Is Netflix’s Dear Child Based on a True Story?

‘Dear Child’ is a German psychological thriller series that follows Lena who along with her two children — Hannah and Jonathan — lives in an isolated yet highly secured house, all three of whom are held captive by a merciless and strict man. The trio follows a precisely prescribed schedule as they eat their meals, visit the bathroom, and go to bed at a time assigned by their captor. Not only do they obey whatever he says, but they form a line and show their hands as soon as he walks into the room.

However, when Lena can’t take it anymore, she manages to escape from the captor’s clutches but meets with a deadly car accident, after which she is hospitalized. Moreover, Hannah accompanies her mother as she escapes and gets taken in custody by the authorities for questioning. The police realizes that the case is more complicated than they anticipated as Lena’s parents, who have been in search of their missing daughter for about 13 years, arrive at the hospital the same night she gets admitted.

Originally titled ‘Liebes Kind,’ the crime series features compelling onscreen performances from a group of talented actors, including Kim Riedle, Naila Schuberth, Sammy Schrein, Hans Löw, and Haley Louise Jones. Since the show consists of some seemingly authentic themes and elements, including abduction and disappearance of people, many of the viewers might be questioning whether or not it is based on a true story or not. Well, if you are curious about the same, allow us to get rid of your doubts once and for all!

Is Dear Child a True Story?

No, ‘Dear Child’ is not based on a true story. Instead, the series is inspired by the bestselling book of the same name written by Romy Hausmann. The pair of screenwriters — Isabel Kleefeld and Julian Pörksen — who also work together to direct the psychological thriller series, collaborated to come up with the screenplay for the same. While they got most of the inspiration from the eponymous book, they also made the most of their creative minds and excellent penmanship to help bring the story from the pages to the screen.

The book ‘Dear Child’ was published in 2019 and chronicles the life of a woman named Lena Beck and her children who are held captive by the father as they are forced to follow a strict schedule for meals, bathroom visits, and study time. Lena manages to escape from the captor’s clutches one day as the question arises if she is the same woman called Lena who had vanished without any trace 14 years ago. The authorities and Lena’s family try to get to the bottom of the truth.

Given the fact that ‘Dear Child’ manages to build the right amount of tension and keep the readers guessing, it is certain that the author Romy Hausmann is into reading mystery thrillers himself. Keeping this in mind, he was asked about the authors or books that influenced him to write in a late September 2020 interview with American Booksellers Association. Hausmann revealed, “For me, thrillers used to be either the shallow crime novels my mother used to read on vacation or blood and slaughter, so the genre was completely uninteresting to me.”

Elaborating further on the same, Hausmann added, “Then, by chance, I read Gone Girl and The Girl on Train and was absolutely thrilled. I wanted to write something like that, too. So, a big thank you to Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins, without whom I would never have started writing thrillers. I still read everything I can get my hands on from both authors, but now I’m also very much inspired by true crime cases. I watch a lot of documentaries on television and am particularly interested in unsolved crimes.”

Even though the Netflix series is adapted from the book, the creators and writers of the show do digress from the original plotlines and introduce some modifications of their own for entertainment purposes. Regardless, both the book as well as the show explore realistic themes of trauma, long-term captivity and its aftermath, and identity, giving the audience and readers the impression that it might be an authentic tale inspired from true events. But the truth is, Netflix’s ‘Dear Child’ is nothing but a work of fiction that is based on the eponymous book.

Read More: Best Abduction Movies on Hulu