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3.5 out of 5 stars240
3.5 out of 5 stars
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on 27 February 2011
I read Sophie's 'A room swept white' and was hugely dissapointed. But I bought both books at the same time so I thought I'll give her another try. Well...I'm done with her books for good.
The novel is definetely a page-tuner, I read it in one day. So was 'a room swept white'. But the ending here is just a huge dissapointment, characters are extreme and all of them could use a good psychiatrist! And don't get me even started about the husband!Why, on Earth would he suddenly turn into such a saddist after never showing any signs of that? His behavior does not add anything to the book at all ...well it shocks so if that was Sophie's goal - achieved! SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS The initial investigation about Laura's murder was obviosuly done by incompetent detectives, and knowing it was Charlie I am not surprised at all as she seems to think very highly of herself without a proper foundation for that. Why would Vivianne not shred the bag into tiny,little pieces; burn it; take it with her to Africa and leave it in the middle of a tropical rainforest...well that I just don't know! Instead she chose to keep it in her locker as a souvenir? Ridiculous and unrealistic! This is not a good psychological thriller but a decent ending could have reedemed it a little...if only there was one!
I give it two starts as it was a page-turner, pointless one but still. I don't plan to read any more books of Sophie Hannah.
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VINE VOICEon 21 October 2008
I couldn't wait to read this after Hurting Distance, but although it started off really well, I found myself enjoying it less and less as it progressed and by the end I felt completely let down and rather uncomfortable. The narrator seems convinced that her baby has been swapped with a different child. Her husband believes she's mistaken, and then turns out to be some kind of weird sadist which is really unpleasant to read, and the only other main character is his manipulative and controlling mother. So one of those two has to be the baddie and as they're both so vile there's not as much tension as there should be. The plot doesn't hang together, as other reviewers have said the vital revelations about the murderer are completely unfeasible SPOILER COMING - would a really intelligent person (as we're told a million times the murderer is) hide the one piece of evidence that could convict her in her own handbag? I think not. I've given it two stars because Sophie Hannah is a really good writer, but honestly I wouldn't bother.
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on 5 September 2013
Though I wouldn't go as far as to describe this as a good psychological thriller in some ways it was an adequate psychological thriller, I even quite enjoyed how we were left hanging as to just who (mother-in-law, Vivienne, husband, David, or indeed Alice herself) was the true villain of the story. However, overall a disappointing read ruined by totally unconvincing characters and an increasingly implausible plot that is peppered with inconsistencies, Little Face could have been so, so much better.

The story of a family living in what sounds like the lap of luxury. Living in a huge house and with the money to enrol the as yet unborn Florence/Little Face in an exclusive (and presumably expensive) public school we are then expected to believe that instead of a private room Alice spends the post-delivery period of her baby in a multi-bedded ward.

And it doesn't end there.

From the totally unprofessional police, to the health care professionals who seem to totally disregard the very idea of patient confidentiality to main character, David, who, a bit of a bully from the outset, seemingly turns into a sadistic monster overnight.

Great premise, its just a shame that the writing was quite amateurish, the redeeming twist that would have made it all worthwhile never delivered.

Copyright: Petty Witter @ Pen and Paper.
Little Face
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on 11 June 2013
Lots of stereotypical characters with no depth and a really long drawn out plot line. I had to finish it, as the book had been bought for me and I'd been asked several times if it had been any good. Sorry to say, I've never read anything so bad in years.
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It must be a nightmare to come home after leaving your baby for the first time, to find that the infant you return to is not the one you left. Even more so when you cannot convince those around you, who put your story down to post-natal depression. This is the starting point for this well-written psychological thriller. It is written in two voices, that of the mother, and of one of the detectives who is sent to investigate the mystery at "The Elms", (the home of Alice's mother-in-law, and devoted grandmother of 'little face'). This 'dual voice' actually works well and the pages turn swiftly. This is a gripping read.

The ultimate resolution is perhaps slightly predictable, although it is always easier to set up mysteries than to resolve them satisfactorily. However, the characters are sufficiently believable, and the steps towards reaching the conclusion are sufficiently intricate to make this an enjoyable, if slightly disturbing read. The scenes played out between Alice and her husband are particularly chilling. I will certainly look out for Sophie Hannah's next novel. I wonder, incidentally, if she will give the detectives in this novel a second outing, as there is certainly scope to develop their characters further!
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on 16 August 2015
Where to begin...

I didn't like any of the characters. And I really do mean it. Alice was whiny, David weird, Vivienne creepy. I didn't care for any of the police officers, who all appeared clichéd and at times, entirely unbelievable.

Most of the story was dull and unnecessary. I really don't care about some old love attempt between the two police officers; in fact, in the end, I skimmed over most. The good bits? Alice's interactions with the baby, David and Vivienne together, and Alice's relationships with David. It is these elements alone that earn it the second star.

However, much of the story is either implausible or unresolved. David's abuse is an interesting element but remains entirely unresolved. The suspicion around Florence/Little Face is gripping in that I wanted to know which way it was going to go, but in the end it disappointed me- for me, it would have been far better to have Alice know, but to have her convince herself through a single lie and the paranoia that PND can bring to some mothers.

Overall, a disappointing story that I only completed because I wanted to know who Little Face was and I wanted to see David get his 'just desserts' - the latter was never satisfied!!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 12 August 2013
The first in what was to become my perhaps favourite ever set of books as a whole, Little Face brings us to Alice Fancourt, who returns after a trip out of the house, to find that the baby she left behind is gone and a strange child has taken her place. The police arrive but her husband insists that she is wrong. So we meet for the first time, Detective Constable Simon Waterhouse and Sergeant Charlie Zailer, a couple of people you will get to know VERY well if you decide to read on through their story and the various mysteries they solve. Little Face is a great novel, especially for a debut - and if you like this one then please do carry on with the series- Ms Hannah improves with age and every book to follow will suck you in that bit more until you will be actively waiting for the next one to be published. I'm not going to expand my plot synopsis because if this is your first time reading Sophie Hannah you are in for a treat.. Enjoy.
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on 17 August 2015
This book is a cheat. I'm sure we could all write or construct a tense, thrilling domestic crime scenario if we felt no need
to provide a plausible explanation at the end.

Reading the book, it's pacy, plot driven and pretty compelling. But in the final act you feel so thoroughly cheated it erases all that went before.

I agree with the other reviews on this and would add that the elephant in the room (as with so many books of this genre) is so immense it ruins any tension or credibility the author worked hard to create. In this case, it's 'why didn't they TELL THE POLICE'.

There's some tedious psychobabble tacked on to explain why somebody who could solve a murder chose not to but it us laughably flimsy.

This book was hard work in a lot of ways, with no payoff. Disappointed reader here.
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on 7 February 2007
I bought this on the strength of its reviews but was somewhat disappointed. It's undoubtedly a personal thing but I just couldn't make the parts of the characters fit together: the hard-as-nails, chain-smoking female sergeant who then turns out to be a Cambridge arts graduate; the tightly-wound, neurotic detective constable - a Woody Allen-type if ever there was - who then turns out physically to be something of a lumbering giant; the different personae of the husband, David. As for the main character, I kept willing someone to give her the big slap she so richly deserved. Added to the plotline, this all gave a sense of a just bit too much unreality. So . . . I read it, it passed the time, but it will now be passed along to the Oxfam shop rather than recommended to a friend.
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on 22 March 2012
I absolutely loved it - couldn't put it down UNTIL got to about forty pages from the end and it all turned into nonsense. I agree with an earlier reviewer - the fact that whole swathes of the book were told in the first person just made a complete nonsense of the denouement, if you could call it that. There really wasn't a twist at the end. It was always going to be one of two outcomes and it was just one of them. No surprise at all.

I will probably try another one of Sophie Hannah's books. But I won't be rushing to it.
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