Title: The Child Finder
Author: Rene Denfeld
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Three years ago, Madison Culver disappeared when her family was choosing a Christmas tree in Oregon’s Skookum National Forest. She would be eight years old now—if she has survived. Desperate to find their beloved daughter, certain someone took her, the Culvers turn to Naomi, a private investigator with an uncanny talent for locating the lost and missing. Known to the police and a select group of parents as The Child Finder, Naomi is their last hope. Naomi’s methodical search takes her deep into the icy, mysterious forest in the Pacific Northwest, and into her own fragmented past. She understands children like Madison because once upon a time, she was a lost girl too. As Naomi relentlessly pursues and slowly uncovers the truth behind Madison’s disappearance, shards of a dark dream pierce the defenses that have protected her, reminding her of a terrible loss she feels but cannot remember. If she finds Madison, will Naomi ultimately unlock the secrets of her own life?
What a wonderfully moving and emotional story about pain, loss, fear, as well as hope, recovery, and strength. Denfeld’s The Child Finder is about a dedicated and persistent woman, Naomi, who works as a private investigator specializing in finding missing children. Noami is a woman with a mystery past. She knows she showed up in a field one day in her childhood and was taken in by her foster mom, but prior to that, her life is a blank slate. Her dreams hint at something terrifying, but what that thing is, Naomi doesn’t know. When she returns to Oregon to work on a new missing child case, Naomi is confronted by her past as well as by the possibility that perhaps not all cases are solvable.
We also get to see into the life of the Snow Girl who lives a devastating life in captivity. She spends years in his home facing unimaginable horror, but as such a young child, she knows no differently. She learns to love her captor and they communicate in silence, forming an unnatural bond in an incredibly unnatural situation. The Snow Child grows and becomes conflicted with her life. She understands that something is off with her situation, but she has learned how to achieve relative safety in her current environment and the world beyond is foreign and unknown.
Denfeld’s writing is breathtaking. The stories she weaves in this book are both devastating and beautiful. Her plot is so intense, you feel as though her world has come alive in front of you. Even when she writes about the most unspeakable things, her writing is artful in its description so that her story breaks your heart. She does not dwell on things to terrible to name. She leads you in and out of the horrors of this story so that hope is found in between the words. Her writing is always hinting at recovery and restoration of good. This is a story of true love and deep pain and is absolutely alive in these emotions.
Denfled has earned a solid place on my roster of favourite writers. She’s an artist with a pen and each of her books is gorgeously written. She addresses tough topics and difficult situations with an empathetic mind, opening the pages of her novels to explorations of both sides of a troubling situation. I would encourage you to read her books and open your mind to reading something that isn’t flowery and isn’t easy, but is entirely beautiful in a very different way, to discover the emotional worlds that she creates.