cover image Little Disasters

Little Disasters

Sarah Vaughan. Atria/Bestler, $17 trade paper (432p) ISBN 978-1-5011-7222-9

Jess Curtis, stay-at-home mother of three, the heroine of this heartbreaking family drama set in London from Vaughan (Anatomy of a Scandal), appears to have her life together, but the birth 10 months earlier of her daughter, Betsey, has pushed her over the edge. As Jess strains to get through each day, she worries that she may physically harm her baby yet keeps her feelings secret. When Jess rushes Betsey to the emergency room one night, her story—and the baby’s injuries—raise suspicion among the hospital staff, especially her best friend, Liz Trenchard, who’s the senior resident in pediatrics at the hospital. Jess’s mental state unravels as social workers and police get involved, and her friends and husband wonder whether she did harm Betsey. The brisk plot gracefully touches on postpartum depression, female friendships, and the difficulties of parenting. Unfortunately, a second finale feels contrived and drags out an otherwise solid story. Fans of domestic suspense who don’t mind a minimum of bloodshed will be satisfied. Agent: Lizzy Kremer, David Higham Assoc. (Aug.)