Book Review: The Foster Family by Nicole Trope

Title: The Foster Famiily
Author: Nicole Trope
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Rating: 3,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon

In their holiday home, a stone’s throw from the beach, Elizabeth dials the police with trembling hands. ‘My little boy, he’s missing.’

Elizabeth is Joe’s foster mother, but she loves him like her own. The five-year-old, who adores superheroes and watching the birds outside, is the child she has dreamed of. As she looks into the garden, where he was playing just moments ago, her heart feels like it has been ripped from her chest.

She was meant to save Joe from his birth mother who almost harmed his chances at life. The woman who has been trying to desperately get him back.

She was meant to protect Joe from her husband. The man who, right now, lies to the police, saying he was making breakfast when Joe disappeared. Who squeezes her shoulder, ordering her to be quiet.

She was meant to look after Joe. They are just footsteps from the ocean, and little Joe can’t swim.

Then Joe’s tiny blue sandal is found in the water. If the worst has happened – the unimaginable – Elizabeth will never forgive herself. Because what if the secret she has been keeping for years, the guilt eating her alive, has somehow hurt her little boy?

It’s time to tell the truth – even if it means losing the child who is her whole world. Even if it could be the death of her.


In The Foster Family, Elizabeth dials the police to inform them that her son has gone missing, little Joe. Joe is in fact her foster son, and Elizabeth and her husband Howard have gone to a holiday house near the beach to relax and enjoy some quality time with their little family of three.

Told in multiple POVs, the reader soon uncovers that there’s more to this family than meets the eye and that things between Howard and Elizabeth aren’t as great as they initially appear. Each chapter pulls back layer upon layer of this mystery, recalling the events leading up to the day when Joe went missing, intermixed with chapters of the police’s frantic search for Joe.

First, the good. The characterization is well done, and each character feels three-dimensional and fully fleshed out, in particular Elizabeth, Howard and Gordon. The author’s descriptions of the illness tormenting Gordon was at times heart-breaking, but they seemed to be a spot-on description of how it feels to deal with dementia. The writing in general is solid, and the plot has enough twists to be entertaining.

Now, the bad. The pacing. I found this book to be such an incredibly slow read, it felt like the plot was crawling along. Something happened, then there were a few pages filled with details about the events, or the characters’ thoughts about it, and so on. It was also repetitive at times, and honestly I just wanted the plot to move along faster.

Despite that, I did enjoy it, and I’ll definitely pick up one of the author’s other books in the future. There’s information about her other books in the back matter, and she already has an impressive bibliography it seems.

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