Baby Doll – Holly Overton

A dead bolt has a very specific sound. Lily was an expert at recognizing certain sounds – like the creak of the floorboards signalling his arrival, the mice scurrying across the concrete in search of food. But Lily always braced herself for the sound of the dead bolt, listening as metal scraped against metal. The lock was beginning to rust, so it always took him several tries. But inevitably, she would hear the click, the sound that meant they were trapped for another week, another month, another year. But tonight she heard nothing. Only deafening silence. Hours passed, and she couldn’t stop thinking about the lock. 

I came across this book on NetGalley, as I often do, and the premise of it attracted me immediately. I don’t know whether this is to do with my love for fiction about families or the psychological thriller tales of girls held captive and escaping but this story really intrigued me. I read this book in about 4 hours which just shows you how exciting a read it was, which is always great from debut authors like Hollie Overton. However this is not a story for the faint of heart. 

Lily Riser is a young woman who was abducted at the age of 16 by her high school english teacher. Eight years later he leaves the door unlocked which gives Lily the chance to escape with her six year old daughter, Sky. The story follows her return to her family home, reuniting with her mum, ex boyfriend and her twin sister, all of whom have changed in the time she’s been gone. Throughout we see how they try to rekindle and redevelop their relationships, whilst also going through the judicial process. 

What I really enjoyed about this book was the different character perspectives. Whilst still written in third person, every character chapter had a different voice which really bought them all to life for me, rather than being one dimensional characters. For example Abby, Lily’s twin sister, is an understandably angry character. Her story is really developed throughout and we discover what Lily’s abduction meant for her long term, and I think that her perspective gave a nice depth to the story. 

Additionally, having her abductor’s side put in as well really made the story a whole lot different. In other stories I guess we are only ever confronted with a story from the side of the victim. We only ever know their side rather than the motives of the abuser. What Overton has done so well here is create a character that I hated but also I knew that he thought he was doing the right thing. He talks in such a way about his wife that you know he must care somewhat, yet he’s married to her as a cover because married men are more trusted. 

I feel like some of the details were missing however. I feel that perhaps there would’ve been something in having a prologue with Rick interacting with Lily before he left. Throughout there is mention of how he acts with her, his abuse and such, yet not with their daughter Sky, and there is mention of how they both made attempts to make sure that Sky didn’t see what was going on. I would’ve maybe liked to have seen this so that I could really feel for Lily and have much more longing for her to break free from him. This is really sensitive material but I feel that, even if not in the form of a prologue but as some kind of development throughout, the detail would’ve made me hate him more and long for the characters to succeed. This would ultimately make me enjoy the ending a little more I feel. 

There are many twists and turns throughout this novel, people’s actions and things they say taking the story from one point of bad to another. There were many times in reading where I had to put the book down and just let out a huge sigh of “why?” at which point my boyfriend would simply turn to me and ask “has it gotten worse?” because yes. Yes it had. Even when you think it couldn’t. 

It had everything I think I could want in a well structured novel. A fast opening, quick turns and changes to turn me off course, different points of view to keep me engaged and overall a satisfying ending. 

Total pages – 288

Total read time –  4 hours

Rating /10 – 7

Recommend – Maybe

Baby Doll is released on June 30th! 


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