Book Review: The Only Child by Kayte Nunn

About the Book:

A decades-old crime threatens to tear apart three generations of women in this unputdownable mystery that will keep you gripped until its last heart-wrenching page.

1949 It is the coldest winter Orcades Island has ever known, when a pregnant sixteen-year-old arrives at Fairmile, a home for ‘fallen women’ run by the Catholic Church. She and her baby will disappear before the snow melts.

2013 Frankie Gray has come to the island for the summer, hoping for one last shot at reconnecting with her teenage daughter, Izzy, before starting a job as a deputy sheriff. They are staying with her mother, Diana, at The Fairmile Inn, soon to be a boutique hotel, but when an elderly nun is found dead in suspicious circumstances, and then a tiny skeleton is discovered in the grounds of the house, Frankie is desperate for answers.

At once an evocative, unsettling tale of past misdeeds and a crime thriller that will have you reading with your heart in your mouth, The Only Child is compulsively addictive storytelling from the international bestselling author of The Silk House.

Published by Hachette Australia

Released 31st August 2022

My Thoughts:

Kayte Nunn’s latest release has everything we have come to know and love about her writing but with the added dimension of a contemporary crime and a decades old mystery tying the story threads together. Kayte Nunn is one of those authors who could have ‘guaranteed good read’ on the front of every release and it would be one hundred percent true. She knows story, she knows characters, and she knows how to mesh the two together to make an incredible novel, every single time. I picked up The Only Child at the busy end of my working week, but I still flew through it each night, reading well past my bedtime.

I think what makes this novel work so well is the relatability of it. I could relate to Frankie as a parent of a teenage girl, balancing firmness with fairness, whilst also juggling all the balls, second guessing yourself within your career, and trying to centre yourself for your own wellbeing. The storyline of the Fairmile girls was so heart-breaking and affecting. I have read about forced adoptions before in previous novels, but this was a new take on it and I appreciated the balance between fact and fiction that Kayte applied to the topic. I absolutely loved the four generations of women being represented within this family and the feminist thread running through the story. So much sadness giving way to hope. There was still an element of mystery by the end of the story that remained unsolved, but I actually liked that, the realism of it, that sometimes, we just don’t ever find out what has happened to someone.

It goes without saying that I highly recommend The Only Child. Fans of Kayte Nunn will be more than satisfied with this new release and readers who have not yet had the pleasure should find this one a terrific introduction to her work. This one was a five star read for me. A great one for book clubs!

Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Only Child by Kayte Nunn

  1. Glad to see you enjoyed this one. I thought it was going to be a great read, but didn’t end up requesting a review copy this time, figuring if I receive one unsolicited, I’ll read it then. I’ve enjoyed Kayte Nunn’s novels in the past, but part of the mystery being left unresolved in this one piqued my interest. I can’t stand that and usually don’t enjoy an ambiguous ending either ๐Ÿ˜†

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahhh, fair enough, although the main mystery was solved, in both eras, there was just a another side mystery left dangling in the wind, but it was one of those things that no one could ever know, so to me, leaving it that way seemed realistic. I still think you’d have liked this one!


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