratings).

My thanks to NetGalley & publishers, Bookouture, for the opportunity to read an ARC.
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This was a fabulous atmospheric read set in 1965 around Saddleworth Moors and Manchester England.

Based on the horrific true story of the Moors Murders carried about by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley in the 1960’s, these serial killers were responsible for the horrifying death of 5 young children.

I was only loosely familiar with the story of Ian and Myra it wasn’t until after I finished the book that I actually googled who they were.  The author expertly wove into their horrifying tale a fictional storyline that was impossible to put down.

Moving out of her parent’s home into one of the poorer estates Connie was determined to prove to her mother she could handle life on her own, and that included bringing up her nine-year-old daughter Kathy without anyone’s help.  

Yet Connie was far from the doting mother.  Referring to her daughter as maggot she treated her as nothing but an inconvenience to her life that could be better spent hanging out with her friend Myra or drinking at the pub with her boyfriend.

It was one of these afternoons at the pub when Connie left her daughter sitting in the car outside for hours on end while she hung out with her friends that would change her life forever. Even snide comments made by Ian and Myra about how easy it would be to snatch a child from a car like that didn’t deter Connie.

As Connie and her boyfriend staggered outside in the early evening, the reality of what she had done soon started to set in.  Kathy wasn’t in the car, in fact she was nowhere to be seen.

We then switch to Blackfell Farm where we meet Ronald, the reclusive farmer who is content to wander the moors tending to his sheep and living a quiet solitary life with his brother.  His peace is soon disturbed by the presence of strangers hanging out close to his farm, drinking and brandishing a gun Ronald comes face to face with the terrifying Ian and Myra.

Ronald is left with the terrifying prospect that these two not only know where he lives but they use the prospect of threatening him on a regular basis as a form of sport.  Hiding his own dark secrets, Ronald can’t bring himself to call the police in case those secrets are exposed.

Ronald and Connie’s chapters, while leading separate lives, flow perfectly together in a truly mesmerizing story of heartache, grief and fear.

The characters are full of depth and whilst we very quickly come to understand the depravity of Ian and Myra, they are not the main focus, instead it is Connie, a now grieving mother looking frantically for her daughter, and Ronald, a man who has given up so much in life over harboured guilt he carries around from a life in the past.
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I did not like Connie at all, I mean, how can a mom. leave her child in the car while she is having fun in a bar?
Is going to be ok for Kathy? This is a true-crime story.
Thanks to Netgalley for this book.
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I wasn't expecting much from this novel but I was pleasantly surprised.

Its a historical crime novel that's based on true crime.

The story flows well and has suspense and thrills at the turn of the page.

The author does well adding some fact into the story. It kept me wanting to find out more about the actual crime and what happens in the book.

Highly recommended
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Connie has been in a downward spiral most of her life and she's been taking her young daughter, Kathy, with her. Connie is not a good mom. Poor Kathy isn't even sure what her name really is because Connie usually calls her "maggot." Everything changes when Connie leaves Kathy in the car while she goes into a bar with her boyfriend and returns, hours later, to find Kathy is gone. Connie realizes what's really important, but will that be enough to set her on a straighter path and find her daughter?

My initial thoughts on finishing the novel were that all the characters are a little too interwoven to be believable and that it took a few chapters to really get into the book because of all the different subplots, but overall I did enjoy the story.

Here's my beef - the story is set in Manchester, England. It's a city of 2.7 million people now. I'm not sure about the population in 1965, but suffice it to say it was not small. The story seems to confirm that this is not a small town and the characters do not know everyone when they are out searching for Kathy. Without spoiling anything, I'll just say that all the main characters are just too connected. It requires some suspension of disbelief.

What I did really appreciate was the depth of some of the characters and how true to their nature they remained. Connie, in her despair, was still the hot mess she was before Kathy's disappearance. She had a lot of issues and they were not going away just because she now realized what an awful mom she had been. All of the characters that I got to know well were wonderfully flawed, rich characters.

On the other hand, I was confused by Myra and her boyfriend. I needed to know a lot more about them. The author only gives the occasional glimpse of them and there is too much contradiction between the two of them. I needed a lot more there than was given.

I'm rating this one 3.5 stars rounding up.

Thank you, NetGalley, for this advance reader copy. This is my unbiased, honest review.
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Thoroughly absorbing. Completely addictive. A wonderful read. Pure escapism. Loved this book so much. Really really good.
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“A child is missing…A secret is waiting to be found”

Fact and fiction seamlessly blend together in this tale based on the true story of the infamous Moors Murders. These heinous crimes, its perpetrators, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley and its location, just chill me to the bone, but I couldn’t wait to dive in for Griffiths interpretation having throughly enjoyed her last book The Girl at My Door based on the crimes of John Reginald Christie.

The Hidden Child is a well researched, executed and compelling tale that had me flicking the pages long into the night. Griffiths engaging writing paints such a vivid picture, I found myself transported into the story experiencing it from the sidelines. The characters are well developed and brought to life and its sensitive themes are handled well.

A gripping read from beginning to end, The Hidden Child is a much read for fans of tales based on true crimes.

Thank you to Rebecca Griffiths, Bookouture and NetGalley for allowing me to read an advanced copy of The Hidden Child, which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
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Thank you to Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Wow-what a cleverly written book blending the horrific true crimes of Hindley and Brady two of the evilest people to ever lived. And every mother's worst nightmare is her child disappearing. 

A thrilling mystery and a definite recommended read.
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