The Golden Child

A Novel

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About The Book

A finalist for the 2017 Ned Kelly Award 

For readers of Zoje Stage's Baby Teeth, a gripping psychological thriller that asks the question: Can a child be born evil?


Beth Mahony is a stay-at-home mother of two daughters, Lucy and Charlotte. She’s also a blogger, whose alter ego, Lizzie, paints a picture of a busy, happy life. Originally from Australia, Beth and her family have lived in New Jersey for ten years. When an opportunity to relocate to Australia arises, the Mahonys decide to return to their native country. The move comes at the perfect time: Charlotte, the youngest daughter, has been accused of being the ringleader of a clique of girls whose dangerous initiation rites leave a child in hospital.

In Newcastle, Lucy and Charlotte attend a prestigious all-girls school, and Beth and her husband gradually settle into their new life. The almost immediately popular Charlotte is thrust back into the spotlight when she is blamed for bullying a classmate to the point of suicide. With Charlotte refusing to take the blame, the bullied child’s parents seeking retribution, and her husband and mother-in-law doubting Charlotte’s innocence, Beth is forced to examine her children's actions critically—at a heartbreaking cost.

The Golden Child tells the story of two families’ heartbreaking realization that there are no guarantees when it comes to parenting. The novel grapples with modern-day specters of selfies, selfishness, and cyber bullying to expose the complex anxieties of the female psyche.

About The Author

Wendy James is the author of seven novels, including The Mistake, an Australian bestseller. Her debut novel, Out of the Silence, won the 2006 Ned Kelly Award for first crime novel, and was shortlisted for the Nita May Dobbie Award for women's writing. She has a PhD from the University of New England and works as an editor at the Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Macquarie University. Wendy lives in New South Wales, Australia with her husband and two of their four children.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Skyhorse (October 2, 2018)
  • Length: 352 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781510737914

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Raves and Reviews

"James makes her thrilling mark in women’s fiction with this intense and chilling American debut, offering an in-depth look at motherhood and bullying.Booklist, starred review

"A wonderful, unputdownable story by a great Australian author"--Liane Moriarty, author of Big Little Lies

"The Golden Child by Wendy James is a next-level thriller that brims with dark surprises and unforgettable characters. Told with pitch-perfect pacing and unrelenting tension, James explores the darkest corners of the human heart in this bone-chilling must read novel of the year. Clear your calendar - you'll want to read this one straight through."—Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times best selling author of The Weight of Silence and Not a Sound

"This is domestic noir at its most intelligent and sharp"—Sydney Morning Herald/The Age

“It takes 48 hours to pulse through Wendy James' rollercoaster 21st century about parenting”—Australian Women's Weekly

"The suspense author's seventh novel, The Golden Child, deals with a conscientious mum's greatest fear --raising a bully in the digital age"—Who Weekly

"a gripping psychological thriller"—Courier-Mail

"This an engaging and intimate read . . . 4 Stars"—Australian Bookseller and Publisher

"A wonderful, unputdownable story by a great Australian author"--Liane Moriarty, author of Big Little Lies

"The Golden Child by Wendy James is a next-level thriller that brims with dark surprises and unforgettable characters. Told with pitch-perfect pacing and unrelenting tension, James explores the darkest corners of the human heart in this bone-chilling must read novel of the year. Clear your calendar - you'll want to read this one straight through." -- Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times best selling author of The Weight of Silence and Not a Sound
"This is domestic noir at its most intelligent and sharp"--Sydney Morning Herald/The Age

“It takes 48 hours to pulse through Wendy James' rollercoaster 21st century about parenting”--Australian Women's Weekly

"The suspense author's seventh novel, The Golden Child, deals with a conscientious mum's greatest fear --raising a bully in the digital age" --Who Weekly

"a gripping psychological thriller"--Courier-Mail

"This an engaging and intimate read . . . 4 Stars"--Australian Bookseller and Publisher

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