The Child Finder, by Rene Denfeld, was a novel that I had been eagerly anticipating. I had read several glowing reviews and could barely contain myself when my hold from the library finally arrived! With any highly anticipated novel, there is always that chance that your opinion will be vastly different from others around you. I am disappointed to say that I was in a completely different group from the reviews I had been reading.
This novel was not what I was expecting. Like, at all.
The novel surrounds Naomi, a woman they call “The Child Finder”; when parents become desperate, Naomi becomes their last hope to bring their children home. Three years after Madison Culver disappears, Naomi is contacted by Madison’s parents to lend a hand and her search takes her to a mysterious forest and begins to unravel the truth behind Madison’s disappearance and the truth regarding her own childhood.
Now, it is not that this novel was poorly written; Denfeld writes beautiful prose and I was impressed with how the story rolled out. I loved the atmospheric feel to the text and I loved the descriptions of the setting. However, if I am being completely truthful, I was expecting more of a Lisa Unger vibe. Similar to Ink and Bone, I was expecting the protagonist in this novel to be more of a traditional “child finder” psychic (as if that is traditional?) but I didn’t find that to be the case at all within this story. I was also expecting this story to be darker and I found that Denfeld wrote in more of a whimsical style. She really reminded me of Kate Hamer (an author whose work I have never been able to connect to).
I also found that this story was significantly slower than what I was expecting. The pacing seemed a little bit disjointed and the plot was not really that eventful. I kept waiting for something to happen or for something to pull me in but this never happened.
Overall, I found that I wasn’t the right fit for this book.