Frances Fyfield The Playroom: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9780062304964

The Playroom: A Novel

2.97 avg rating
( 31 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780062304964: The Playroom: A Novel

An unforgettable psychological thriller reminiscent of Emma Donoghue's Room and V. C. Andrews' Flowers in the Attic

Katherine and David have the perfect life: they are beautiful, rich, debonair, and gifted. But cracks begin to form beneath the smooth exterior when David suspects that one of their two children is not his. There is no other reason why chubby, petulant Jeanetta does not conform to David's standards of perfection and order.

Soon, David's mood swings become more violent and irrational. In an attempt to exercise some control over his world, he sends Jeanetta to the playroom . . . and locks the door. With harrowing precision, Fyfield tells the story of a family's descent into madness.

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About the Author:

Frances Fyfield has spent much of her professional life practicing as a criminal lawyer, work that has informed her highly acclaimed novels. She has been the recipient of both the Gold and Silver Crime Writers' Association Daggers. She is also a regular broadcaster on Radio 4, most recently as the presenter of the series Tales from the Stave. She lives in London and in Deal, overlooking the sea, which is her passion.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Hegarty, better known under her pseudonym of Frances Fyfield (A Question of Guilt, 1989, etc.), shows in clinical detail how an apparently model husband and father could kill his young daughter by slow abuse, all without interference from his wife or anyone else. After a gratuitously harrowing prologue snapshot of four-year-old Jeanetta Allendale in extremis, starving to death in her locked playroom, the novel goes back to show the seeds of discord in her charming architect father David's lavish devotion to his son Jeremy and his complete ascendancy over his fragile, childlike, conflict- shunning wife Katherine--he cleans their house obsessively, picks out all her clothes (and discards whatever she buys on her own), pinches her pin-money from her purse, and monitors her relations with her London world so closely that it's a snap to pry her loose from her job, her neighbors, and finally Jeanetta (whom he's convinced isn't his child anyway, she's so big and blond and irrepressible). Katherine's tragically porous support system--her sister Mary (who inherited Katherine's last lover), her mother-in-law Sophie (herself the victim of an abusive husband, naturally), Jeanetta's kindly but rough-hewn nanny Eileen Harrison, her friends Jenny, Susan, and Monica, and frustrated social-worker John Mills--all share, whatever their own vices, a foolish innocence, an exasperating openness to deception that recalls Ruth Rendell at her cruelest. But the woolliness of the principals' self-absorbed monologues--a far cry from the arrowlike trajectory of Rendell's Judgment in Stone--imparts a distinctively realistic edge of horror to this desperately depressing story. Nobody will finish this painful novel unmoved. Many readers, though, won't be able to finish it at all. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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