The Child Finder was a Traveling Friends Group read with three of our Traveling Sisters joining in on this read. Norma and Lindsay read this one quite a while back and then Kaceey and I read it together. We all loved it, and so did The Traveling Friends group.
On to their reviews…..
From’s Jan review
This is a beautiful, atmospheric, and haunting story. The remote Skookum National Forest in Oregon provides a chilling backdrop and is a character in itself. The author’s knowledge of sexual predators, her work as an investigator, and her role as a foster parent adds to the authenticity of the story.
I like my investigators to be complicated and flawed, and Naomi Cottle, aka The Child Finder, is all that and more. Because of a past trauma, she keeps people at a distance as a self-protective mechanism. I have to add that Naomi’s foster mother is depicted as warm, kind, and nurturing, which I found refreshing.
Naomi’s mission in life is to find missing children, and she has an impressive success rate. As Naomi works the case in this story, bits and pieces of her past and current life are slowly revealed. It’s fascinating to me to explore how the human mind works to protect itself from painful memories.
Madison, the Snow Child, is the missing child in this story and the book alternates perspectives between Naomi and Madison. Madison is being kept by Mr.B and she has a self-protective mechanism of her own. It’s innocent and touching how she interprets what is happening to her in the only way she knows how. I appreciate how the author doesn’t give too many details but filters it through Madison’s childlike fantasy world. The story is a disturbing and heartbreaking one but the subject matter is dealt with sensitively, without explicit details.
I am usually not a fan of flowery writing or fairy tales, and while it detracted from my enjoyment a bit, it was fitting for the story, so it gets a solid 4 stars. I was glad to see this is a series featuring Naomi and I’m looking forward to #2.
From Rose’s review
Rose recently joined the Traveling Sister and the sister can write reviews.
This book is relatively short, but it’s jam-packed with all the things that’ll make your spine tingle and your breath catch in your throat. Naomi Cottle is a private investigator who specializes in finding missing children, and this passion grew out of her own experiences. When she was younger, she was kidnapped and held captive. Afterward, she forgot who she was and lived with a foster mother, Mrs. Cottle, and a foster brother, Jerome.
f you couldn’t tell, Rene Denfeld can craft some seriously exquisite sentences. The narrative is supposed to be reminiscent of a fairy tale, so it’s no wonder everything’s illustrated in such a mystical and supernatural way. I’m impressed with the way Denfeld manages to maintain the suspense despite having to mix such a tragic story with an almost-magical realism. This creates an atmosphere that is at once innocent and sinister, like holding a mirror to a little girl and her captor.
While the plot itself is intriguing, I’ll admit that a lot of what drove my 4-star rating was the fact that the writing was so freaking beautiful. However, it might have been a little too beautiful. Denfeld made each paragraph so acrobatic that I could hardly take a breath between lofty allegories and heightened prose.
From Bern’s review
We have read a few Traveling Friends reads with Bern but she just recently joined the Traveling Sisters.
The story unfolds from various perspectives giving us different insight at various points in the story as it switches from the past to the present. We get a first-hand account of Madison’s captivity and it was heartbreaking. It literally broke my heart to read those parts. Denfeld wrote with sensitivity, her words almost poetic in their blending of Madison’s nightmarish reality with her magical fairytale like fantasies. Yet there was no mistaking the imagery – the moments were still dark, terrifying and horrible. She endured horrors no child should ever have to endure.
It feels almost impossible to explain how a book seeped with such darkness and sorrow was also full of love, hope and bravery. Yet it was. I look forward to reading more from Rene Denfeld and seeing what happens with Naomi in the future.
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