Mary Kubica follows her debut novel, “The Good Girl,” with this psychological thriller about Heidi Wood. She is a charitable woman helping immigrants and refugees through the Chicago nonprofit for which she works. Her family didn’t expect Heidi to invite a homeless teen and her infant to live with them.
The book opens with Heidi wondering about a teen mother she sees standing in the pouring rain,
clutching a baby at her “L” stop. She boards the train and is whisked away. Heidi can’t get the girl out of her head. Days later, Heidi confronts the homeless teen and offers to buy her dinner. The girl, Willow, refuses to take her baby to a homeless shelter, so Heidi invites them back to the condo she shares with her husband and teenage daughter. Heidi spends the next few days helping Willow get back on her feet, but as clues to Willow’s past begin to surface, Heidi is forced to decide how far she is willing to help this stranger before her life spins out of control. With this new mystery houseguest, the Woods’ family life is turned upside down. Heidi and her husband, Chris, are forced to confront their long-buried marital problems. As household aggravations and suspicions of Willow’s past grows, Chris hires a private investigator to find out about her background and whether the baby, Ruby, is really hers.
“Pretty Baby” is skillfully woven together from the points of view of Chris, Heidi and Willow as this heartbreaking tale about obsession, foster care and the debilitating effects of unacknowledged grief builds to a stunning, page-turning conclusion.
Donna Kalsch enjoys being outdoors and loves to cook.