Review: SIX MINUTES, Petronella McGovern

  • this edition published by Allen & Unwin 2019
  • ISBN 978-1-76087-528-2
  • 424 pages
  • source: my local library

Synopsis (publisher)

How can a child disappear from under the care of four playgroup mums?

One Thursday morning, Lexie Parker dashes to the shop for biscuits, leaving Bella in the safe care of the other mums in the playgroup.

Six minutes later, Bella is gone.

Police and media descend on the tiny village of Merrigang on the edge of Canberra. Locals unite to search the dense bushland. But as the investigation continues, relationships start to fracture, online hate messages target Lexie, and the community is engulfed by fear.

Is Bella’s disappearance connected to the angry protests at Parliament House? What secrets are the parents hiding? And why does a local teacher keep a photo of Bella in his lounge room?

What happened in those six minutes and where is Bella?

The clock is ticking…

This gripping novel will keep you guessing to the very last twist.

My Take


We all know of cases of young children who have gone missing in Australia and never been found.

Lexie Parker dashes to the shop across the road from the playgroup and returns just over 6 minutes later to find that 3 year old Bella has gone missing. The other 3 mums have not noticed her absence and the other 4 children are unreliable witnesses. This is a mother’s worst nightmare and as the days roll on Lexie feels that it just reinforces what a bad mother she is.

But not everyone is telling the truth about themselves and their background and the reader is required to sift the evidence and to find out their secrets.

The local community rallies to look for Bella through the night, the police are called in, and they are not sure whether one of the parents is not to blame.

Social media is used to spread the word but this also invites the trolls to come out and point the finger at Lexie and her husband.

A really interesting read.

My rating: 4.3

About the author
Petronella McGovern is a writer and editor who grew up on a farm outside Bathurst, NSW. After working in Canberra for a number of years, she now lives on Sydney’s northern beaches with her husband and two children.

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