Book Review: Even those long-disappeared deserve to be found

The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld 

Naomi knows all about lost children; after all, she has been lost her whole life. Known as the Child Finder to police and to a handful of parents, Naomi specializes in locating missing children. As a child, Naomi herself was found running in a strawberry field with no recollection of who she was or where she came from. Though raised in a loving foster home, Naomi’s few memories of her past life still haunt her: the whisper of a bedtime lullaby, the enduring nightmares, the hint of a small hand in hers, a child calling “Mother!” For Naomi, home has never been a place; without knowing what she lost so many years before, Naomi can only hold “home” as a place within herself.

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Now, Naomi connects other missing children to their seeking families. When five-year old Madison Culver disappears in the deep, snowy Skookum woods, her parents have little reason to hope that she is alive. Still, they seek out Naomi’s assistance, knowing that the Child Finder can locate even those with minimal hope of being found. With nothing to keep her tethered, well, anywhere, Naomi heads for the isolated town high in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. Though Madison’s case holds little promise of a positive outcome, Naomi is determined to find answers. After all, everyone deserves to be found.

This gripping tale keeps the reader on the edge of their seat while still evoking empathy for even the most villainous of characters. The Child Finder leaves no stone unturned and no mystery unresolved, resulting in a reader that feels at once satisfied, heartbroken, elated, comforted and with a new understanding of what it means to find one’s self when one has been lost. I loved this book for its clear description, the relatability of the characters and the surprise – though somehow not unexpected – ending that ties the whole story up in one neat package. Perfect for the mystery-lovers, the thrill-seekers, and those looking to see a bit of themselves in every character.

Ginny Dunnill is a librarian at the Ironwood branch of the Richmond Public Library.

The library’s Book Review Team is a diverse group of librarians and library technicians who each have unique reading interests and writing styles. The library’s book reviews provide interested readers with a sneak peek into the characters, the story and the most interesting elements of the book they have chosen to review.

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