The Foster Child: 'a sleep-with-the-lights-on thriller'

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Pub Date 16 Nov 2017 | Archive Date 30 Nov 2017


The brilliant new novel from Jenny Blackhurst, the #1 eBook bestselling author of HOW I LOST YOU, which Clare Mackintosh called 'utterly gripping' and BEFORE I LET YOU IN. If you love Louise Jensen's THE GIFT or SK Tremayne's THE ICE TWINS you will love this.

When child psychologist Imogen Reid takes on the case of 11-year-old Ellie Atkinson, she refuses to listen to warnings that the girl is dangerous.

Ellie was the only survivor of a fire that killed her family. Imogen is convinced she's just a sad and angry child struggling to cope with her loss.

But Ellie's foster parents and teachers are starting to fear her. When she gets upset, bad things seem to happen. And as Imogen gets closer to Ellie, she may be putting herself in danger...

The brilliant new novel from Jenny Blackhurst, the #1 eBook bestselling author of HOW I LOST YOU, which Clare Mackintosh called 'utterly gripping' and BEFORE I LET YOU IN. If you love Louise Jensen's...

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ISBN 9781472235299
PRICE £8.99 (GBP)

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Featured Reviews

this is a must read book scared the crap out of me very touching and very creepy and what twists highly recommend top notch read

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Great book. Excellent storyline and brilliant main characters. I would recommend this book.

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Wow well that was creepy as all heck. Love it.

The Foster Child focuses in on Imogen, a disgraced psychologist with problems of her own, who takes on the case of Ellie, a child who has lost her family in a fire and is living in Foster care. Strange things keep happening around Ellie though - annoy her and terrible things occur.

This was a beautifully layered psychological thriller that was genuinely disturbing, utterly eerie throughout with a sense of palpable danger lurking within every chapter. Imogen is a compelling main protagonist, a disturbed childhood means she looks at things in a certain way - level headed and determined to help Ellie initially she soon gets affected by the attitudes and fears of those around her.

Jenny Blackhurst does a terrific job of keeping things unpredictable, completely engaging the reader into Ellie's and Imogen's world - anyone who has ever been targeted as "strange" will sympathise with both of them. The story twists and turns in a very compelling way, emotional trauma, themes of mass hysteria and manipulation, plus a darkly beautiful writing style makes this a real page turner with a wonderful denouement. The last little bit is honestly chilling as well as thought provoking.

Yep very good. I'll be thinking about this one, about Ellie and about Imogen for a good while to come I imagine. Sign of a damn fine read.


((Review also available on Goodreads))

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I love Jenny Blackhurst's books and have read 'Before I Let You In' and 'How I Lost You,' so I was super excited when Netgalley approved my request for 'The Foster Child.' Settling down for a familiar dose of Blackhurst's brilliant characterisation and compelling narrative, I was immediately surprised at how different this book is to her previous ones. In saying that however, I found 'The Foster Child' refreshing, compelling, full of suspense and unexpected twists and turns and thoroughly enjoyable. I've read so much in this genre recently and am getting adept at guessing twists and endings but with this one, just as I congratulated myself smugly that I had guessed what was going on, the book turned on its head and led me down a different path entirely. What this succeeded in doing was hooking me in, right up to the very last word.
Without spoilers, here is a brief synopsis. When the main Protagonist, Imogen loses her job as a child psychologist for caring too much and going above and beyond the call of duty, she decides to have a fresh start and she and her husband Dan, move back to her childhood home which her deceased mother gifted In her will. As we learn more about Imogen's relationship with her mother, it unravels an interesting back story about the mother/daughter relationship and fits in perfectly with the themes and motifs weaved into this plot so cleverly. These themes are authentically and convincingly written and are fine tuned without cliche and with great care and attention to detail.
So as Imogen secures a 'lesser job' in her old home town, she is determined that this time, she won't get too involved and 'just do her job,' without drama. However, this is of course immediately scuppered when, she is given 'problem foster child, Ellie' as one of her cases.. As Imogen starts to ask questions of Ellie and those around her, she soon uncovers an apparent 'witch hunt' against foster child Ellie, and incensed by this, vows to stand up for her. However despite Imogen's insistence that the treatment of Ellie is unfair, Ellie's foster mother, teachers and school friends continue to believe she is evil. They insist Ellie is causing mayhem through telekenisis, thus making horrible things happen to people who have crossed her. Horrified by this blatant bullying of an innocent chikd, Imogen pushes on against her better judgement and unravels a nasty can of worms ( or spiders). The cause and effect of this interference by Imogen and the close relationship she begins to share with Ellie, taints Imogen's life, health and well being.
As the tension and terror escalates, Imogen puts her job at risk, pushing professional boundaries as well as those of her marriage. We also discover the secrets Imogen has fought to keep buried for so long both past and present. I don't want to say anymore about the plot than this, because I want you to be as surprised and delighted as I was as I huddled under my duvet until 3am this morning, desperate to get to the end. I also have to say this book was very creepy at times, laced with a slab of darkness and a sprinkling of goose bumps so be warned if you're reading alone late into the night like I was!
This new novel is a brave change of direction for Jenny Blackhurst and one which she pulls off effortlessly. The narrative and characterisation pull you in immediately and I became so engrossed in the characters, I was quite sad to see them go when I finished the book. Although the novel was scary, surprising, sad, funny and poignant all at the same time, it was addictive and beautifully written. All of the above is a great achievement and hard to pull off, particularly in the modern world we live in, where nothing surprises us anymore, and where often the news is more shocking than fiction.
In addition to this, the fiction and particularly the psychological thriller market seems currently saturated by similar storylines and copycat versions of 'Girl on the train or 'Gone girl. So I am delighted to say that 'The Foster Child' felt like a breath of fresh air and a much needed diversion. I can't wait to see what Jenny Blackhurst does for her next novel but rest assured I will be queuing up to get my hands on a copy,
In summary, I would thoroughly recommend this book particularly if you enjoy a page turning read and want something that will keep you interested. I am a huge fan of Jenny's writing and this book is her best yet.
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

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It is not often that a book leaves me lost for words but this one certainly did. The writing was sublime and left me feeling uncomfortable from beginning to end. The story of Ellie and Imogen and of the bad things that seemed to happen when they were around left me chilled to the bone. I don't want to say a lot more as It might give the game away - just wow!

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this book was amazing i loved it ive read all of jennys other stories and i loved them but this book will stay with me for a long time wow how much heartbreak and twists can you put into one book reading this book was like riding a rollercoaster you get on and you are flying threw the twists and turns and you just cant stop reading you just cant get off the ride....amazing.... i found this book really spooky and kept you on the edge of your seat this book was so chilling i had goose bumps this book will be a best seller and it defenitly deserves it

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What a page turner! A gripping read indeed! This story kept me on my toes, trying to work out what on earth was going on with the foster child! Intense and totally gripping I couldn't work out the ending and it wax a good one! I would certainly recommend this book and will be looking to read more of the authors books.

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The Foster Child

Child psychologist Imogen returns to Gaunt, the town she grew up in to start afresh with her husband Dan. Starting a new job she comes across Ellie Atkinson, a child this is fostered due to losing her family in a fire. Very strange and bad things seem to happen when Ellie is around causing the people of Gaunt to point the finger at 11 year old Ellie. Imogen refuses to believe that an 11 year old could be responsible for all that is going on and tries to protect Ellie. The question is, has Imogen got it all wrong and is actually in danger ? This is a brilliant psychological drama that is a little different from others I have read. I was gripped from the first chapter.

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Wow! This book had me gripped from the very start! The story follows Imogen, a child psychologist and her involvement with Ellie, a child who lost her family in a fire and who is now in foster care.
A brilliant plot that's very well written, full of twists and turns to the very end.
This psychological thriller left me chilled to the bone, it is disturbing, scary and full of suspense. I thoroughly enjoyed it and fully recommend.
I am sure it will become a best seller!
Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for my advance copy in return for an honest review.

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If you are looking for a creepy psychological thriller then look no further, this book will put chills up your spine and make your heart beat a little bit faster.
It is very well written and I highly recommend it.

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I do love a creepy child don’t you? And from the beginning it became obvious that this book was going to be one to make me question every action of both the main protagonist Imogen and Ellie, the strange, introverted foster child that Imogen becomes involved with.

Having left her last job, under a cloud that we have to wait for an explanation for, Imogen dreams of a new start in the town where she was brought up. Her husband is supportive but his desire for a family seems at odds with her own feelings about having children and her career is the focus of her ambition for the near future. When she is given the case files for her new position, she becomes entangled in the life of Ellie who has lost her whole family in a house fire. But Ellie seems to attract trouble wherever she goes-could this quietly watchful young girl really be a jinx?

Oh what a twisty tale Jenny Blackhurst weaved here! I was seriously creeped out by Ellie but those feelings were conflicted with my desire to just give her a huge hug and make everything better for her. My maternal feelings took over and I became as passionate as Imogen regarding the issues Ellie faced. But then unexplained events begin to make me question everything that had gone before! The tension was built up to an unbearable level at times and I seriously began to doubt every single theory I had about what had happened and why. And most of my frustrations were directed towards the adults who should have known better! I was determined to support Imogen in her single handedly unorthodox attempts to support this sad and lonely young girl but around every corner was another mountain waiting for Imogen, always trying to hinder her attempts to help Ellie.

I loved Jenny’s first two books and this is a worthy successor to them both. Her writing style seems to have developed a maturity and confidence so that she was able to pull off the ability to keep her readers guessing what the outcome would be here. I had serious chills throughout this disturbing storyline, compelled to continue until the very end without putting it down, convinced something awful would befall the characters if I stopped giving them my full attention!

Although aimed towards an adult readership I do think a teenage audience would also appreciate the issues raised here of not fitting in and feeling outcast by their peers often for no other reason than just being “different”.

There was a sublime finish to this cleverly crafted psychological thriller that left me feeling unsettled and thoughtful. This is one that will be haunting me for some time to come! Definitely her best book so far!

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This is Jenny Blackhurst's third standalone psychological thriller so I was very excited to get the chance to read an advanced copy of The Foster Child - thanks to Netgalley and her publishers Headline.

As a huge fan of psychological thrillers it's always a pleasure to read a story which is different to all the others and keeps you guessing throughout. Any book featuring a creepy, spooky and troubled child is guaranteed to make me turn the pages, bite my acrylic nails and double lock the windows and doors.

Imogen Reid is the psychologist who has returned to her childhood hometown after a serious incident regarding a child under her care in her previous job.  Full of remorse, guilt and determined to move on, her hometown of Gaunt brings nothing but unhappy and traumatic childhood memories.

Ellie is the 11 year old child whose family were killed in a house fire and is the "Foster Child".  Alienated, teased and bullied by the children of the town because bad things seem to happen around Ellie especially when she gets upset.

This is a really atmospheric, spooky and tense thriller which creeped me out and kept me guessing until the final chapters.  Read this with the lights on and stay away from young girls chanting incantations.

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Thanks Netgalley and the Publisher. I devoured this book in a day, could not put it down. One of the best reads in 2017

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Spooky, intense and oh so uncomfortable, this one ticks all the boxes of a creepy psychological thriller, one you'll find difficult to put down!

In The foster Child, we get to meet Imogen, a discredited psychologist who takes on the case of Ellie, an orphan living in foster care, as a result of a fire killing her parents and her baby brother. Terrible things start happening to people when Ellie gets upset with them, and the small townsfolk begin to make the connection. Are there dark forces at play here, or, are these occurrences coincidence and Ellie is simply the victim of narrow minded townsfolk?

With themes of bullying, manipulation and small town discrimination, you won't help but feel sorry for 11 year old Ellie, but should you be?

The short chapters ending in many a cliffhanger and the book's twists along the way had me flipping through the pages with much anticipation to get to the bottom of the mystery of Ellie. I was swaying back and forth and back again in my opinion of what the truth could be.

Although I eventually figured out which direction this one was going in, I certainly didn't see that final twist coming, but did I like it? Was it the perfect ending? I'm undecided. I prefer to be left with a warm fuzzy feeling when I get to the end of my books. Did I get that? No! Was it apt for this type of book? I would say so!

This disturbing, unsettling and eerie book had me thinking of it long after I lay my eyes on its final words. Well done to Jenny Blackhurst on achieving all of the above qualities, making this a bewitching thriller.

Many thanks to the author, Headline and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion of this book.

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