Week 1 Book Lovers Unite Discussion: Hush Little Baby by Suzanne Redfearn

hush little baby

Photo Credit: Goodreads

 

It’s here! It’s time! This is Week 1 Discussion of Hush Little Baby by Suzanne Redfearn.

Some guidelines:

Each week (on Friday) new questions will be posted. We’ll only discuss what happens in the book during the pages designated for that week’s reading. Please know you can read ahead or stick with the group or play catch-up (just #nospoilers please!)

You don’t have to answer all the questions! Just answer the ones you want! And feel free to ask questions (if there is not something that I covered!)

Lastly, just have fun! Because if it’s not fun- it’s not worth it. #truthoftheday

To see the reading schedule, visit here.

Week 1 Questions

1. “We look like the perfect family and I’m happy to pretend.” Jillian, page 1. What does this statement tell us as readers? Did it give you a tingle of nervousness about what was to happen in the next 300+ pages?

2. Gordon is a police officer. How does Gordon’s career work against Jillian? Are wives of police officers almost always doomed in this kind of situation (if their husband is abusive?)

3. Jillian is smart. She’s confident in her work environment. Jillian is not confident as a mother, though. How does Gordon use her fears and perceived shortcomings against her?

4. “I can’t handle what I have” is a theme that runs through Hush Little Baby. What does this mean? Do you ever wonder about Jillian’s state of mind as she repeats this?

5. When Gordon speaks of Jillian’s temper to a friend- Jillian is shocked.  What was Gordon’s goal?

6. Jillian tells her friend Connor about the abuse. After seeing the bruises, though, Connor has a harder time believing her story (though he still supports her).  How does Jillian’s vanity tie her hands when it comes to Gordon?

7. This week I want you to think about what you would do if you were in Jillian’s place. You don’t have to post (if it’s not something you want to share). Our last discussion will have a question about has your opinion changed (in any way) after reading the book?

 

Thank you for joining in! Be sure and tell your mama, your book loving friends and anyone else!

 

12 thoughts on “Week 1 Book Lovers Unite Discussion: Hush Little Baby by Suzanne Redfearn

  1. I agree, Suzy, let’s discuss!
    1. Yes, it makes me very nervous that Jillian is pretending to be part of a happy family. The fact that she’s so private, not especially popular, and sometimes comes across as the crazy one makes me fear for her! Who’s going to be her ally, take the witness stand, corroborate her story when the time comes?

    2. This reminds me of the Drew Peterson case several years ago, a police sergeant whose wife went missing. Like physicians, or most any profession, I think the tendency is to protect their colleagues. This is especially frightening in the case of a law enforcer and does not bode well for Jillian (though I do believe Peterson was eventually convicted!).

    3. I thought the scene at the pool was especially moving. Jillian’s insecurity and guilt lead her to believe the other mothers (all of whom adore Gordon) are judging her poor parenting skills. She then goes overboard, making herself look crazy, to get a proper greeting from her daughter. Gordon, meanwhile, is the picture of stability and sanity.

    4. I think she’s being honest, and that’s what I love about this character. Jillian is complicated. She knows her strengths and acknowledges her weaknesses. The fact that she is so self-aware, that she carries such guilt, seems very real and makes me sympathetic toward her.

    5. That wily bastard is trying to make Jillian look like the crazy, out of control spouse. Makes me furious!

    6. She wants to have that perfect family–or at least look as if she has it. She also likes parts of Gordon–like the way he admires her profession, his gift of the bracelet from Nordstrom. Me? I’d toss that bracelet in the garbage…or at least that’s what I THINK I’d do. That’s the beauty of a story like this. We don’t know what we’d do in Jillian’s shoes, but we like to think we’d be bold and fearless. I think Jillian is right when she says fear is paralyzing.

    • 1. Jillian, through design of her own and through Gordon’s actions, really didn’t have anyone. Even the time or 2 where she did have a potential woman friend speak to her at the first part of the book- she either couldn’t or wouldn’t reach out further to make the connection. And, that’s sad (plus it leads to Jillian’s isolation).

      2. YES! And yes, he did get arrested I believe for the 2nd or 3rd wife’s death (but not the one that he was originally looked into. I’m not saying that there are more police officers who abuse their wives than in other professions (because I honestly do not know) BUT the books I have read about domestic abuse (this and Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks- both have police officers who abuse their wives).

      3. YES! That scene at the pool just was a classic Jillian/Gordon scene- him being in control and her reacting. Should Addie have stopped what she was doing to say hey to her mom? Probably. But she’s a kid and she wanted to play- Jillian let her insecurity cost her there.

      4. Jillian is complicated (totally agree). She’s not easy to get to know. And yet, she has this way- she knows if she has another child, she’s done for. She can’t handle what she has. Could she handle it if she had a different husband? Maybe. But she’s also got enough awareness to know that her ability to have a child may be the only thing keeping her alive. Interesting.

      5. I KNOW! Gordon is such a wily bastard!

      6. I LOVE to think that if I was in Jillian’s shoes I would kick butt and take names. I would have the proof, I would make him beg for mercy. But, but, but…. it’s so easy to see what Jillian SHOULD do. Actually doing it- knowing the things she knows- well… it’s a whole different ballgame.

      Thanks for stopping by Lori!

  2. I love the reference to Drew Peterson, a real-life Gordon. When I first started writing the story, I was reluctant to use the stereotypical abuser police officer for the antagonist, but it allowed me to give Gordon power he wouldn’t otherwise have and, as Lori mentioned, also shielded him behind the brotherhood of blue.

    My editor was concerned that the scene with Jillian pulling Addie from the sprinkler would make the reader dislike Jillian too much. I assured her that moms would relate to it. Every mom has had a moment like that, when you know you’re absolutely handling it wrong, but you’ve already dug in your heels and everyone’s looking at you, so you just keep going while silently wishing you had an undo button and could go back and do it over, this time while channeling Jo Frost from Supernanny.

    I love the conversation…keep it coming!

    • YES! YES! YES! Exactly- and for those reasons, Gordon is such a great character (yes, WE know he is wrong- but he knows how to work the system, how to maneuver and set things in motion). Plus, brotherhood is so strong. And it explains why Jillian doesn’t just leave- doesn’t just go to the police- who would believe her?

      As a person that does not have children (or is married- but that’s a topic for a whole other time!)- I LOVED how I could see that Jillian was messing up right there by the pool- letting her insecurity get the best of her- knowing it’s wrong- but, darn it, you are frustrated, you just want to get the response you desired and then go in the house. I’ve had moments like that. EVERYONE has and that is why it’s so darn relatable.

      Glad that you love the convo! I’m hoping some more people jump in!

  3. k2reader says:

    OMG…first, I just want to say what a phenomenal book. I was on the edge of my seat while reading this book. WOW!!!

    1. I was very nervous for Jillian – pretending to have the prefect life just sets things up for failure…you just know things are going to blow up somehow at some point.

    2. I think that Gordon was able to easily manipulate the situation for his own purposes…he knew just how far he could take things so that it could be considered accidental if anyone saw the bruises – “oh she’s just clumsy”. Plus, I really do believe that for the most part, the brotherhood of police do stick together – which sucks when they are guilty!

    4. I think it takes a strong person to know that if she has one more child it will put her over the edge. Maybe if she were in different circumstances (ie – with a different husband) she would be able to handle another child or two) but as things stand, she knows that to add one more thing to the mix would be too much. Did she overreact to things at times – absolutely – but don’t we all at times? I’m not a mom, but I’ve babysat, I have nieces and nephews and know that at times kids and sometimes different situations just push your buttons to the max and you just react. That scene that Suzanne refers to with Addie and the sprinkler definitely has happened to some of us in real life and we all have regretted it as soon as it’s happened – that’s life!

    • K-

      Wasn’t it such a great book?!

      1. VERY NERVOUS for Jillian!

      2. And Gordon would do his most damage to her in places that normally people wouldn’t see- plus, a darker complexion just allows for bruises to not look as terrible as they do on peaches and cream skin!

      4. Jillian is so aware. She knows what having another child will cost her- she also knows what not having another child will cost her. Terrible situation to be in!

    • K-

      Wasn’t it such a great book?!

      1. VERY NERVOUS for Jillian!

      2. And Gordon would do his most damage to her in places that normally people wouldn’t see- plus, a darker complexion just allows for bruises to not look as terrible as they do on peaches and cream skin!

      4. Jillian is so aware. She knows what having another child will cost her- she also knows what not having another child will cost her. Terrible situation to be in!

  4. Agree K2 and T–great book! And it’s those subtle things Suzanne does, like mentioning Jill’s darker skin tone, that make Jill’s case so difficult (and makes us crazy with tension!). After finally revealing her bruises, not even Collin seemed too alarmed. Loving this book!

  5. Thank you K2 for your thoughtful comments. I’m glad you enjoyed the book and that it kept you on the edge of your seat. Ego and pride are definitely huge factors in domestic violence. The shame of being a victim perpetuates the situation, causing the abused to close themselves off from the world and isolate themselves, thereby giving the abuser more power.

    You are right about Gordon, he knew exactly how far he could take things. I knew before I started writing that I wanted to make the antagonist brilliant. I wanted him to be so cunning that the reader understood it wasn’t just brute strength that Jillian was up against.

    Jillian definitely made some rash regrettable choices throughout the story, but as you said, we’ve all had those moments where our buttons have been pushed and we don’t act as thoughtfully or rationally as perhaps we should.

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