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The Stolen Child: Book summary and reviews of The Stolen Child by Ann Hood

The Stolen Child

A Novel

by Ann Hood

The Stolen Child by Ann Hood X
The Stolen Child by Ann Hood
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  • Published May 2024
    304 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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About this book

Book Summary

An unlikely duo ventures through France and Italy to solve the mystery of a child's fate in this moving, page-turning novel from "a gifted storyteller" (People).

For decades, Nick Burns has been haunted by a decision he made as a young soldier in World War I, when a French artist he'd befriended thrust both her paintings and her baby into his hands—and disappeared. In 1974, with only months left to live, Nick enlists Jenny, a college dropout desperate for adventure, to help him unravel the mystery. The journey leads them from Paris galleries and provincial towns to a surprising place: the Museum of Tears, the life's work of a lonely Italian craftsman. Determined to find the baby and the artist, hopeless romantic Jenny and curmudgeonly Nick must reckon with regret, betrayal, and the lives they've left behind.

With characteristic warmth and verve, Ann Hood captures a world of possibility and romance through the eyes of a young woman learning to claim her place in it. The Stolen Child is an engaging, timeless novel of secrets, love lost and found, and the nature of forgiveness.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"A well-crafted, fast-paced story about how a single encounter can shape a person's whole life." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"This is a lovely story about two artists meeting in the midst of WWI, a missing baby, and an intelligent, lost young woman helping an old man fix the mistakes of his past. I loved Nick and Jenny from the moment I met them, and had all my fingers crossed that they would find not only what they were looking for, but themselves." ―Ann Napolitano, author of Hello Beautiful

"Vividly peopled, intricately plotted, and gorgeously written, The Stolen Child is one of those all-consuming and big-hearted novels that explores what it means to be human – how to love, accept loss, transcend failures, and become the person you are meant to be. Reading Ann Hood is like setting out on an adventure with a wise and trusted friend … you never want it to end" ―Adrienne Brodeur, author of Little Monsters and Wild Game

This information about The Stolen Child was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Regina G. (Groveland, FL)

A wonderful gem
This book shares the life of a man, Nick, facing a gut-wrenching decision during war that shapes his entire existence. As he nears life's end, he revisits his past, supported by unforgettable companions. The characters are compelling and memorable—I found myself longing to know their futures beyond the story.

The setting is beautifully shared, with a suspenseful quest to uncover 'le petit chou' keeping the pages turning. Nick's poignant struggle and its profound impact are deeply moving, while Jenny's evolution and final decisions are heartening.

This novel is a gem that will lift your spirits and also break your heart a little. It weaves elements of intrigue and heartfelt moments into a deeply moving story.

Bonne O. (Hartwell, GA)

The Impossible Quest
I really enjoyed The Stolen Child because the characters motivations seemed real and their task appeared impossible. As the tortured WWI vet and his college dropout assistant undertook the mission to find a child from WWI, I immediately became engrossed in their journey. With no professional experience, they cleverly start to unravel the mystery of the past. There are the inevitable twists and turns, ups and downs, discoveries and setbacks but through it all you get to witness personal growth, enlightenment and self realization.

Chris (CA)

The Stolen Child
At the beginning, I was curious how the seemingly very different story lines in this book would eventually intersect. A story of lost souls looking for forgiveness for past decisions and actions. The writing is beautiful and descriptive, as is the story telling. Character development was good, and I cared about what happened to them. I really liked this book. So many topics for book clubs to tackle. I will look for more books by this author.

Linda J. (Urbana, OH)

The Stolen Child Stole My Mind and Heart
A story to keep the reader guessing until very close to the end. Multiple characters whose stories start separately end up intertwining when curmudgeon Nick, a dying WW I veteran, places an ad for someone to help him solve a problem that has bothered him for close to 60 years.

Jennifer is a young college dropout working at an IHOP answers the ad. Soon, despite Nick's concerns, the two are off to France to see if they can find out what happened to a woman and a baby that Nick met at the end of the war.
Beautiful writing unveil a beautiful story strong on emotional tugs and ties. A few periphery characters move in and out of the story, but all story lines merge at the end for an edifying finish.

Since there is a scattering of French and Italian phrases, depending on where the detective work takes Nick and Jennifer, I was thrilled that even after more than 50 years, my three years of high school French are still functional.

Lesley F. (San Diego, CA)

A Storyteller's Great Gift to Readers
The Stolen Child by Ann Hood clearly was written by a very good author and great storyteller. Storytellers are a gift to humanity. The title comes from a poem by W.B. Yeats, some of the characters have a connection to Pablo Neruda - the story is told so poetically that one almost expects to hear a rhyme sooner or later! There is more than one artist in this story and their works are described so carefully that one can envision the work almost perfectly. The tale begins near the end of the First World War in France and ends over 50 years later in Italy...and along the way solves more than one mystery, explains and resolves more than one heartbreak, and has involved the reader intimately in this powerful, believable, human story. All my book groups will hear about it!

Carole P. (Natick, MA)

The Stolen Child
Once again Ann Hood's writing draws you into the story, transports you to another time and place, then makes you need to keep reading until the end. It's been awhile since I last read her and I had forgotten what a wonderful writer she is. Thank you BookBrowse for reminding me.

Nick Burns had met a young woman artist at the end of World War One. She hands him her baby and then disappears. Nick leaves the baby in a trench, hoping that someone will find and care for him. Fifty some years later, he tries to find that baby.

...15 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Ann Hood Author Biography

Photo: Beowulf Sheehan

Ann Hood is the author of a dozen books of memoir and fiction, including the best-selling novels The Book That Matters Most and The Knitting Circle, and editor of the anthologies Knitting Yarns and Knitting Pearls. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island, and New York.

Author Interview
Link to Ann Hood's Website

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