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A Difficult Child: A Thriller That Will Make You Think

For an engrossing beach read that will make you ponder some perplexing questions, The Push may be just the ticket. And this psychological thriller will send chills down your spine despite the intense summer sun enveloping your beach chair.  

The debut novel by Audrey Audrain, now in paperback, asks a basic question of all parents: What if you suspect your child is evil by nature? Could it just be in your head, or could it be real? Either way, what do you owe your child? 

Blythe Connor had a difficult childhood with a mother who did not provide a warm and loving environment by any stretch. Blythe, however, has married a loving man, Fox, and is determined to provide her new baby, Violet, with everything she missed. 

But Violet does not cooperate. Her behavior is troublesome from infancy, and Blythe cannot help but think there is something amiss with her daughter. Fox dismisses her fears. 

Along comes another baby, Sam, who is an engaging and charming child. Blythe dotes on him, and though she tries to do the same with Violet, her daughter keeps rejecting her. She begins to exhibit even more troublesome behavior, sometimes harming other children at her school. 

The reader will see the inevitable tragedy between Violet and Sam coming, which it does midway through the book. Fox continues to deny any problems, and the marriage falls apart. He falls in love with another woman and they have a child together. Violet bounces back and forth between the two households.  

And this is where the story really gets going. Be sure your sunscreen is on because you may lose track of time on the beach. 

The questions about Violet are relentless. The accusations, the denials, and the anxiety build until you reach the stomach-dropping ending. Hold onto your sunhat, because whether or not you anticipate the last line, it will still leave you stunned and asking, “What if…?