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The Perfect Child

Written by: Lucinda Berry
Length: 10 hrs and 15 mins
4 out of 5 stars (72 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestseller.

A pause-resisting debut of suspense about a young couple desperate to have a child of their own - and the unsettling consequences of getting what they always wanted.

Christopher and Hannah are a happily married surgeon and nurse with picture-perfect lives. All that’s missing is a child. When Janie, an abandoned six-year-old, turns up at their hospital, Christopher forms an instant connection with her, and he convinces Hannah they should take her home as their own.

But Janie is no ordinary child, and her damaged psyche proves to be more than her new parents were expecting. Janie is fiercely devoted to Christopher, but she acts out in increasingly disturbing ways, directing all her rage at Hannah. Unable to bond with Janie, Hannah is drowning under the pressure, and Christopher refuses to see Janie’s true nature.

Hannah knows that Janie is manipulating Christopher and isolating him from her, despite Hannah’s attempts to bring them all together. But as Janie’s behavior threatens to tear Christopher and Hannah apart, the truth behind Janie’s past may be enough to push them all over the edge.

©2019 Heather Berry. (P)2018 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

What the critics say

"A mesmerizing, unbearably tense thriller that will have you looking over your shoulder and sleeping with one eye open. This creepy, serpentine tale explores the darkest corners of parenthood and the profoundly unsettling lengths one will go to to keep a family together - no matter the consequences. Electrifying and atmospheric, this dark gem of a novel is one I couldn’t put down.” --Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author

“A deep, dark, and dangerously addictive read. All-absorbing to the very end!” --Minka Kent, Washington Post bestselling author

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Highs and lows

Oh my goodness! How did this book ever get its title? So many times, like never before, my hand automatically went over my mouth because I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I listened to the last 4,5 hours in one sitting because I couldn’t turn it off. However, when the ending came, it had me as surprised as the rest of the book. 😢

Halfway through, I went and pre-ordered her next novel. Best new author whom I’ve read in a very long time!

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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is there a part 2!

the story was interesting but the ending makes no sense. I don't think I recommend.

2 people found this helpful

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wow! what a read

i downloaded this audiobook as it was on as a daily deal so i didnt expect too much. but wow what a story. being a child psychologist this was right up my alley. i have been wanting a book that i cam just get lost in and havent found one in a while.

this was so gripping and had my attention the whole way through! like others have said, i HATED the dads character. i am also extremely disappointed at the ending. its been set up like there will be a sequel but cannot find anything to say that there will be one. so many loose ties. but i still think its worth 5 stars.

1 person found this helpful

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WHAT A STORYYYY!!!!!

omg! this book kept me il all night. I just had to keep listening! great character development, it really felt like this could happen or has happened to someone. in parts i almost felt like the writer was writing from experience or a real life situation they were aware of. amazing book!

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Wow... just wow...

Although the author succeeded in making me feel so miserable and disturbed, I just couldn't stop listening.

People complain about the ending, but I feel like it suits the rest of the story pretty well, leaving you feeling horrified and hating the whole situation that the characters had to go through.

Overall, great job. Will definitely read more of her books

1 person found this helpful

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Riveting!

I thoroughly compelling story. I like the way it was told by three different people.

1 person found this helpful

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The Perfect Child

The story was interesting and kept me wanting to listen. I love how the author spun the story from Character to character. I was disappointed with how the story ended. It felt unfinished.

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Predictable and very stereotyped

Story is predictable enough, but also includes stereotypes of the useless working man, the hysterical woman who can't make a decision on her own, the "universal" experience of wanting children/pregnancy/childbirth... I found myself cringing and eye rolling quite a few times, especially when the male actor was reporting events in a "female" voice. I've read worse, but I can't recommend this book.

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edge of your seat

loved it! I've never had so much anxiety in a good way. I couldn't stop listening. but I do wish the ending was answered a little bit more

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Do not waste your credit.

I didn't finish. Other reviews claim the ending is the set up for the sequel and I could not be bothered to invest more of my life with these characters.
They are supposed to be medical professionals? They struck me as totally clueless. The father was in such denial that I wanted to smack him. The fact that the social worker didn't "red flag" anything also stretched credulity.
All in all, give it a miss.

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  • shelley
  • 2019-03-02

You can see it coming... but how bad is it?

What happens to this family - Pretty Bad!
Lucinda Berry is a psychologist who deals mostly with childhood trauma. My guess would be that her stories come from her cases. If this case is based on facts my heart goes out to the parents of this child.
This book takes parenting a foster child to an extreme. . Many new foster parents believe they are saviors to these children and the publisher's summary hints at the husband feeling this way. Add a new mother to two children. One is with an adopted child with sociopathic tendencies. She like to hurt other living things, urinate on the carpets and smear feces on the wall. The other child is a newborn who rarely sleeps. And let's not forget Mom's going through major postpartum depression.
This book goes from a timeline of events told from three different points of view to a hearing after incidents you won't find out until the end. This book certainly kept me interested and guessing.

The three narrators worked beautifully together.
If you found this review helpful please indicate so.
Thank You.

39 people found this helpful

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  • Alesha
  • 2019-04-16

Spend the credit! Omg

I’ve read the comments about the ending but if you were following the story you understand the ending. I couldn’t stop listening. Fantastic!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Wayne
  • 2019-10-25

Incredible intensity!!

I did not enjoy THE PERFECT CHILD, but maybe it was not intended to be enjoyed. It is intense and I found it depressing. The premise of the novel is that children as young as 6 or 7 years can be sociopaths capable of per-meditated murder. Narration is stellar.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Chilvr
  • 2019-04-11

Definitely kept me guessing until the very end !

Loved it! Original, well written and excellent narration. This story captivated me so I literally could not put it down! I rarely write reviews but I had to share as soon as I finished. Do not start this book unless you have plenty of time! I literally stood up until 6:00 a.m. to finish it despite the fact I am working today. Like this one since childhood. I listen to audio books everyday and was just starting to get a bit jaded by how similar so many of the stories I have been listening to. Then I listened to this story and I am excited to "read' again. I'm not going to say anymore because I don't want to give anything away, but I highly recommend this book even if this is not your typical genre as it was not mine.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Jenn
  • 2019-03-05

domestic drama version of “Baby Teeth” by Zoje Stage

This book is like a domestic drama version of “Baby Teeth” by Zoje Stage, which was more on the creepy, thriller side. This story held my interest the whole time, I expected a more dramatic push and pull with the husband and wife believing/not-believing, taking sides etc (there was quite a bit already but not like in other similar stories) so it definitely unfolded a little differently than I thought — not a bad thing at all, it just placed the book in a different genre than I initially anticipated.

On a side note, the story was very focused on “the system” of child services and social workers and there was too much blatant blame on them even though across the US they are so over worked and underpaid. The “system” is not the best but the social workers aren’t to blame and don’t get even close to the level of credit they deserve.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Kathi Cann
  • 2019-07-09

Kathi

As a retired protective services worker, this book brought back some haunting memories. The story line was dead on and the characters believable. I saw one review that complained that there was not an acceptable ending. That’s because, just as in real life, there is no ending, acceptable or otherwise.

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Helen
  • 2019-03-23

Clunk! This is how it ends?

The story, although improbable, mostly held my interest. I kind of wish Christopher began to have at least some doubts and chinks in his healthy denial system as time went on. The last quarter of the story sputtered and wheezed and finally died an unhappy death on the finale.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Elaine
  • 2019-06-26

Uhmm...

Okay... What was that awful ending? This book left me with more questions than it even answered. I am not super satisfied.

8 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Wanda
  • 2019-05-03

Brilliant

For somebody who is not a fan of mpov in books this is one that actually proves my problem. The premise is brilliant but I think the author attempted to use the switch in narrators and in points of view to prolong and build up suspense. Seriously, For me this detracted from it. The mpov might be a bit more subtle if you read a book rather than listen to it so hopefully readers will disagree with me.

On that note. The premise is brilliant and you should understand how truly much I dislike mpov for me to only give this book a four star instead of a five star rating.

The story. BRILLIANT.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Heather Straub
  • 2019-08-03

Chilling story with excellent pacing

Not the world’s most original concept (if you haven’t already, read “We Need to Talk about Kevin” and “Baby Teeth”), but still a worthwhile book. I don’t have children, and books like this definitely help me feel better about that fact! Also worth noting that the narration was outstanding. The narrators are extremely talented and this is one where listening gave it an extra depth that I appreciated.

1 person found this helpful