Hot on the heels of one of my most favourite books of 2018, Gracie’s Secret comes another Jill Childs cracker, Jessica’s Promise.
Angie lives next door to newcomers Teresa and Craig and their two girls, Fran and three year-old Jessica. Harassed Teresa, desperate to make her mark in her chosen career happily takes up the offer of babysitting services from kind neighbour Angie.
What a Godsend. A caring, gentle lady literally on the doorstep. Well meaning, great with the girls, cheap and reliable too. Or not. When Jessica goes missing everyone is under suspicion including her mother and father. But opportunistic babysitter Angie appears to be prime suspect. She’s hiding something amidst her special rules, secrets and promises … but what? With no note, no ransom and time being of the essence, will Jessica be found or is it already too late?
It’s a story all about trust, communication (or lack of it) and relationships. I loved the atmosphere of Angie’s house although I struggled not to pop on my marigolds and nip round with a duster. Right from the beginning I couldn’t figure out whether I thought Angie was charmingly old-fashioned or creepy and strange.
The different strands of the story tie together brilliantly and the climax to it was a huge surprise that I didn’t see coming. It’s a wonderful portrayal of what children mean to their mothers. It’s about families and the decisions we make and how easily they backfire. Teresa’s frailties and insecurities are central to how the story unfolds. She is so busy trying to be the perfect wife and career woman she loses sight of what is really important.
There’s heart-breaking tragedy in this story, which Jill Child’s deals with sensitively. Her characters are always so fully developed it’s a pleasure getting to know them. Even the flawed ones that make you feel slightly uncomfortable.
This is a story that reminds you how easy it is to make a simple decision that can change everything.
Five dusted, bleached and sparkling stars from me. Loved it. Well done Jill.