The Only Child

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Pub Date 06 Sep 2022 | Archive Date 31 Aug 2022

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"Almost every graduating class had a girl who disappeared . . ."

A long-closed home for “fallen women” is the site of horrors old and new in this historical thriller from the author of The Botanist’s Daughter.

1949: During the coldest winter Seattle has seen in decades, pregnant sixteen-year-old Brigid Ryan arrives at Fairmile, a home for “fallen women” run by the Catholic Church on a remote island in Puget Sound. She and her baby will disappear before the snow melts.

2013: Ex-cop Frankie Gray is escaping a career in ruins and hoping to reconnect with her teenage daughter, Izzy, while summering with her mother at The Fairmile Inn, soon to be a boutique hotel. But when an elderly nun who worked at the home in its former iteration is found dead in suspicious circumstances and then a tiny skeleton is discovered on the grounds nearby, Frankie goes looking for answers. Then Izzy disappears, and as Frankie races to find her, she turns up a secret that will force her to question her own history and the identity she thought she knew.

Over sixty years separate the disappearances at the Fairmile, but Frankie suspects that they may share the same dark root; in the suspenseful, atmospheric investigation that follows, she finds that the truth is as foggy as the rocky, isolated island on which that darkness thrived.

About the Author: Kayte Nunn is the author of six novels, including The Botanist's Daughter which was awarded the 2021 Winston Graham Prize for historical fiction. Her previous books have been sold into twelve territories. The Only Child is her first historical crime mystery. Born in Singapore, she has lived in England, the United States (in the Pacific Northwest), and now lives in the Northern Rivers of NSW, Australia.

"Almost every graduating class had a girl who disappeared . . ."

A long-closed home for “fallen women” is the site of horrors old and new in this historical thriller from the author of The...

Advance Praise

"A great book entertains with a compelling narrative, one that keeps the reader’s attention while weaving in universal truths about the human condition during the best and worst of times. Kayte Nunn’s The Only Child will join Marge Piercy’s Braided Lives, along with films such as Blossoms in the Dust and Vera Drake, as a reminder of what is at stake when the reproductive rights and choices of girls and women are diminished. It is a well-paced story with finely drawn characters - and it's hard to put down." - Jacqueline Winspear

"The Only Child is a taut, clever whodunit revolving around the pangs of motherhood and the lengths women will go for their children. Past and present collide when a 1940s teenager is sent to a Catholic home for unwed mothers and embarks on a battle against the nuns to keep her child; sixty years later, a burned-out cop's effort to reconnect with her own daughter is thrown in jeopardy when a nun is murdered at a local senior center. Kayte Nunn keeps the stakes high and the characters compelling, making for a fast, fresh, engrossing historical mystery!" - Kate Quinn

"A great book entertains with a compelling narrative, one that keeps the reader’s attention while weaving in universal truths about the human condition during the best and worst of times. Kayte...

Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781613163429
PRICE $26.95 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

This book had me hooked from the start! I loved the timeline bouncing from the 1950’s to 2013 it was so east to read and the stories from both timelines intertwined so perfectly! I loved the thriller aspect of this book and did not have my own predictions for the story, I was completely surprised throughout! I will be recommending this book to all my story loving friends!

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This book was incredible. I loved the bouncing back and forth from Ingrid’s past in the late 40s early 50s , to her present day self as well as her daughter and granddaughter, and great granddaughter. Kayte Nunn has done a fabulous job creating characters and an incredible story line based on the past history of what happened to so many young girls in an era not so long ago who became pregnant and were sent away so not to bring embarrassment to their families. These girls were so often forced to give up their babies having no other way to support them and not any other options in their time. I found the story of Ingrid so touching and was fascinated with the historical events as well as her will to keep her baby girl and make something out of herself. This author tied her future family generations into the suspense part of the story so well. I love books like this that tie the past to the present. I literally never finish a book in one day but this one was it! Thank you Ms Nunn and NetGalley for the e-arc! This was excellent writing!

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Frankie has moved to an island in Puget Sound from Australia for a couple of reasons. One she wants to see and spend time with her daughter icy, two, She wants to help her mom with the property she just bought so they can open an N third, she wants a big closer to her Nana she is living in an elderly home on the island and fourth and final she has Applied and been hired to be a police woman on the island. So when an elderly none is murdered a few weeks after she moves there it puts her on alert only because her Nana lives in the same building as the murder victim. When she finds out the home that her and her mom are fixing up used to be a home for unwed mothers and that’s where the non-used to work her alarm and curiosity grows even more. This book ghost from modern day back to the 1950s where in onward 15-year-old girl Goodson to the Home and it is apropos for the book because the past and the present will mix with more dead bodies and the missing girl this is really a great whodunit and I couldn’t at all tell who did it until the end. This was a great book and I never would’ve guessed who the perpetrator was and there is no way you could read this halfway through and think you know who did it it really is a wall moment at the end. I highly recommend this book if you love true mysteries you need to read this book I Will definitely be getting this book 5 stars. Please forgive any errors as I am blind to dictate my review but all opinions are definitely my own I was given this book by NETGALLY and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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Reminding me of the homes for pregnant women in Ireland run by nuns, this book grabbed my attention. Set in Washington state, the story begins with a young pregnant teenage girl sent to a remote island home to continue her pregnancy. There she meets young girls in similar situations. What follows is the determination of the main character to keep her baby at any cost. Will strongly recommend.

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Wow. What an intriguing book given the timing of the change in the medical rights of women this week.

Frankie moves home to help her mother turn an abandoned pregnant woman’s home into something with less of a dark history. She ends up finding that the things that the girls who were sent to this home went through were harsh and cruel, not only from the nuns running the house but the fact that they were sent there by their families for numerous reasons in the first place.

The beginning of the book started out a little slow for me but once I had a chance to really sit down and start reading, I couldn’t put it down!

Thank you Netgalley for allowing me to read and give my own honest review of The Only Child.

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