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Extended Audio Sample The Childs Child: A Novel Audiobook, by Barbara Vine Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (686 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Barbara Vine Narrator: Sarah Coomes Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2012 ISBN: 9781469276069
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When their grandmother dies, Grace and Andrew Easton inherit her sprawling, book-filled London home, Dinmont House. Rather than sell it, the adult siblings move in together, splitting the numerous bedrooms and studies. The arrangement is unusual, but ideal for the affectionate pair — until the day Andrew brings home a new boyfriend. A devilishly handsome novelist, James Derain resembles Cary Grant, but his strident comments about Grace’s doctoral thesis soon puncture the house’s idyllic atmosphere. When he and Andrew witness their friend’s murder outside a London nightclub, James begins to unravel, and what happens next will change the lives of everyone in the house. Just as turmoil sets in at Dinmont House, Grace escapes into reading a manuscript — a long-lost novel from 1951 called The Child’s Child — never published because of its frank depictions of an unwed mother and a homosexual relationship. The book is the story of two siblings born a few years after World War One. This brother and sister, John and Maud, mirror the present-day Andrew and Grace: a homosexual brother and a sister carrying an illegitimate child. Acts of violence and sex will reverberate through their stories. The Child’s Child is an enormously clever, brilliantly constructed novel-within-a-novel about family, betrayal, and disgrace. A master of psychological suspense, Ruth Rendell, in her newest work under the pseudonym Barbara Vine, takes us where violence and social taboos collide. She shows how society’s treatment of those it once considered undesirable has changed — and how sometimes it hasn’t. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “In the hands of Vine, otherwise known as Ruth Rendell, the book-within-a-book strategy evolves into something infinitely more intricate—a sinister, constantly shifting Rubik’s Cube of motives, betrayals, and violence. ”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Vine vividly conjures the high price paid by social outcasts, even in our own supposedly enlightened age.”


  • “A study of taboos of the past and the growing tolerance of the present—except when open-mindedness is absent—The Child’s Child encompasses darkness and light—and simultaneously offers diverting fiction with thought-provoking but never preachy purpose.”

    Richmond Times Dispatch

  • “Just a cracking good read.”

    Charlotte Observer

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Robin | 2/19/2014

    " A quick read, and although generally I like the novella within a novel approach, I found this combo somewhat annoying. I can't tell you more without giving away too much, but I expected there to be more symmetry between the two tales than I was able to discern. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathy | 2/17/2014

    " Really two and a half stars, but I rounded up. A story within a story. A sister sharing a house with a homosexual brother becomes pregnant by the brother's lover and then reads a story about an unwed sister in a pretend marriage to a homosexual brother some 70-some years earlier. The story within the story was fairly engaging, but the two stories didn't ever really come together for me. Although the book led me to believe that the two stories would meld, the unwed sister in the earlier book was unlikeable with little insight or sympathy for her brother. Ended abruptly and the main story was totally unsatisfactory. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Linnet | 2/14/2014

    " The bulk of the book is The Child's Child which has been given to Grace to read. Grace is pregnant by her brother's lover. The book that she reads is about a 15 year old girl who becomes pregnant (in 1937) and whose homosexual brother moves with her to another town and they pose as a married couple and raise the little girl as their own. The book is an unusual vehicle by which to compare the way cultural attitudes towards homosexuality and single parenthood have changed over 80 years or so. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pmcdnld2 | 1/26/2014

    " Very interesting book within a book-both dealing with unwed mothers and homosexual men-in the 1940's and the present. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rena | 1/19/2014

    " The story in the present is wrapped up pretty quickly, almost too quickly, but the book read in the story was good. I thought it was interesting that the sympathetic female character (in the past) becomes quite unpleasant. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nancy Mulder | 1/16/2014

    " Barbara Vine is awesome! But this one was not up to her usual. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Normanjones54 | 1/12/2014

    " No comment on this book. I am still thinking about it. As always beautifully written by Barbara Vine/Ruth Rendell. Would welcome readers input. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Maryann Cole | 1/10/2014

    " This is actually 2.5 for me. It was OK, while some parts were compelling, it just didnt do anything for me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Terri Robinson | 12/24/2013

    " great book. kept me hooked til end "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Catherine | 12/10/2013

    " I couldn't finish this. A rare dull effort. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Debbie | 12/7/2013

    " I don't know why critics call this plot within a plot ingenious. It is not, and it is contrived. I cared little for any of the characters and felt the interior plot much too long and drawn out. So much more could have been made of the parallels to make this an interesting novel. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathie | 12/4/2013

    " Meh. The plot within a plot seemed a little contrived and the whole thing was rather predictable. I liked her earlier books as Barbara Vine better. This wasn't as edgy. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Michelle | 12/3/2013

    " a novel in a novel, where the characters seem to be the same. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Joseph Broom | 11/4/2013

    " I agree with a reviewer on Amazon: What was the point? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa | 10/5/2013

    " The technique of a novel within a novel is interesting, but because the tone of the two works is so similar, it ultimately failed for me. I wish more attention had been paid to the two distinct stories and that a unique voice was created for each work. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 KamakuraKate | 8/3/2013

    " Not one of her best, but OK.I had the feeling that she started out trying something and sort of gave up. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carol Roth | 7/18/2013

    " Compelling narrative; moves inexorably forward on a tidal wave of cultural conventions and a refusal to transgress their bounds. Especially captivated by the novel within the novel. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Donna | 5/17/2013

    " I know I say that every book I love is extraordinary but this one is. the book within a book the characters Great "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leigh | 3/30/2013

    " Reading Rendell/Vine is always a pleasure. I liked the story within a story, each one mirroring societal prejudice toward gays and women during two different periods. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Terry | 12/5/2012

    " Very slow start. Liked the embedded story better. Ending was abrupt and I didn't really see the relationship within the 2 sets of characters being developed. "

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About the Author
Author Barbara Vine

Barbara Vine is a pseudonym for Ruth Rendell, who has won numerous awards, including three Edgars, the highest accolade from Mystery Writers of America, as well as three Gold Daggers, a Silver Dagger, and a Diamond Dagger for outstanding contribution to the genre from England’s prestigious Crime Writer’s Association. A member of the House of Lords, she lives in London.

About the Narrator

Sarah Coomes trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and spent three blissful years there, learning how to cry, speak Shakespeare, and stage fight like a tiger. She is a comedienne and an actress, appearing in numerous television shows in England, including a recurring role as Nurse Leonard in the popular series EastEnders. She won the 2008 Westminster Prize for her play Hookie and an AudioFile Earphones Award for her narration of The Unforgotten Coat by Frank Cottrell Boyce in 2011.