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The Stepchild

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Three-year-old Millie Everleigh disappears on a crisp winter’s day, and nothing is as it seems… It’s the phone call every mother dreads. I’m climbing into the car after a trip to the grocery store. As the engine starts, my phone rings. It’s my stepdaughter, Shelby, who is babysitting my three-year-old little girl Millie. ‘I only went upstairs for a second,’ she says through h Three-year-old Millie Everleigh disappears on a crisp winter’s day, and nothing is as it seems… It’s the phone call every mother dreads. I’m climbing into the car after a trip to the grocery store. As the engine starts, my phone rings. It’s my stepdaughter, Shelby, who is babysitting my three-year-old little girl Millie. ‘I only went upstairs for a second,’ she says through her sobs. ‘She’s gone.’ I race home to find my blue-eyed baby girl missing, and my heart ripped out of my chest. When the police turn up, Shelby’s story starts to unravel. What is she hiding? Then I get a message saying, ‘Your husband is not who you think he is.’ Could he be lying? Suddenly, my family feel like strangers. Everyone has a secret – even me. No one knows why I was late coming back from the store, and the guilt I’ve been feeling ever since… Once the truth comes out, all of our lies exposed, will it be too late to save my precious child? A pulse-pounding psychological thriller about family secrets, shocking pasts and the lies we tell ourselves in order to survive. You’ll lose sleep as you race through the pages until the final gasp-worthy twist! Perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell, Liane Moriarty and The Wife Between Us.


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Three-year-old Millie Everleigh disappears on a crisp winter’s day, and nothing is as it seems… It’s the phone call every mother dreads. I’m climbing into the car after a trip to the grocery store. As the engine starts, my phone rings. It’s my stepdaughter, Shelby, who is babysitting my three-year-old little girl Millie. ‘I only went upstairs for a second,’ she says through h Three-year-old Millie Everleigh disappears on a crisp winter’s day, and nothing is as it seems… It’s the phone call every mother dreads. I’m climbing into the car after a trip to the grocery store. As the engine starts, my phone rings. It’s my stepdaughter, Shelby, who is babysitting my three-year-old little girl Millie. ‘I only went upstairs for a second,’ she says through her sobs. ‘She’s gone.’ I race home to find my blue-eyed baby girl missing, and my heart ripped out of my chest. When the police turn up, Shelby’s story starts to unravel. What is she hiding? Then I get a message saying, ‘Your husband is not who you think he is.’ Could he be lying? Suddenly, my family feel like strangers. Everyone has a secret – even me. No one knows why I was late coming back from the store, and the guilt I’ve been feeling ever since… Once the truth comes out, all of our lies exposed, will it be too late to save my precious child? A pulse-pounding psychological thriller about family secrets, shocking pasts and the lies we tell ourselves in order to survive. You’ll lose sleep as you race through the pages until the final gasp-worthy twist! Perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell, Liane Moriarty and The Wife Between Us.

30 review for The Stepchild

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ceecee

    4+ stars Shelby is the step child, the 12 year old daughter of Randall Everly and his first wife of Bianca. She is babysitting her three-year-old stepsister Millie while Randall is playing golf and her stepmother Leslie is shopping. At 1.30 Leslie gets a terrifying call from Shelby to say Millie is gone. The panic rises as they can’t find her anywhere but is Shelby telling the truth about what has happened or covering something up? What’s more this is just the tip of the iceberg as far as suspici 4+ stars Shelby is the step child, the 12 year old daughter of Randall Everly and his first wife of Bianca. She is babysitting her three-year-old stepsister Millie while Randall is playing golf and her stepmother Leslie is shopping. At 1.30 Leslie gets a terrifying call from Shelby to say Millie is gone. The panic rises as they can’t find her anywhere but is Shelby telling the truth about what has happened or covering something up? What’s more this is just the tip of the iceberg as far as suspicions go. This is another excellent psychological thriller from the talented Nicole Trope. The story is told from three perspectives, Leslie, Shelby and Ruth and they’re all good. Their different emotions come across very strongly and you feel their pain, guilt and so on. All the characters are good but the standout is Ruth and understanding how she fits in and is integral is fascinating. Her portrayal makes you feel a whole range of emotions. There’s everything from panic, to guilt to damage. There’s so much tension at times you could cut the atmosphere with a knife and much of that surrounds the different and powerful dynamics. There are hugely destructive and damaging secrets and some of the things we learn are jaw droppers as we discern the depth of wickedness. The deeper you go the more chilling the story becomes as we witness some monstrous behaviour but also the extent of a mother’s love which warms your heart. There are parts where you can scarcely breathe and you applaud two characters bravery. I like how the novel ends which feels very hopeful. I look forward to reading what Nicole Trope comes up with next . With thanks to NetGalley and especially to Bookouture for that much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    NZLisaM

    4.5. ‘A secret kept is a secret you live to regret. As a child, that regret had manifested in the form of small punishments: no ice cream after dinner, no television time. But what is the cost of secrets as an adult? Surely, surely this is too high a price.’ Leslie Everleigh’s twelve-year-old stepdaughter, Shelby often babysits her three-year-old daughter Millie. The two sister’s have a good relationship, and Shelby is responsible for her age, so Leslie doesn’t hesitate to leave her in charge whil 4.5. ‘A secret kept is a secret you live to regret. As a child, that regret had manifested in the form of small punishments: no ice cream after dinner, no television time. But what is the cost of secrets as an adult? Surely, surely this is too high a price.’ Leslie Everleigh’s twelve-year-old stepdaughter, Shelby often babysits her three-year-old daughter Millie. The two sister’s have a good relationship, and Shelby is responsible for her age, so Leslie doesn’t hesitate to leave her in charge while she makes a quick run to the grocery store one Saturday morning. Okay, so maybe she’s a little hesitant, as her stepdaughter hadn’t wanted to babysit that day, had made plans to go shopping with her friend Kiera, but Leslie promised Shelby she’d only be gone an hour tops. But one hour turns into two, due to long queues at the checkout, and as Leslie is about to leave the parking lot for home she receives a frantic call from Shelby, saying she left the room for a minute to use the bathroom, and when she came downstairs Millie was gone, the front door wide open. Shelby’s searched everywhere, but Millie is nowhere to be found. Leslie rushes home. So does her husband Randall (Shelby’s father), who’s been playing golf with some clients. The police are called. But, when they start to question Shelby, there are several holes in her story that just don’t add up. Is she lying? Leslie has a secret too. She didn’t just go to the grocery store. She went somewhere else first. A woman called Ruth also has secrets. She knows things, she saw things, but is she ready to have it all come spilling out… The Step Child was my second read by Nicole Trope (I read The Family Across the Street last year) and this author sure knows how to pen a gripping, emotional, fast-paced, binge-worthy domestic thriller. I zoomed through this in a day, and it was a quiet Saturday well spent. And, oh my, those twists and reveals sure kept me on my toes. I also liked how the chapters grew shorter as the novel progressed as it really increased the tension and saw me reading even faster. All three alternating POV’s – Leslie, Shelby, and Ruth – were characters you felt for, and their thoughts, emotions, and behaviour were accurate and affecting. It was a tough read, but it was never graphic, instead focusing on the long reaching consequences of suppressed trauma, and how much it invades overall mental health, and infects every part of you. And also how something can be going on right under your nose, but you are oblivious. Other themes I took away was that a child’s love for a mother never dies, a child will forgive almost anything And, that family isn’t always blood-related. The Step Child was a very good read. I look forward to reading whatever Nicole Trope writes next, as well as working my way through her backlist. I’d like to thank Netgalley, Bookouture, and Nicole Trope for the e-ARC. Publication Date: 15th March, 2022.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Phrynne

    I guess everyone occasionally feels they have to keep a secret from their nearest and dearest. It probably does no one any harm until something dreadful happens and then every detail counts. The Step Child opens with a missing three year old girl and we quickly find that almost everyone is hiding something. But are these things important to the case or not? When three year old Millie disappears her stepsister, Shelby, obviously has lots to hide. Her mother, Leslie, who was out at the time also ha I guess everyone occasionally feels they have to keep a secret from their nearest and dearest. It probably does no one any harm until something dreadful happens and then every detail counts. The Step Child opens with a missing three year old girl and we quickly find that almost everyone is hiding something. But are these things important to the case or not? When three year old Millie disappears her stepsister, Shelby, obviously has lots to hide. Her mother, Leslie, who was out at the time also has to account for her whereabouts. And then there is Ruth who does not appear to be related in any way and yet knows far too much about what has happened. The tension is huge as we worry about what has happened to poor little Millie. I like the way the author moves around the different perspectives of Shelby, Leslie and Ruth. She constantly misdirects the reader as to the possible guilty party and when all becomes clear it is a huge shock. I found it gripping and read the book in one sitting! This was an excellent story, well told and I would recommend it. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*

    EXCERPT: I left the house, I followed him, studied him. He used to be the cat, tormenting little mouse me. I had to be watchful and wary whenever I left my safe space, in case he was waiting to pounce. But now this little mouse has not returned to her safe house, although perhaps I should have. Perhaps then I wouldn't be avoiding the news right now for fear of seeing his wife's distress, knowing what I know. She has no idea how much worse things could get. ABOUT 'THE STEPCHILD': Three-year-old M EXCERPT: I left the house, I followed him, studied him. He used to be the cat, tormenting little mouse me. I had to be watchful and wary whenever I left my safe space, in case he was waiting to pounce. But now this little mouse has not returned to her safe house, although perhaps I should have. Perhaps then I wouldn't be avoiding the news right now for fear of seeing his wife's distress, knowing what I know. She has no idea how much worse things could get. ABOUT 'THE STEPCHILD': Three-year-old Millie Everleigh disappears on a crisp winter’s day, and nothing is as it seems… It’s the phone call every mother dreads. I’m climbing into the car after a trip to the grocery store. As the engine starts, my phone rings. It’s my stepdaughter, Shelby, who is babysitting my three-year-old little girl Millie. ‘I only went upstairs for a second,’ she says through her sobs. ‘She’s gone.’ I race home to find my blue-eyed baby girl missing, and my heart ripped out of my chest. When the police turn up, Shelby’s story starts to unravel. What is she hiding? Then I get a message saying, ‘Your husband is not who you think he is.’ Could he be lying? Suddenly, my family feel like strangers. Everyone has a secret – even me. No one knows why I was late coming back from the store, and the guilt I’ve been feeling ever since… Once the truth comes out, all of our lies exposed, will it be too late to save my precious child? MY THOUGHTS: The Stepchild takes a turn in a most unexpected direction - certainly not what I was expecting, but it's very relevant and timely. What started out as a fairly prosaic and predictable story soon took a welcome turn to the darker as Trope explored the subject of teenage grooming. None of my predictions held any water as secret after secret was revealed. You may think Trope gives you the whole story in the beginning but, believe me, she doesn't. The story is told from the points of view of three women: Leslie, Millie's mother; Shelby, Leslie's stepdaughter; and Ruth, whose connection to the story I am not going to reveal. Trope examines the dynamics of the blended family, and the pressure on the child who now finds herself having to negotiate living with two separate families; of having to watch what she says to her mother who is resentful and jealous, and try to deflect her inquisitions. She is also having to cope with getting to know her mother's new husband, and a very demanding friend who doesn't want Shelby to have any other friends. The more you read, the more chilling and complex the story becomes. Secrets are slowly picked apart, but it is not initially evident just who is the bad guy in all of this. Trope is a master of misdirection! The Stepchild quickly became hard to put down. Despite there being no graphic descriptions of anything, there were several places in the book where I found myself holding my breath, or crossing my fingers. Definitely a read that will have you experiencing all the emotions. ⭐⭐⭐.9 #TheStepchild #NetGalley I: @nicoletropeauthor @bookouture T: @nicoletrope @Bookouture #australianfiction #contemporaryfiction #familydrama #mentalhealth #mystery THE AUTHOR: Nicole Trope went to university to study Law but realised the error of her ways when she did very badly on her first law essay because-as her professor pointed out- ‘It’s not meant to be a story.’ She studied teaching instead and used her holidays to work on her writing career and complete a Masters’ degree in Children’s Literature. After the birth of her first child she stayed home full time to write and raise children, renovate houses and build a business with her husband. The idea for her first published novel, The Boy under the Table, was so scary that it took a year for her to find the courage to write the emotional story. She lives in Sydney with her husband and three children. DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Stepchild by Nicole Trope for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com This review is also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and my webpage https://sandysbookaday.wordpress.com/...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    Leslie Everleigh was on her way home from the store when her phone rang. The screams and sobs terrified Leslie as she listened to her stepdaughter Shelby, telling her little Millie was gone. She was only three, how could she be gone? Shelby was twelve and her dad, and Leslie’s husband Randall, had decided she was old enough for short babysitting. But as Leslie berated herself, feeling the guilt overwhelming her, Shelby was also terrified. She knew the police were coming – could she keep the trut Leslie Everleigh was on her way home from the store when her phone rang. The screams and sobs terrified Leslie as she listened to her stepdaughter Shelby, telling her little Millie was gone. She was only three, how could she be gone? Shelby was twelve and her dad, and Leslie’s husband Randall, had decided she was old enough for short babysitting. But as Leslie berated herself, feeling the guilt overwhelming her, Shelby was also terrified. She knew the police were coming – could she keep the truth hidden from them as well? As the police gathered around, questioning while sending the force out searching, the incident was put on the radio, the TV. The reporters gathered around and when an Amber Alert was raised, Shelby knew the worst had happened. Leslie knew she’d never see her beautiful daughter again… Ruth was shut in her house, keeping herself calm in her normal way and wondering what she should do. When she saw the media report on the television, she was sent into panic. What should she do? Wrong, wrong – it was all wrong. The Step Child is another excellent psychological thriller by Aussie author Nicole Trope, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Tense, heart pounding, breathtaking – the words kept flying by as I took them in. So much intrigue, misconception, misdirection – the heartache of your child missing, and the frustration of not being able to do anything, of letting others do it for you. An exceptional read, The Step Child is one I highly recommend. With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    Another great psychological thriller by Nicole Trope. Three-year-old Millie disappears one morning while her mother is out shopping and her sister Shelby has been left home to babysit. Shelby, who is twelve, insists she only went upstairs for a second to use the bathroom. Her mother, Leslie, insists she was only supposed to be out for an hour. Both stories have inconsistencies. I really loved the way this book examined the relationships in blended families, for good and bad. Leslie is married to Another great psychological thriller by Nicole Trope. Three-year-old Millie disappears one morning while her mother is out shopping and her sister Shelby has been left home to babysit. Shelby, who is twelve, insists she only went upstairs for a second to use the bathroom. Her mother, Leslie, insists she was only supposed to be out for an hour. Both stories have inconsistencies. I really loved the way this book examined the relationships in blended families, for good and bad. Leslie is married to Randall, Shelby’s dad. When Shelby’s parents were still married, they struggled financially. Now Randall’s software company is worth millions. Could this have been a factor to whomever took Millie? Shelby’s mother Bianca is remarried to Trevor, and there’s tension in that relationship, too. There’s also the matter of Ruth, a local woman who has a story to tell of her own. I thought the book did a really good job of balancing really interesting character perspectives and keeping the pacing flowing. I liked how I felt like there were just the right number of characters and it didn’t get bogged down with too much to try to keep track of, but kept things nice and tight and told a clean story. This had some twists I wasn’t expecting! Disclaimer: I received a complimentary ARC copy of this book from Bookouture and NetGalley for review purposes.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    The Stepchild by Nicole Trope is a psychological thriller novel that features every parent’s nightmare, a missing child. The story in The Stepchild is one that is told by changing the point of view between the various characters involved. Leslie gets the news that no parent ever wants to hear, her three year old daughter Millie is missing. Leslie had gone out and left Millie with her twelve year stepdaughter, Shelby, there to babysit but when returning home Millie is gone and Shelby insists she h The Stepchild by Nicole Trope is a psychological thriller novel that features every parent’s nightmare, a missing child. The story in The Stepchild is one that is told by changing the point of view between the various characters involved. Leslie gets the news that no parent ever wants to hear, her three year old daughter Millie is missing. Leslie had gone out and left Millie with her twelve year stepdaughter, Shelby, there to babysit but when returning home Millie is gone and Shelby insists she had only left for a second. Nicole Trope has done a good job in The Stepchild making every character the type that you just know they are hiding something and that feel very untrustworthy. This of course is the type of book that then becomes hard to put down as it pulls me in further and further waiting for the answers to just what happened. Having read the author before I knew I enjoyed her stories and hoped The Stepchild would grab me too and it certainly did as each twist came along. I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley. For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/

  8. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    3.5 rounded up. This was another very good domestic thriller from Nicole Trope. Twelve year old Shelby is the stepchild. Her father Randall is now married to second wife Leslie and they have a three year old girl, Mille. Shelby shares her time between her father’s household and her mother, Bianca’s. Bianca has also remarried. A very common blended family situation - right? One weekend things come to a head though and the keeping of secrets makes it very hard to work out what is going on. One Satur 3.5 rounded up. This was another very good domestic thriller from Nicole Trope. Twelve year old Shelby is the stepchild. Her father Randall is now married to second wife Leslie and they have a three year old girl, Mille. Shelby shares her time between her father’s household and her mother, Bianca’s. Bianca has also remarried. A very common blended family situation - right? One weekend things come to a head though and the keeping of secrets makes it very hard to work out what is going on. One Saturday Leslie needs some groceries and leaves Millie in the care of Shelby, telling her she’ll only be gone an hour. In fact she is gone for close to two hours. She did not just go shopping. When she does return Shelby is in a panic as Millie has disappeared. According to Shelby she just popped upstairs to the bathroom and by the she returned Millie had the door open and had disappeared. But that is not what happened either. Meanwhile Leslie is getting anonymous messages telling her that her husband is not who she thinks he is. And there then there is Ruth who suffers from agoraphobia and OCD but who has seen something on one of her rare outing that prompts her into taking action to prevent what happened to her from happening to another innocent. It is easy to think you know what is going on her but don’t be so sure. There are more secrets to come out and some breathtaking betrayals. The story is told through the POV of Leslie, Shelby and Ruth and as you get to know them better you really feel their pain. It takes a lot of bravery for some of the stories to be told and, unfortunately, the scenario is far too common. The story was excellent but I felt it was let down slightly by too much repetition of some elements. Nevertheless I will be very keen to see what Nicole Trope comes up with next. Many thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for the much appreciated arc which I reviewed voluntarily and honestly.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kylie

    This books is a wonderful thriller, which has you guessing the entire book, which makes you want to keep on reading to find the clues and solve the puzzle. The books is based around 6 main characters. Randall - Father of Millie & Shelby and husband of Leonie Bianca - Shelby's Mum and first wife of Randall Leonie - Millie's Mum Shelby - Millie's 12 year old step sister who was babysitting Millie at the time she went missing. Millie - The 3 year old missing girl Ruth - A recluse, that has a hoarding diso This books is a wonderful thriller, which has you guessing the entire book, which makes you want to keep on reading to find the clues and solve the puzzle. The books is based around 6 main characters. Randall - Father of Millie & Shelby and husband of Leonie Bianca - Shelby's Mum and first wife of Randall Leonie - Millie's Mum Shelby - Millie's 12 year old step sister who was babysitting Millie at the time she went missing. Millie - The 3 year old missing girl Ruth - A recluse, that has a hoarding disorder, and doesn't appear to be related to the family, but with each page you turn you know there must be some kind of link that you are waiting patiently to discover. Everybody has a secret to keep, and watching these secrets unfold throughout the novel, is extremely dramatic and entertaining. "A secret kept, is a secret you live to regret" The book is very mysterious, and keeps you on your toes, always guessing whether little Millie is even alive or whether something horrible or sinister has happened to her. I particularly enjoyed the way each chapter, tells the story by one of the main female characters, ie. Ruth, Shelby or Leonie. You discover their thoughts through this horrible ordeal and see their side of each moment as the path to discovery of what has happened to Millie is revealed. Thankyou to Netgalley, Bookouture and Nicole Troupe for my advanced copy in return for my honest review. 3 Stars: It was a good book and well-crafted. I would recommend it to the right person. Please visit my blog and follow to see all of my past and future book reviews. https://www.facebook.com/Kylies-Book-...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dana-Adriana B.

    Shelby should have taken care of her 3 years old step-sister, Millie, but she is gone now, missing and stepmom Leslie does not believe anything she is saying. A gripping thriller. Thank you Netgalley for this n8ce book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Louise Wilson

    It's the phone call every mother dreads. I'm climbing into the car after a trip to the grocery store. As the engine starts, my phone rings. It's my stepdaughter, Shelby, who is babysitting my three year old little girl, Millie. "I only went upstairs for a second" she says through her sobs. "She's gone." It must be the phone call every parent dreads to hear - their child is missing. The story is told from multiple perspectives. There's lots of secrets being kept and lies being told. This is much m It's the phone call every mother dreads. I'm climbing into the car after a trip to the grocery store. As the engine starts, my phone rings. It's my stepdaughter, Shelby, who is babysitting my three year old little girl, Millie. "I only went upstairs for a second" she says through her sobs. "She's gone." It must be the phone call every parent dreads to hear - their child is missing. The story is told from multiple perspectives. There's lots of secrets being kept and lies being told. This is much more than a story about a missing child. The pace is fast from the beginning. Is Shelby hiding the truth about her stepsisters disappearance? The twists kept coming and the truth is out about what really happened. This addictive and gripping storyline held my attention throughout. I would like to thank #NetGalley #Bookouture and the author #NicoleTrope for my ARC of #TheStepchild in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Danielle B

    Leslie leaves her stepdaughter, Shelby, at home to watch her 3 year old daughter Millie. While Leslie is out shopping, she gets a call from Shelby that Millie has gone missing. She races home and she tries to figure out what happened to Millie. Leslie and her husband Randall, Shelby's father, know there is more to the story than Shelby is telling them. Told through different points of view from different characters, Leslie, Shelby, Ruth and Trevor we finally discover the truth and what has been Leslie leaves her stepdaughter, Shelby, at home to watch her 3 year old daughter Millie. While Leslie is out shopping, she gets a call from Shelby that Millie has gone missing. She races home and she tries to figure out what happened to Millie. Leslie and her husband Randall, Shelby's father, know there is more to the story than Shelby is telling them. Told through different points of view from different characters, Leslie, Shelby, Ruth and Trevor we finally discover the truth and what has been happening. Will Millie be found safe? Another very intriguing book from Nicole Trope. I found myself racing through the pages wanting to know who all these characters were and how they were connected! If you want a book to keep you guessing, pick this one up. It was entertaining and I LOVED the brilliant ending. I am sure THE STEPCHILD will be another big hit for Nicole Trope! Many thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for my ARC in exchange for my honest review. This review will be posted to my Instagram Blog (@coffee.break.book.reviews) in the near future.

  13. 4 out of 5

    theliterateleprechaun

    “No one wants to be invisible, but sometimes invisible is the best you can hope for.” Shelby Everleigh, 12, is mad with the world. Her stepmom, Leslie, knows that Shelby and her bestie, Kiera, want to head to the mall, but she makes Shelby babysit Millie, her 3-year-old stepsister, while she quickly runs out to the grocery store. All of a sudden, Millie is missing and, unable to find her, Shelby is forced to alert Leslie. Is Millie simply playing hide-n-seek? Has she run away from home? Was she a “No one wants to be invisible, but sometimes invisible is the best you can hope for.” Shelby Everleigh, 12, is mad with the world. Her stepmom, Leslie, knows that Shelby and her bestie, Kiera, want to head to the mall, but she makes Shelby babysit Millie, her 3-year-old stepsister, while she quickly runs out to the grocery store. All of a sudden, Millie is missing and, unable to find her, Shelby is forced to alert Leslie. Is Millie simply playing hide-n-seek? Has she run away from home? Was she abducted? Fear well done has a definite arc and Nicole Trope consistently shows she’s mastered the trajectory of fear. She takes us through the stages as her rollercoaster plot gains momentum. Initially, readers are lulled into a false sense of security while she establishes normality in Leslie Everleigh’s day - she’s out running errands. Suddenly within two pages, the gas pedal is pushed to the floor and the rollercoaster takes off - she gets THE phone call every parent dreads and unease sets in. She rushes home. As Trope takes readers through the multiple points of view, the search for Millie, and the police interview process, dread replaces unease - will they ever find her? This compelling narrative benefits from several people telling the story because the different relationships within the cast of characters add different facets to the larger picture. Not only that, Trope utilizes the different points of view to her best advantage; she allows each character to provide another clue to Millie’s whereabouts as the story progresses. The page-turning tension that results is due to one character’s scene ending at an unresolved point, thereby leaving the reader with questions, just as the next chapter opens with another point of view offering another piece of the puzzle. Each character’s story is as compelling as the one before and each character has his own arc. The withholding of information manipulates the reader and gives the compelling plot the fuel to proceed. With each character holding back a devastating secret, who can be trusted? It’s truly masterful plotting on Trope’s part. Missing child cases are undeniably tragic and readers are torn between wanting a world where this doesn’t happen and wanting a world where perpetrators are brought to justice. Trope accesses that delicate balance and runs with a story that challenges readers to keep up with characters’ shocking pasts, unearthed family secrets and the web of lies constructed to help them survive. She highlights the “MeToo movement and forgiveness as she draws on empathy and tugs at readers’ heartstrings. Before readers know it, the rollercoaster has climbed several small hills, climaxed at the summit, twisted and turned unexpected corners and is rolling towards a conclusion. Will the gasp-worthy ending see Millie found alive or dead? Regardless, Trope hammers home “a secret kept is a secret you’ll live to regret.” I was gifted this advance copy by Nicole Trope, Bookouture and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    There should have been a content warning on this book regarding sexual abuse of minors. Being a victim of sexual abuse, I found portions of this book difficult to read. I found Ruth to be a relatable character and her experiences. There are three viewpoints in this story, Leslie, Shelby, and Ruth .I liked reading from the different perspectives. Overall, the story is well written and fast paced.I did relate to Leslie,Shelby and Ruth in some ways.Highly suspenseful until the end. While I had issu There should have been a content warning on this book regarding sexual abuse of minors. Being a victim of sexual abuse, I found portions of this book difficult to read. I found Ruth to be a relatable character and her experiences. There are three viewpoints in this story, Leslie, Shelby, and Ruth .I liked reading from the different perspectives. Overall, the story is well written and fast paced.I did relate to Leslie,Shelby and Ruth in some ways.Highly suspenseful until the end. While I had issues with some things this book, I did want to know what happened to Millie, the missing child. I found the ending to be bittersweet and moving. I received this ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mandie (allbookedout_with_mj)

    Another fast paced, page turning read full of suspense to keep the reader guessing by author Nicole Trope! After reading The Family Across the Street by this author,  I was keen to read more of her and I am not left disappointed! The Stepchild is a psychological thriller based on every parent’s nightmare, a missing child. Told in multiple POV’S with characters who have secrets and come across untrustworthy. It will draw you in and hold your attention! No parent ever wants to hear their child has Another fast paced, page turning read full of suspense to keep the reader guessing by author Nicole Trope! After reading The Family Across the Street by this author,  I was keen to read more of her and I am not left disappointed! The Stepchild is a psychological thriller based on every parent’s nightmare, a missing child. Told in multiple POV’S with characters who have secrets and come across untrustworthy. It will draw you in and hold your attention! No parent ever wants to hear their child has gone missing and Leslie was no different when she is told her three year old daughter Millie is missing. Leslie went out to the supermarket and left Millie with her twelve year old stepdaughter, Shelby. Returning home after being longer than she had said she would be, Millie is gone and Shelby insists she only left for a second to go upstairs to the bathroom. But Millie is keeping secrets! Does she know more than she is letting on? Leslie has her own secrets too... Why was she at the supermarket for double the time she said she would be? As the truth unfolds, will it be too late to find Millie and the biggest question... Will she still be alive?   .

  16. 4 out of 5

    daniela weber

    fast, intense and dark, this story was a heartbreaking roller-coaster about a  day when a damaged young girl has to face the disappearance of her three year old half-sister - and it really made me cry. ♡

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kimmy Classic Australian Crawl C

    Shelby is 12, and the ‘step’ to her dad Randall, his wife Leslie, and their child Millie, aged 3. Shelby is babysitting one day when Millie disappears, then the tighly held secrets are revealed. This is a well crafted psychological thriller, written from the POVs of Leslie, Shelby, and Ruth, who suffers a type of OCD and PTSD. The stories weave in and around each other, until it’s all brought together in the final quarter book. The characters were completely credible, and had me feeling actual emo Shelby is 12, and the ‘step’ to her dad Randall, his wife Leslie, and their child Millie, aged 3. Shelby is babysitting one day when Millie disappears, then the tighly held secrets are revealed. This is a well crafted psychological thriller, written from the POVs of Leslie, Shelby, and Ruth, who suffers a type of OCD and PTSD. The stories weave in and around each other, until it’s all brought together in the final quarter book. The characters were completely credible, and had me feeling actual emotions (even a slight tear towards the end), and as a parent myself, facing one’s worst nightmare. It’s not a challenging read, however, it will draw you in so you’re invested in the main and peripheral characters’ lives (even the ones you’ve come to detest). With thanks to netgalley, Bookouture, and the author for a copy for preview.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty Bookworm86

    BLOG TOUR REVIEW Review for 'The Stepchild ' by Nicole Trope. Read and reviewed via NetGalley for Nicole Trope, Bookouture publishers and Bookouture anonymous Publication date 15th March 2022. This is the fourth book I have read by this author. I have previously read 'The Girl Who Never Came Home', 'The Mother's Fault' or 'The Family Across The Street' which I also recommend anyone read. I was originally drawn to this book by its eye catching cover and its intriguing synopsis and title. The synop BLOG TOUR REVIEW Review for 'The Stepchild ' by Nicole Trope. Read and reviewed via NetGalley for Nicole Trope, Bookouture publishers and Bookouture anonymous Publication date 15th March 2022. This is the fourth book I have read by this author. I have previously read 'The Girl Who Never Came Home', 'The Mother's Fault' or 'The Family Across The Street' which I also recommend anyone read. I was originally drawn to this book by its eye catching cover and its intriguing synopsis and title. The synopsis stated that this book is 'Perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell, Liane Moriarty and The Wife Between Us.' I am a huge fan of Lisa Jewell so am looking forward to seeing if this lives up to this statement. I am also a huge fan of Nicole and if this is half as good as 'The Girl Who Never Came Home', 'The Mother's Fault' or 'The Family Across The Street' it is sure to be a page turning read. I must admit I was also biased due to the publisher being Bookouture. I have yet to read a book published by Bookouture that I haven't enjoyed. Hopefully this won't be the first... Watch this space! (Written before I started reading the book). This novel consists of a prologue, 48 chapters, an epilogue and 3 extra chapters. The chapters are short in length so possible to read 'just one more chapter' before bed...OK, I know yeah right, but still just in case! This book is based in Sydney, Australia 🇦🇺. This book is written in a mix of third and first person perspective and the protagonists are Leslie, Shelby and Ruth. The benefits of books written in first person perspective are as long as they are well written it makes you feel that you are being spoken to by the protagonist and it can create more of a bond between yourselves and them. If there are several protagonists you also get to see more of what is going on. The benefits of third person perspective with multiple protagonists are that it let's you see the bigger picture of what's going on and you get to know more characters more, what they are thinking and what they are doing. It feels like you get to see the whole picture and not miss out in anything. To have the benefit of both first and third person perspective ensures you don't miss out on anything. 'The Stepchild' discusses some topics that may trigger some readers or may not be suitable for others. I like to point this out ahead of time in my reviews so you can judge if this book is for you or not. In this book Nicole discusses/includes sexual assault on a child. OMG!!! SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!!! WHAT HAVE I JUST READ!?!?!? Nicole Trope you are a writing legend!!! This book is fantastically written with vivid descriptions that absolutely grip the readers attention and puts them right in the middle of it all feeling the hairs raise on their arms and feeling their heart pounding with Leslie's. This title, cover and synopsis suited it perfectly along with the cover and synopsis. This book has got to be the most heart racing books I've read I a long time, of not ever!!! It had be hook, line and sinker from the first page and I could not put it down!!! Every time I said one more chapter it ended on a cliffhanger and I just had to know what was going on!!! If you are going to read this then clear your day because it is truly unputdownable. I started this this morning and finished it at 2am reading it in one sitting and although I'm knackered today it was 1000000% worth it!!! I loved that you got to see everything that was going on from Leslie, Shelby and Ruth who were all in the centre of it all. There were several red herrings as to what had actually happened but I never did guess right. When I found out I was completely shocked which is a huge achievement as Ive read so many books so it is harder and harder to shock me so another HUGE congratulations Nicole!!! It really does make you think how life can change so quickly and different decisions can change a life. It also makes you think how looks can be deceiving. This book discusses some heartbreaking subjects such as child abuse so please be aware of this before you pick it up. Nicole has written about an absolutely dreadful topic and weaved it perfectly into a heart stopping, page turning novel and by doing this hopefully it will help others discover the signs or step forward and speak about any abuse they have suffered. My heart was in my throat and I was on the edge of my seat throughout reading this. I was completely invested in the storyline and it will stay with me for a long time. This book would make a fantastic movie. I really liked Leslie, Ruth and Shelby from the start and became completely invested in them all. All the characters were realistic, well developed and had strong characteristics and personalities. My heart really went out to each of the main characters for different reasons. Leslie is a mother and stepmother of two young girls and what she went through is a mother's worse nightmare. She didn't only have the hell of a missing child but was also doubting everyone around her at the same time. Shelby is a young girl whose parents have seperated and both have different partners. Shelby was with Millie at the time and holds so much guilt for such a young child. She also suffered tremendously with nobody to speak to and also feeling let down and deceived by the one person who should have been there for her. I absolutely adored Ruth and she is a character who will be remembered for a long time. Ruth went through so much herself as a young girl and it has destroyed her life. I loved her personality and it was intriguing to see how she dealt with her stress. Each of these amazing people came together perfectly to make this heart stopping book. I did absolutely NOT expect that humongous bombshell at all. What an absolute twist!!! I can hand on my heart say that I cannot remember when I was so gobsmacked by a book twist but Nicole you have done just that!!! This book is rammed with suspense and tension and will keep you biting your nails, on the edge of your seat with your heart pounding while your flipping the pages because you just cant stop!! If you read one book on your life, make sure it is this!!!! I would love to see this turned into a movie and Nicole I really hope you are working on your next psychological thriller at this moment because this book will go far!!! A HUGE CONGRATULATIONS on what promises to be a MASSIVE success!!! Overall an absolutely heart racing, nail biting, unputdownable psychological thriller with a bomb shell you will not see coming!!! Genres covered in this novel include Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Coming-Of-Age story, Mystery, Psychological Fiction, Suspense, Noir Fiction, Crime Fiction and Domestic Fiction amongst others. I would recommend this book to the fans of the above as well as fans of Lisa Jewell, 'The Wife Between Us', anyone who has read any of Nicole's previous books AND YOU, YOUR FRIENDS, YOUR FAMILY AND JUST EVERYONE!!! . 276 pages. This book is just 99p to purchase on kindle via Amazon (at time of review) which I think is an absolute bargain for this book!!! Rated 5 /5 (I LOVED it ) on Goodreads, Instagram, Amazon UK and Amazon US and on over 30 Facebook pages plus my blog on Facebook. Feel free to add me on Goodreads or follow me on my website or Facebook for more reviews #TheStepchild #Bookouture #NicoleTrope #NetGalley #BookReview #BlogTour #BooksOnTour @NicoleTrope @Bookouture @Bookworm1986 @bookworm86 https://kcmw86.wixsite.com/bookworm86 https://m.facebook.com/Bookworm1986/?... https://m.facebook.com/Bookwork86/?__...

  19. 5 out of 5

    Courtney (caffeinereadrepeat)

    Blubbering Flibber Giblets! 😳😯🤯 Holy flippin macaroni! I'm just an absolute mess from this novel. My word! I'm suffering major hungover. Ugh my heart! A mothers absolute worst nightmare became reality for Leslie. Leslie just stepped out to go grocery shopping and is on her way home when her step-daughter, twelve year old Shelby calls her panicking that three year old Millie, Leslie's biological daughter, is missing. Shelby was babysitting Millie when she claims she went to the bathroom and Millie Blubbering Flibber Giblets! 😳😯🤯 Holy flippin macaroni! I'm just an absolute mess from this novel. My word! I'm suffering major hungover. Ugh my heart! A mothers absolute worst nightmare became reality for Leslie. Leslie just stepped out to go grocery shopping and is on her way home when her step-daughter, twelve year old Shelby calls her panicking that three year old Millie, Leslie's biological daughter, is missing. Shelby was babysitting Millie when she claims she went to the bathroom and Millie must've ran out the front door. Soon the police are called and a search is underway. What could have happened to Millie? Will she be found? Everyone has secrets - Shelby about what really happened, where Leslie really was, & what about her husband, Randall? A dark random text to Leslie lets her know her husband isn't who she thinks. And how does a woman, Ruth - who suffers from agoraphobia & a traumatic past, play into all of this? Could any or all secrets being held, contribute to Millie's disappearance? My word! The revelations all along this entire journey were endless, heartbreaking and some unforeseen! As difficult as the subject matter was at times, it was so sensitively handled. Well done! The ending was incredible! 🔴 Trigger warning: child molestation Thank you to NetGalley & Bookouture for this ARC. Release date: March 15, 2022 I give this 4 / 5 snowflakes! ❄️

  20. 5 out of 5

    Stina

    ★★★★★ 4.5 stars (rounded up) I am excited to be taking part in the #BooksOnTour #BlogTour for Nicole Trope's heart-wrenching domestic thriller drama THE STEP CHILD. Nicole Trope is hands down one of my favourite go-to authors that I will pick up without even reading the description. Nothing she writes is a disappointment. And there is no such thing as a bad Nicole Trope book. Every thing she has written (that I've read so far) has been emotional, heart-wrenching and yet thrilling at the same time. ★★★★★ 4.5 stars (rounded up) I am excited to be taking part in the #BooksOnTour #BlogTour for Nicole Trope's heart-wrenching domestic thriller drama THE STEP CHILD. Nicole Trope is hands down one of my favourite go-to authors that I will pick up without even reading the description. Nothing she writes is a disappointment. And there is no such thing as a bad Nicole Trope book. Every thing she has written (that I've read so far) has been emotional, heart-wrenching and yet thrilling at the same time. You cannot help but be moved by her stories...and at some point, usually the end, I find myself teary and emotional by the beautiful tale she has woven. It's almost like she has a genre all of her own, a niche she has carved out for herself. She's a little contemporary, a little family drama and a little domestic thriller all rolled into one. But whatever she is, Nicole Trope is a master at her craft. First up, let's meet the main cast of characters around whom this tale is told: Shelby - the stepdaughter. Millie - Shelby's 3 year old half sister. Leslie - Shelby's stepmother and Millie's mother. Randall - Shelby and Millie's father, husband to Leslie. Bianca - Shelby's mother and Randall's ex-wife. Trevor - Shelby's stepfather, married to Bianca. Ruth - a thirty-something recluse, a hoarder with severe OCD and agoraphobia unrelated to the family although their lives will collide over the course of the next twenty four hours. It's the phone call every mother dreads. Leslie has popped to the grocery store leaving her 3 year old daughter Millie in the care of her stepdaughter Shelby for what she had promised would be no more than an hour. Leslie is guiltily aware that she has been longer than that so when the phone rings, Shelby's name flashing up on the display, she answers with her apologies for being so long. But she is cut off by Shelby's tearful cries. "She's gone. Millie's gone!" Leslie rushes home berating herself with overwhelming guilt that she had left the girls for longer than anticipated. Despite being twelve years old, Leslie and Randall had decided that Shelby was old enough to look after her younger sister. Millie adored her older sister, jumping up and down in excitement the moment Shelby arrived from her mum's to spend the weekend with them. And begrudgingly, Shelby actually loved Millie just as much, although sometimes she just wanted to hang out with her bestie rather than babysit a 3 year old. And today, she'd had plans with her friend Kiera to go the shops and hang out when Leslie dropped her request on her. "I'll only be an hour - tops," Leslie promised. But she wasn't; she was longer than that and now Millie was missing. And it was all her fault. She was only upstairs for a second; Millie must have opened the door and wandered off. But as Leslie calls the police, Shelby is terrified. Can she keep the truth hidden? Soon the police are gathered at the Everleigh home, questioning the family and searching the surrounding area. Surely Millie couldn't have gotten far; she was only three after all. Alerts are issued over TV and radio as reporters gather outside the house, waiting for an opportunity to snap a photo or talk to the family whilst inside, Randall and Leslie's world falls apart. They are sure Shelby knows more than she is letting on. She claims that she went upstairs to the bathroom, when there is a perfectly good one downstairs, and that Millie must have opened the door and thus disappeared. Is that what really happened? Or is Shelby hiding something? Added to her worries, Leslie begins receiving messages claiming her husband is not who she thinks he is. What exactly Randall hiding? And then there is Ruth. Thirty-something though older than her years, Ruth is agoraphobic with severe OCD and a secret she has never told anyone. But now she has another secret...and from her house filled with her collections, her safe place, she sees the news about a missing 3 year girl and flies into a panic. In an attempt to keep another innocent, she makes a terrible mistake. What should she do? It's all gone wrong...everything is wrong. You may think you know what is going on but don't be too sure. There are plenty of secrets and no one is immune to them as bit by bit they each begin to unravel. There remains an element of mystery throughout as the reader is left wondering whether Millie is even alive or if something sinister has happened. And just when you think the truth is just around the corner, the story takes another turn leaving you scratching your head once again. I love the three narratives through which the story unfolds - Leslie, Shelby and Ruth. Each woman has their own pieces of the puzzle to contribute as slowly we are given another snippet, another glimpse, another piece as the bigger picture is gradually revealed. The connection between the women is bittersweet and heartbreaking as the significance of THE STEP CHILD becomes clearer as the truth is uncovered. There is intrigue, misdirection, heartache and misconception throughout what is essentially a horrible ordeal for all involved - some in more ways than one. A truly enjoyable read, THE STEP CHILD is another excellent offering by Aussie author Nicole Trope that is tense, heart-pounding and compelling from start to finish. The reasonably short chapters keep things moving at a steady pace throughout. Even the difficult subject matter was handled with expertise and sensitivity. Your heart will break for those whose lives it affected. But the pièce de résistance is the ending. The Epilogue unfolds through four narratives but it is the final one that offers the quintessential coup de grâce. And that is why Nicole Trope is a master of her craft. I would like to thank #NicoleTrope, #NetGalley and #Bookouture for an ARC of #TheStepChild in exchange for an honest review. This review appears on my blog at https://stinathebookaholic.blogspot.com/.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Pole

    The Stepchild by Nicole Trope is another addictive and twisted tale of family secrets and deceptions. Ms Trope has firmly established herself as an unmissable presence in the genres of domestic drama and psychological thriller. When Leslie returns from a trip to the grocery store, she receives the devastating news that is any mother's worst nightmare. Her three year old daughter has gone missing while in the care of Leslie's twelve year old stepdaughter, Shelby. While Shelby claims to have only The Stepchild by Nicole Trope is another addictive and twisted tale of family secrets and deceptions. Ms Trope has firmly established herself as an unmissable presence in the genres of domestic drama and psychological thriller. When Leslie returns from a trip to the grocery store, she receives the devastating news that is any mother's worst nightmare. Her three year old daughter has gone missing while in the care of Leslie's twelve year old stepdaughter, Shelby. While Shelby claims to have only let little Millie out of her sight for mere moments, it quickly becomes clear that the young girl is hiding something, and her story begins to unravel. Furthermore, an ominous message from an unknown sender suggests that Leslie doesn't know her husband as well as she thinks she does. Will the secrets of this family become untangled before it is too late for a child whose life hangs in the balance? Like Ms Trope's previous novels, this one offers up a compelling, superbly executed narrative that will have you on the edge of your seat. 4.5 stars Many thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for an ARC.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Robin Loves Reading

    Twelve-year-old Shelby is watching her three-year-old sister Millie and when her stepmother Leslie arrives home, Shelby devastatingly tells her that Millie s missing. Quite naturally, Leslie is in a panic. Any mother would be. What happened to Millie and what does Shelby and even Leslie have to hide when it comes to such a sad situation Then there is Ruth. She is not connected to the family in any way, but she see something that shocks her to her very core and she struggles to find a way to deal Twelve-year-old Shelby is watching her three-year-old sister Millie and when her stepmother Leslie arrives home, Shelby devastatingly tells her that Millie s missing. Quite naturally, Leslie is in a panic. Any mother would be. What happened to Millie and what does Shelby and even Leslie have to hide when it comes to such a sad situation Then there is Ruth. She is not connected to the family in any way, but she see something that shocks her to her very core and she struggles to find a way to deal with what she saw. This brings a very troubled past right before her. Somehow, she is certain that her past is connected to the disappearance of the little girl. Throughout this sensitive story, we have three points of view. We have Shelby and what she was experiencing and the secret that she had. Then we have Leslie, a mother whose possibly bad decision might have something to do with Millie’s disappearance. Lastly, we have Ruth. with her utterly sad story. There is no way that I can continue with this review without issuing a trigger warning regarding childhood sexual abuse. As a victim of said abuse, I really struggled with these passages. While hoping that Millie would be returned home safe, this content seemed unlikely to be resolved in the pages of this book. This compelling story was delivered with excellent pacing and incredibly dramatic scenes while resulting in a riveting conclusion. Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

  23. 5 out of 5

    haze_books

    I enjoyed the idea of this story and i feel like it would of been better as a short story because there was a lot of repitition and i feel like a lot of that is unneeded The charcters were all quite self obsessed which becomes annoying and unbelivable when there are parents involved. The conclution was good with good twist but felt a little rushed seeming they used other chapters to repeat unneeded info

  24. 4 out of 5

    Allem21

    Featured presentation: The Stepchild by Nicole Trope Children should be safe – always… Cast: Leslie – wife, mother, home maker, discontent, guarding a secret. Shelby – child, stepchild, sister, unhappy, guarding a secret. Ruth – woman, daughter, alone, scared, guarding a secret. The Plot: Three year old Millie has disappeared. As the search for Millie commences, the people close to her guard their secrets. As the search for Millie continues, the people close to her start to bare their secrets. Will Featured presentation: The Stepchild by Nicole Trope Children should be safe – always… Cast: Leslie – wife, mother, home maker, discontent, guarding a secret. Shelby – child, stepchild, sister, unhappy, guarding a secret. Ruth – woman, daughter, alone, scared, guarding a secret. The Plot: Three year old Millie has disappeared. As the search for Millie commences, the people close to her guard their secrets. As the search for Millie continues, the people close to her start to bare their secrets. Will it bring Millie back? Or will it only tear broken people further apart? The blazing: The story is told from three perspectives: Leslie, the mother; Shelby, the sister; Ruth, a stranger. Leslie and Shelby’s POV is told in the third person, but Ruth’s is written in the first person. This gives us a broad view as things slowly unfolds and keeps us guessing all the same. Ms Trope gives each character a unique voice. These three start out as strangers to the reader and within a couple of short chapters, we become completely engrossed in their fates… The time frame was perfect for the topic. The whole book takes place within just over twelve hours. We feel the family’s pain, but it is not prolonged beyond necessary. We follow each of the three main characters as they deal with their secrets and fears almost in real time. The bright: The fragile threads of family bonds are woven into the story, becoming more and more apparent as the tragedy unfolds. Leslie is the fierce lioness willing to do whatever it takes to get her daughter back, even if it damages her relationship with her husband. Shelby is caught between her love for her sister and hurting the person closest to her. Ruth is stuck at home with her memories of her mother and grandmother – the past her ever-present companion. I’m usually in favour of a short epilogue – just tie the last couple of loose ends together in a neat bow and away we go. Ms Trope blew me away with the epilogue! She didn’t just provide the perfect ending, but she managed to effortlessly further the three main characters’ development to the point where I would like to see more of each (and I mean a whole book for each). Millie! We get to see a bit of her from her mother and sister’s memories and she is such a doll!!! The bleak: Some of the secrets, especially Leslie’s felt a tad forced. I understand the need for it in the overall scheme and her reasons. The conflict between her and her husband that followed was a bit watered down and almost ignored next to their grief for Millie… The burned-to-ashes: Nothing. And then The Plot Thickens and one simply cannot put the book down until all the questions have been answered: The “how?”s, the “why?”s and of course “will Millie come home?” As the book progresses and more information comes to light, the plot sickens as you realise that this can easily be reality, your reality… The Stepchild shouldn’t be explained, it should be experienced! And then it should be remembered as cautionary tale while you protect your loved ones the best you can… Studio: Bookouture Closing credits: I willingly leave this review based on an eARC copy graciously granted to me by Bookouture and NetGalley. <

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mandie (allbookedout_with_mj)

    Another fast paced, page turning read full of suspense to keep the reader guessing by author Nicole Trope! After reading The Family Across the Street by this author, I was keen to read more of her and I am not left disappointed! The Stepchild is a psychological thriller based on every parent’s nightmare, a missing child. Told in multiple POV’S with characters who have secrets and come across untrustworthy. It will draw you in and hold your attention! No parent ever wants to hear their child has g Another fast paced, page turning read full of suspense to keep the reader guessing by author Nicole Trope! After reading The Family Across the Street by this author, I was keen to read more of her and I am not left disappointed! The Stepchild is a psychological thriller based on every parent’s nightmare, a missing child. Told in multiple POV’S with characters who have secrets and come across untrustworthy. It will draw you in and hold your attention! No parent ever wants to hear their child has gone missing and Leslie was no different when she is told her three year old daughter Millie is missing. Leslie went out to the supermarket and left Millie with her twelve year old stepdaughter, Shelby. Returning home after being longer than she had said she would be, Millie is gone and Shelby insists she only left for a second to go upstairs to the bathroom. But Millie is keeping secrets! Does she know more than she is letting on? Leslie has her own secrets too... Why was she at the supermarket for double the time she said she would be? As the truth unfolds, will it be too late to find Millie and the biggest question... Will she still be alive? .

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Feinen

    Nicole Trope just gets better. Wow. We all have those moments - if I had just taken a moment longer. If I had just changed my plans. One decision creating lasting impacts. Shelby babysits her 3 yo sister while her stepmom goes grocery store. Things were great - until Kiera, Shelby's friend. Randall, the dad, is on the golf course schmoozing clients. Leslie, stepmom to Shelby and mom to Millie, goes shopping but first has a meeting. Shelby's lies are choking her. Leslie's terror overtaking her li Nicole Trope just gets better. Wow. We all have those moments - if I had just taken a moment longer. If I had just changed my plans. One decision creating lasting impacts. Shelby babysits her 3 yo sister while her stepmom goes grocery store. Things were great - until Kiera, Shelby's friend. Randall, the dad, is on the golf course schmoozing clients. Leslie, stepmom to Shelby and mom to Millie, goes shopping but first has a meeting. Shelby's lies are choking her. Leslie's terror overtaking her life. And Ruth- terrified to leave the comfort of her collections. Great exploration of people, lies, and stress. Who are we really?

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nicki

    The chapters of this addictive, realistically plotted story of every parent's worst nightmare and the good and bad sides of human nature are written from the perspectives of three relatable females, Leslie, her step-daughter Shelby and a older lady called Ruth. It's a emotionally charged tale of a variety of parenting styles with a plot that covers a wide range of relatable issues and builds in speed and intensity as the story works its way towards its heart string pulling conclusion. Leslie's n The chapters of this addictive, realistically plotted story of every parent's worst nightmare and the good and bad sides of human nature are written from the perspectives of three relatable females, Leslie, her step-daughter Shelby and a older lady called Ruth. It's a emotionally charged tale of a variety of parenting styles with a plot that covers a wide range of relatable issues and builds in speed and intensity as the story works its way towards its heart string pulling conclusion. Leslie's nightmare begins when she receives a call on her mobile from Shelby who had been babysitting Leslie's three year old daughter Millie informing her that the little girl had mysteriously disappeared. After Leslie had rushed home from town to the luxurious house that she shared with her millionaire husband Randall, she is shocked to discover that the front door is open and Millie is nowhere in the house. Randall is informed and returns home from the golf course and the police arrive at the house and introduce themselves as Constables Dickerson and Willows.As Shelby begins to recount the events leading up to her discovering that Millie was gone, Leslie is convinced that her step-daughter is lying. Is her suspicious mind justified or were Leslie's doubts due to her guilty conscious over her own secrets. Why did she insist on leaving little Millie with a child who was below the legal age for babysitting? Why was Leslie in town for longer than she had originally stated to Shelby? Although,as a parent myself, I did feel some empathy towards Leslie due to the fact that her young daughter was missing, I can't say that I initially thought she was a very likeable individual but I admit that my opinion of her had changed by the conclusion of the story. Shelby was a realistic twelve year old who had planned to meet up with her best friend from school Kiera and didn't want to spend her Saturday babysitting her little step-sister. Now Kiera had found herself caught in a nightmare world of suspicious adults whilst struggling with her feelings of guilt and regret and harbouring her own secrets. What had happened after Leslie had left the house? Was Shelby somehow involved in Millie's disappearance? Who was sending Shelby threatening text messages on her mobile phone? I thought that the author's characterisation of Ruth and her various issues were realistic and relatable and that her backstory was heart breaking and unfortunately all too believable and based in reality. Ruth was a fantastic character but how did this deeply traumatised individual fit into the story of little Millie's disappearance? Omg, wow.....just wow, there are not enough superlatives in the English dictionary to express how much I loved this incredible thriller. I was hooked into the story from the first page and found myself so captivated by the unfolding story that I was compelled to read the whole book in one sitting. The author takes the reader on a roller coaster ride with multiple twists and turns that culminates with a nail biting, seriously chilling epilogue. The story caused me to experience a wide range of conflicting emotions and even caused me to experience a lump in my throat which is something that doesn't happen to me very often. I think that Nicole Thrope has excelled her own very high standards of writing with this latest addition to her catalogue of emotionally charged stories. If I could I would award The Step Child far more than five stars. This is definitely one of my favourite reads of this year so far and very very highly recommended by little old me.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Brittany Cook

    An excellent book by Nicole Trope! The story starts right at the beginning with Millie, a sweet and loving 3-year-old going missing. I was hooked right at the start, desperate to know what happened while the mother, Leslie, was out running errands and how her stepdaughter, Shelby, would just let Millie run away. As the story progresses, so many truths are revealed, and you realize that nothing is as it seems. The ending was so well put together and the very last POV in the epilogue really drove An excellent book by Nicole Trope! The story starts right at the beginning with Millie, a sweet and loving 3-year-old going missing. I was hooked right at the start, desperate to know what happened while the mother, Leslie, was out running errands and how her stepdaughter, Shelby, would just let Millie run away. As the story progresses, so many truths are revealed, and you realize that nothing is as it seems. The ending was so well put together and the very last POV in the epilogue really drove it home. I’m rating this book as 4.5 stars, which rounds up to 5 on goodreads! A big thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture, and Nicole Trope for allowing me to read this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    I used to stay away from missing children books but this is the third I’ve read this year. This grabbed me from the very beginning and I love when a book does that. It didn’t drag much like others have. I was enraptured by the mystery and finding out what really happened. I definitely recommend this.

  30. 4 out of 5

    marnie | once upon a time book reviews

    “When a child goes missing…No one is safe from suspicion…” Holy… what an absolute emotional rollercoaster this book is! My heart is racing again as I write this review! A brilliant read, this is my favourite of Nicole Tropes books yet and I can’t recommend this one highly enough! A tale of every parents worst nightmare, Trope vividly paints a harrowing picture of what it would feel like to have your child go missing. I found myself in our leads shoes and feeling her pain and terror, but there is s “When a child goes missing…No one is safe from suspicion…” Holy… what an absolute emotional rollercoaster this book is! My heart is racing again as I write this review! A brilliant read, this is my favourite of Nicole Tropes books yet and I can’t recommend this one highly enough! A tale of every parents worst nightmare, Trope vividly paints a harrowing picture of what it would feel like to have your child go missing. I found myself in our leads shoes and feeling her pain and terror, but there is so much more to this story that really pulls on the heartstrings and had me at times in tears. Beautifully written, there are difficult themes explored in this story, but they are handled with sensitivity. The characters are well developed and feel real and the whole story just got under my skin. It is definitely memorable and one that will stay with me for a long time to come. Thank you to Nicole Trope, Bookouture and NetGalley for allowing me to read an advanced copy of The Stepchild, which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. Where you can find me 😊 💻 Blog: bit.ly/3gR3io8 👩‍🏫 Facebook: bit.ly/3gVeC2B 🐤Twitter: bit.ly/3BQk2Dl 📷 Instagram: bit.ly/3wSv0Gj 📌 Pinterest: bit.ly/3vS2HGX 📚 Goodreads: bit.ly/3wQxUM3

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