The Child's Child: Book summary and reviews of The Child's Child by Barbara Vine

The Child's Child

A Novel

by Barbara Vine

The Child's Child
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  • Published in USA  Dec 2012
    320 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

From three-time Edgar Award–winning mystery writer Ruth Rendell, writing here under her Barbara Vine pseudonym, an ingenious novel-within-a-novel about brothers and sisters and the violence lurking behind our society's taboos

When their grandmother dies, Grace and Andrew Easton inherit her sprawling, book-filled London home, Dinmont House. Rather than sell it, the adult siblings move in together, splitting the numerous bedrooms and studies. The arrangement is unusual, but ideal for the affectionate pair - until the day Andrew brings home a new boyfriend. A devilishly handsome novelist, James Derain resembles Cary Grant, but his strident comments about Grace's doctoral thesis soon puncture the house's idyllic atmosphere. When he and Andrew witness their friend's murder outside a London nightclub, James begins to unravel, and what happens next will change the lives of everyone in the house. Just as turmoil sets in at Dinmont House, Grace escapes into reading a manuscript - a long-lost novel from 1951 called The Child's Child - never published because of its frank depictions of an unwed mother and a homosexual relationship. The book is the story of two siblings born a few years after World War One. This brother and sister, John and Maud, mirror the present-day Andrew and Grace: a homosexual brother and a sister carrying an illegitimate child. Acts of violence and sex will reverberate through their stories.

The Child's Child is an enormously clever, brilliantly constructed novel-within-a-novel about family, betrayal, and disgrace. A master of psychological suspense, Ruth Rendell, in her newest work under the pseudonym Barbara Vine, takes us where violence and social taboos collide. She shows how society's treatment of those it once considered undesirable has changed - and how sometimes it hasn't.

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Author Information

Barbara Vine Author Biography

Ruth Rendell was born February 17, 1930 in Essex, England. During her 50-year writing career she wrote over 60 novels, both under her own name and using her pseudonym, Barbara Vine.

Rendell was credited with bringing a social and psychological dimension to crime fiction, which led to considerable commercial and success and critical praise. Many of her books were were adapted for both movies and television, especially including the Inspector Wexford series.

Rendell was awarded three Edgars for best novel by the Mystery Writers of America, as well as the Grand Master Award. In England, the Crime Writers' Association honored her with two Gold Dagger awards for best novel, a Silver Dagger, and a Diamond Dagger for outstanding contribution to the genre. She lived in London.

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Name Pronunciation
Barbara Vine: ren-DELL

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