Author: Rene Denfeld
Publishing Date: September 5, 2017
Pages: 274 [Hardcover]
Naomi has a calling to find missing children. She’s known as ‘The Child Finder’ and has a remarkable track record, often finding children after the police have given up.
The Culver’s have hired Naomi to find their daughter, Madison, who went missing three years ago. Madison was only five years old when she disappeared during a family trip to Oregon’s National Skookum Forest, where the family planned to cut down their own Christmas tree.
Skookum National Forest is wild, massive and harsh. The snow never entirely melts; summers are short and cold. The government owns most of the forest though a few mountain men, hunters and trappers, inhabit cabins that they’ve inherited from first-settler ancestors.
Madison Culver wouldn’t survive a night in the freezing unmerciful forest, unless someone took her.
“Naomi felt very small, hiking through this endless dark forest. Fresh snow dusted the ground,” (page 241).
Years after Madison’s disappearance, Naomi maps out the land, talks to the town gossip, and camps out in a dingy motel while conducting her search. Ranger Dave, who leads search and rescues often into the vast forest, helps Naomi navigate the harsh terrain. As Naomi uncovers secrets from her own past, will she be able to fester enough strength and perseverance to solve this abandoned case?
WHAT I LIKED:
First things first, can we address how BEAUTIFUL this cover is?! I can’t stop staring at it.
Digging deeper, you’ll find that Naomi’s dedication to finding missing children is remarkably strong. I was drawn to the pages, not just because of the mystery, but because of Naomi’s subconscious battle to find comfort & happiness. That line of work takes toll on people.
The way Denfeld emphasizes the sense of setting is mesmerizing. As I was reading I found myself daydreaming of exploring a never-ending snow covered forest, even though it is the very place that a young girl went missing.
Here are some breathtaking quotes describing nature from The Child Finder:
“These were old-growth trees, and the snow-covered ground was surprisingly bare of brush. The snow was sculpted into patterns against the reddish tree trunks,” (page 6).
“The land beyond rose into dizzying mountains. Far across the way a frozen waterfall resembled a charging lion. The trees were shrouded in white, a vision of the heavens,” (page 7).
“Outside a pale dawn threaded the sky with silver” (page 23).
“The moon, B had noticed, awakened the dawn, and so the two – like pale cousins – never saw each other. Even on the most hopeful of days the moon could only peep, from a distant sky, at the sun,” (page 116).
“She stopped by an empty field, the soil abandoned, gone to mustard weed and grass. Lush bundles of crimson clover lined the fence. At the far end was a cluster of trees. As always, her eyes sought movement at the edge of the woods” (page 155).
WHAT I DIDNT LIKE:
The only negative aspect of The Child Finder is it’s predictability. Even so, the intriguing characters & hypnotic descriptions of nature make this book worth reading.
Furthermore, it was a struggle to read Naomi try to save every one but herself. She has a dark past & needs to confront it to find her happiness. She has all of the tools to help herself, but continues to push it aside because of her inner calling and bottomless missing children cases. She needs to ask herself, ‘why is this my calling?’.
My Next Read: Genuine Fraud by E.Lockhart