Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan is an intense and intriguing read with a multitude of questionable but believable characters and a stark moral dilemma running throughout. I love Vaughan’s writing style and will definitely keep reading her books in the future, however I am not sure this one quite hit the mark for me as her first novel did.
In Little Disasters, we follow Jess, a stay-at-home mum whose baby girl has a head injury. She takes her to the emergency room five hours after the fact, raising suspicions and eyebrows all round, including her friend Liz’s. Liz is a paediatrician who is first on call to the little girl’s aid, and she reluctantly calls in the senior paediatrician and the police, as the case begins to be treated as a potential crime. During the rest of the book, we see how Jess’ life is on a day-to-day basis as the perfect mother. We watch her guard slip and start to question ourselves whether Jess could have really hurt her child.
Honestly, I really enjoyed the first 75% of this novel. I found it to be well-crafted, intriguing and salacious. Vaughan builds the story and the readers’ suspicions incredibly well and it makes you wonder if all parents have dark thoughts sometimes. I found myself eager to hear the perspectives of both Jess and Liz, and rather enjoyed the insight into Liz’s past that is delivered.
However, from 75-85% ish, the book started to drag a little, as certain things were repeated over and again, and Jess was looking more and more suspicious. At this point, I felt that the book should have started the proper reveals, but they didn’t come until much later in the book, making the last 15% feel rushed to get all three reveals out there before the end of the narrative. This made it feel as though the real perpetrator was added in for shock value, and wasn’t as well conceived an idea as the first reveal suggested. Personally, I would have left it at the first reveal, as it made more sense and didn’t have any striking plot holes in it, where as I would say the final reveal did.
Overall, I did enjoy the majority of this book, however the rushed feeling of the last 15% of the novel, and all of the reveals made it difficult to believe and therefore I give this book a solid 3.5*. Vaughan is a great author and I can’t wait to see what she does next, I just hope her reveals are a little more strategic in the future. Thank you Simon and Schuster and NetGalley for my e-arc.