Review: “Little One” by Sarah A. Denzil

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Chilling, dark, and disturbing, “Little One” by Sarah A. Denzil is an addicting, heart rending tale of child abuse and control… This book remained heavy on my mind for hours after I finished it.

About the Book

Release Date: January 14, 2021

“Little One” by Sarah A. Denzil

“Take my hand, little one.”

Fran finds her standing by the swings. A little girl, Esther, no older than seven years old, by herself in the dead of night, her pretty but old-fashioned yellow dress covered in grass stains and her hair dishevelled. She says she’s waiting for Father, and that strikes Fran as particularly odd.

After Esther is reunited with her family, Fran can’t stop thinking about this pious child whose imaginary friend is God. Fran’s instincts tell her something is very wrong. Why does Esther keep running away from home, and how did she get that bruise on her leg?

Fran’s husband warns her not to get too close, but one morning, Esther and her family disappear. Where did they go? Why did they leave their furniture behind?

Fran knows in her gut that something terrible is going to happen to that child, and she can’t stand by while it happens. No matter the cost.

After all, she found her. But can she save her?

My Review

When Fran discovers Esther alone in the park, her only thought is to help the little girl return home safely. But when the mother, Mary, comes running up just moments later, Fran’s concern for the child turns to fear. Esther claims to be waiting on her father from Arizona who she believes is God. Mary explains it away as an imaginary friend, but Fran senses something’s terribly wrong. Mary’s nothing more than a child herself. And both Mary and the little girl have suspicious bruises beneath their old-fashioned, homemade clothes. Suspecting Mary’s husband is controlling and abusive, Fran’s desperate to figure out what’s going on.  Still grieving the death of her own child years before, Fran’s worry quickly turns into obsession. Fran can’t escape her gut feeling that Esther is in grave danger. When the family disappears, leaving all their belongings behind, Fran races to find them.

Chilling, dark, and disturbing, “Little One” by Sarah A. Denzil is an addicting, heart rending tale of child abuse and control.  Brilliant character and plot development help to create the feelings of eeriness and dread that permeate the book. Mary and Esther come off as creepy (and a little spooky) with their dress and behavior. You know what’s ahead must be bad.  Fran seems rather one-dimensional, but it’s because her life is as lacking and flat as she appears to be. She’s lost her child. Her husband is only reluctantly supportive. Her life is rather empty. Until she meets Esther and Mary.

It’s hard to review “Little One” without spoiling the plot. Short chapters make it easy to blow through hundreds of pages in one sitting. The story unwinds at a steady pace, the tension and suspense growing and becoming more intense with every passing page.  What Fran ultimately discovers will fill you with disgust and make it hard to keep reading, but you can’t look away.  The things that happen to Esther and her mother occur in real life. As you read, you know how tragic the ending might be if Fran’s too late. But will she be? The ending will leave you thinking.

This book remained heavy on my mind for hours after I finished it. Even as Fran fought to save Mary and Esther from abuse, she caught herself getting partially sucked in by the man perpetrating it.  Finding the emotional support and warmth she didn’t get at home, she would have become a victim too if she hadn’t already discovered the truth. Aside from being a compelling, stirring read, “Little One” by Sarah A. Denzil offers a commentary on how easily we can be led astray (and even into danger) when someone offers us the one thing they know we need most.  

This book is a must read.  

Thank you to Sarah A. Denzil and Victory Editing for a free eARC in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

Sarah A. Denzil is a British suspense writer from Derbyshire. Her books include SILENT CHILD, which has topped the kindle charts in the UK and Australia, as well as being a top ten Amazon bestseller in the US. SAVING APRIL and THE BROKEN ONES are both top thirty bestsellers in the US and UK Amazon charts.

Sarah lives in Yorkshire with her partner, enjoying the scenic countryside and rather unpredictable weather. She loves to write moody, psychological books about ordinary people in extraordinary situations.

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