Nora Brown teaches high school English and lives a quiet life in Seattle with her husband and six-year-old daughter. But one November day, moments after dismissing her class, a girl's face appears above the students' desks -- "a wild numinous face with startling blue eyes, a face floating on top of shapeless drapes of purples and blues where arms and legs should have been. Terror rushes through Nora's body -- the kind of raw terror you feel when there's no way out, when every cell in your body, your entire body, is on fire -- when you think you might die."
When I first read this synopsis, I thought The Night Child by Anna Quinn was going to be a ghost story. The synopsis really drew me in. However, there was nothing paranormal about this book. It is a story about emotional trauma and child abuse. I still enjoyed The Night Child though.
The pacing for The Night Child does start out a little slow, but it still held my attention somewhat. (I think the writing style also bothered me which made it seem slower, but I got used to it.) However, it did speed up after a few chapters, and I found myself immersed in the story Anna Quinn had created. Once the pacing picked up, I had trouble putting The Night Child down.
The plot for The Night Child is an emotional one, but it is written well. Personally, I felt like the abuse scenes could have been less graphic. They weren't very graphic, but they were graphic enough. Perhaps the author wrote the scenes as such so the audience would get a better understanding of what Nora went through. Another thing I wasn't fond of was how in one chapter, it's mostly all political. I could have done without the politics. I didn't really see the point. Plus, Nora is a teacher, and as far as I'm aware, teachers aren't really supposed to get political with their high school students. Anyway, the rest of the plot is done very well. We get to witness Nora's life spiraling out of control because of her abuse as well as what else is going on around her such as the distance between her and her husband as well as what is happening to one of her students.
I did enjoy the world building in The Night Child. It had me feeling all sorts of emotions ranging from anger to sadness to frustration and many others along the way. It was very easy to stay immersed in the story, and I always felt like a fly on the wall in Nora's world while reading this book. The Night Child is mainly set in 1996 and 1997, but it does have some flashbacks to 1965. The author, Anna Quinn, uses politics to help set the time. As I've said before, I could have done without the politics. There are many other ways to show specific events of that time. I didn't feel like there were any major plot twists in The Night Child, but I didn't mind. As for the ending, I wanted a bit more closure. I wanted to know more.
I thought the characters were decently written. Nora is the main character, and I felt like I was given enough details about her life to where she felt real enough. There were times I felt really bad for her, and it annoyed me how her husband, Paul, treated her. I loved Margaret though. I felt she was fleshed out well. I enjoyed reading scenes with her in them. I also liked the character of Fiona, Nora's daughter. I thought she was written well. I would have liked to read more about James' and Nora's relationship though.
Trigger warnings include child sexual abuse, emotional trauma, mental illness, alcohol (not excessive, violence, and swearing.
Overall, The Night Child was an enjoyable read. The plot was interesting, and the world building was written well. I would recommend The Night Child by Anna Quinn to those aged 17 and older.