In the necessary and uncomfortable places where Rene Denfeld locates her haunting fiction, the lines between victim and perpetrator can be painfully blurry...Denfeld insists that urgent stories exist on the extreme margins of our lives, especially when they depict those whom most of society would prefer to erase forever. Adding a tincture of the fantastical into a beaker of reality, Denfeld’s writing swirls and darkens; yet, just as often, tragedy blends and brightens with optimism … What’s here is the unmistakable evidence of harm, as well as the endeavor to understand how and why it recurs. For Denfeld, and for her readers, questions of innocence and guilt aren’t limited to a courtroom or a prison … This exquisite, gracefully imagined novel brings nuanced empathy to that tragic zone in which victims of pedophilia can grow up to become perpetrators as adults.
This novel reads like poetry paced as a thriller, and if Madison’s story isn’t hard enough to take, Naomi also takes the case of a missing baby belonging to a young autistic woman. Additionally, Jerome is in love with Naomi, and she’s in love with Jerome, but something is holding her back from plunging ahead … This is as much Naomi’s story as it is Madison’s, and for all the awfulness and the pain, it’s ultimately a story of hope that will transform you if you let it. Never graphic, Denfeld’s lyrical writing mines the beauty found in the most harrowing of situations and affirms the human spirit and will to survive.
...a harrowing story about a young girl living in captivity and the one woman who could possibly find her and bring her home … Naomi’s personal journey from foster child to adulthood parallels her search for Madison. As Naomi’s fears and sources of determination come to light, the narrative also dips into Madison’s mind, allowing readers to experience her terrifying ordeal at the hands of her captor, known only as Mr. B. Both narratives are expertly intertwined into a deeply moving story of survival and hope … The Child Finder is a chillingly good read.