Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica: A Book Review

When it comes to favorite genres, I tend to have a pretty expansive range. However, suspense and thriller is where it all started for me. A couple years ago, a coworker of mine recommended Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica. Like me, mystery and suspense novels were her favorite and after reading the synopsis I was intrigued.

Pretty Baby is set in the cold, unforgiving city of Chicago. Heidi Wood is known for her charity. Then one day she sees a homeless teenage girl standing on the train platform in the pouring rain, clutching an infant in her arms. In an instant, the girl and the baby disappear onto the train, and from then on Heidi can’t seem to get the two out of her head.

Then when Heidi encounters the girl and the baby a day later, she offers the girl food and a warm place to stay. Of course, she does this without first consulting her husband or her teenage daughter.

From the moment Willow and the infant Ruby enter their home, their pasts are a mystery. But as the clues gradually surface, what comes to light is a story so shocking that none of them could’ve ever anticipated it.

I’ve never heard of Mary Kubica before so this was my first time reading one of her novels. Her writing is very tiresome so it took me quite a while to really get into the book. But once I finally got hooked, which was about halfway into it, the pace quickened and I could read it a lot faster.

I didn’t like Heidi from the get go. Something about her character seemed very weak and pathetic to me. And, as it turns out, there was a reason why as we witness her mental health unravel. Of course I have to stop right there before I reveal too much.

Throughout her perspective I couldn’t help but sense a thick layer of pro-life propaganda settling on her character, the same way grease eventually settles on the surrounding area of a kitchen stove. But maybe it’s just the timing of when I was reading the book since there were a lot of politically-charged events going on in the news at the time.

Willow, on the other hand, seemed different. From Heidi’s point of view, she was a mystery. She was a threat. But when the story switched to Willow’s perspective, she seemed more like a lost soul.

Pretty Baby is a suspense novel told from different perspectives. The author does use interesting reverse storytelling mechanics to build suspense, but for me it wasn’t enough to overcome the writing.


This book was purchased by me with my own money for personal enjoyment. Opinions are that of my own and not influenced by the publisher or any marketing agency.

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