Crawlspace!). Just as she's finally about to leave... well, of course: Jane goes into labor. Alan runs off to rouse the village doctor from bed, but when they return, Jane is asleep in their spare room while Kate, smiling, holds the newborn babe in her arms. (Some spoilers ahead.)
1991 Leisure Books reprint
But Jane mysteriously disappears into the night leaving her baby behind. No trace of her is found (early '70s in a little British village, you know). Kate is besotted with the infant girl, and efforts begin to not just foster the newly-christened Bonnie, but to adopt her outright, adding even more joy, affection, and love to the Marlowe family life. And then... and then begins the creeping, almost unbelievable descent into the horror of murdered children. You knew that was coming, right? Because it does come, and it comes without surcease. And little Bonnie is always, always, nearby, and each death seems accidental. I inwardly moaned each time I realized Taylor was setting up a death scene for one of the children, because they come in the midst of sun-drenched afternoons in the family bosom.
I can still see Kate as she ran from the house that afternoon, her hair flying, coming at me like a wild woman, crazed, clutching at Sam's body as I held him... I can still see her as she sits there, rocking back and forth, supporting his head on his broken neck, her mouth opening and closing, emitting sounds like that of some mortally wounded animal, eyes staring in disbelief... What is miraculous is that a person can keep such memories and keep on living.
1977 UK paperback
The years move on and the Marlowes rally, their grief and heartbreak over these "accidents" moving into the past. But it's only Alan who begins to suspect the angelic little Bonnie is anything but that; she is some sort of human cuckoo, a baby left in another's nest to purloin the affections from the biological Marlowe children by the most diabolical means. Alan and Kate's marriage begins to crumble beneath this unimaginable weight; Alan "kidnaps" Lucy away to safety, begging a distraught Kate to abandon her beloved Bonnie, that the child is responsible for the deaths of their own children. Kate simply, in that quiet British way, calls Alan mad. So now it's time for Alan to resort to other methods to save what's left of his family.
Nor does Taylor overburden the novel with anything in the way of an explanation for Bonnie; I was awaiting some supernatural reveal of appropriately evil proportions, but got nothing. Once Bonnie's real mother walks out of the Marlowes' home she is literally never seen or heard from again (compare this with the 1980 movie adaptation). Now this may have been Taylor trying to heighten the terror by making it inexplicable, but I found it, in a way, somewhat lazy. Still, The Godsend is a gripping if at times dispiriting read that sloooowly becomes horrific. It's certainly not the best of the creepy-kid books, but I don't think you'll be disappointed reading it; little Bonnie might not be Rosemary's baby, but you'll still dig her style.