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The Child's Child

The Child's Child [Kindle Edition]

Barbara Vine
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)

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Product Description


Probably the greatest living crime writer in the world (Ian Rankin)

Cracking stuff. The Vine continues to flourish . . . (A) miracle of storytelling with her customary aplomb and cool composure (Express on THE CHILD's CHILD)

Vine is not afraid to walk down the mean streets of the mind and can build up an almost tangible atmosphere of menace and unease (Daily Telegraph)

Product Description

The Child's Child is the new crime novel by bestselling, prize-winning author Barbara Vine

What sort of betrayal would drive a brother and sister apart?

When Grace and her brother Andrew inherit their grandmother's house, they surprise few people by deciding to move in together. But they've always got on well and the London house is large enough to split down the middle.

There's just one thing they've not taken into account though. What if one of them wants to bring a lover to the house? When Andrew's partner James moves in, and immediately picks a fight about the treatment of gay men, the balance is altered - with almost fatal consequences.

Barbara Vine's is the pen-name of Ruth Rendell, and The Child's Child is the first book she has published under that name since The Birthday Present in 2008. It's an intriguing examination of betrayal in families, and of those two once-unmentionable subjects, illegitimacy and homosexuality. A taut, thrilling read, it will be enjoyed by readers of P.D. James and Ian Rankin.

'The Rendell/Vine partnership has for years been producing consistently better work than most Booker winners put together' Ian Rankin

'She deploys her peerless skills in blending the mundane, commonplace aspects of life with the murky impulses of desire and greed.

Ruth rendall has published fourteen novels under the Vine name, two of which, Fatal Inversion and King Solomon's Carpet, won the prestigious Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger Award. Also available in Penguin by Barbara Vine: The Minotaur, The Blood Doctor, Grasshopper, The Chimney Sweeper's Boy, The Brimstone Wedding, No Night is Too Long, Asta's Book, King Solomon's Carpet, Gallowglass, The House of Stairs, A Dark-Adapted Eye.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 832 KB
  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 067092220X
  • Publisher: Penguin (7 Mar 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241963575
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241963579
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #6,510 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Ruth Rendell has won many awards, including the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger for 1976's best crime novel with A Demon in My View; a second Edgar in 1984 from the Mystery Writers of America for the best short story, 'The New Girl Friend'; and a Gold Dagger award for Live Flesh in 1986. She was also the winner of the 1990 Sunday Times Literary award, as well as the Crime Writers' Association Cartier Diamond Dagger. In 1996 she was awarded the CBE and in 1997 became a Life Peer.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In The Child’s Child we meet siblings, Grace and Andrew who have inherited their grandmother Verity’s large London house. Deciding they want to keep it they decide to live there together, but, as the blurb reveals, they hadn’t considered what would happen when one of them moves their partner in, particularly if they didn’t get on. Tensions are soon revealed and the reader is party to the amount of introspection that Grace struggles with when she should be writing her dissertation.

Grace is exploring the lives of unmarried mothers in literature when she picks up what for me is the best part of this story, a book written but not published, which follows the life of Maud, an unmarried mother. Digging deep into family life starting in 1929 this is a great examination of how disgrace was dealt with at that time. Vine has a knack of making everything believable, I knew Maud, I may not have liked her but I could see how her character, her views and her circumstances lead her to become the woman she was at the end of her story. Although a little jumpy, you do suddenly realise the story-line has moved on a few years, this part of the book gave me a fascinating look into the mores of the times; this was the part of the book that resonated, Grace and Andrew’s story appearing a little forced for my tastes but providing a mirror of siblings living eighty years apart.

After waiting years for another Vine book, I opened the page and felt soothed by the instantly recognisable style, these books are great for nosey people, those who want to know what goes on behind closed doors and Vine writes in a way that allows the reader to do this. There is often character introspection, plotting and picking over events so that you really understand their thought processes, their hopes and their fears.

This is a slow-paced thoughtful book but not one that I would recommend to readers who haven't read some of Vine's earlier work.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love and Prejudice 3.5 Stars 4 Feb 2013
Writing as Barbara Vine, Ruth Rendell's 'A Child's Child' begins in 2011 where we meet Grace, a university lecturer working on her PhD thesis on illegitimacy in English fiction, who is living with her gay brother, Andrew, in a large, book-filled house in Hampstead, which they have inherited from their grandmother. Andrew and Grace live together quite happily until Andrew falls in love with a writer, James, and asks him to move in. Unfortunately, Grace and James do not really get along with each other, especially after they have a heated disagreement about the treatment of gay men compared to that of single mothers; however, when James is shocked and upset at the murder of a gay friend outside a Soho nightclub, and goes to Grace for comfort, they find themselves in a situation which surprises both of them considerably. Whilst Grace tries to concentrate less on James and Andrew and to focus instead on her PhD, she begins to read 'The Child's Child' an unpublished manuscript written in 1951, given to her by a friend and based on a true story about a young, unmarried mother and her gay brother, whose story, Grace realises, has some uncomfortable parallels with her own situation.

The story then moves to 1929 where, in a novel within a novel format, we learn about brother and sister, Maud and John Goodwin, and their unusual life together. When Maud is fifteen she becomes pregnant, and when her shocked parents plan to send her away, John offers to take Maud to live with him, ostensibly as his wife, so that she can keep her child.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling but uneven storytelliing 6 May 2014
'The Child's Child' is saved from mediocrity by the brilliant piece of storytelling that Vine delivers for the majority of the book. It's this inner story - a book within a book - that tells of what it was like to bear a child out of wedlock in Britain in the late 1920s, and what it was like to be a homosexual - that rivets the reader. As both social history and an an unfolding drama it is superbly done.

But bookending this story is a wraparound story set in 2011 - which contains reference to the same themes - and this just doesn't work. The characters are curiously unlikeable and unbelievable - and Vine writes this part of the book in a very odd, clanky style that is at odds with the pace and engagement she achieves with the section set in earlier times.

Whilst not really a crime novel in the traditional sense of the word, Vine has always explored the darker side of human nature in her books, and this one is no exception. Parts of the story set in the blinkered, judgemental world of Britain in the early-mid twentieth century have a ring of Hardy about it, with its sense of unremitting bleakness and closed down options for those unfortunate enough to be on the wrong side of what society considered respectable and normal.

This one seems to have divided Amazon reviewers, and I too wasn't expecting much after the opening couple of chapters, which were very hard going and disappointing. But, the book blossoms into a powerful and quite disturbing story, of what alienation and judgement can bring upon people, and for that alone it deserves to be read as a powerful and well-constructed piece of writing. Certainly thought-provoking.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars The Child's Child
Oh dear, being a fan of all of Vine's other psychological thrillers I really wanted to enjoy this book but it fell far short of expectations. Read more
Published 4 days ago by SilentSinger
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
good read good value
Published 5 days ago by colin fitzjohn
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic
absolutely brilliant, fantastic story, very moving
Published 15 days ago by Pat F.
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A great read for fans
Published 23 days ago by Charlotte
2.0 out of 5 stars Little details like that and several others further weaken an already...
Although it was a pleasure to read a well written book, the story itself was hugely disappointing. After a few pages of the modern day tale, most of the book is taken up with what... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jacqueline
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful plotat read Great book
Greertly written, wonderful plotat read

Great book, fantastic read and page turner.Plot was amazing and one of Ms Vine's best. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mrs phoebe a coleman
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Barbara Vine
A classic Barbara Vine - parallel stories, sublime characterisation and a gripping and utterly original plot. Unputdownable.
Published 1 month ago by Kim
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading, but not up to previous caliber
Being an avid Barbara Vine reader, I am always excited to read a new story. As expected, this novel delivered a story well-told and with the familiar tension and mystery. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Izzy C
5.0 out of 5 stars Vine at her best
this was simply Barbara Vine at her best, describing people and their relationships and how they develop and can turn from rather nice person into a rather not nice. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Sigrun Huld Thorgrimsdottir
4.0 out of 5 stars very good
i thought i had read all of Rugh Rendall/Barbara Vine but i had overlooked this one - a very satisfying read
Published 3 months ago by ea cairney
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