Sammy Schrein as Jonathan and Naila Schuberth as Hannah on the set of Liebes Kind.

The Inspiration Behind Dear Child, The New Netflix Thriller Everyone's Watching

The haunting new mini series out of Germany has taken Netflix by storm.

by Kaitlin Kimont

A thrilling new mini series has taken Netflix by storm. Described as “Room meets Gone Girl,” Dear Child tells a disturbing story of a missing woman who disappeared more than a decade ago and escapes her captor. But is Dear Child on Netflix based on a true story? Here’s everything you need to know as you dive into the six-part mini series.

What is Dear Child on Netflix about?

Netflix’s new German mini series — Liebes Kind in German — follows a woman named Lena who “lives in complete isolation in a highly secured home” with two children, 12-year-old Hannah and 8-year-old Jonathan. Lena was kidnapped 13 years ago and Dear Child kicks off with her escaping their captor, with Hannah by her side. During their escape, however, Hannah has been severely injured in a hit-and-run accident, and she and Hannah are later found in a German forest. Police and doctors, of course, have all sorts of questions.

“They eat their meals, go to the toilet and to bed at precisely prescribed times. As soon as he enters the room, they line up to show their hands. They do everything he says. Until the young woman manages to escape. After a near fatal car accident, she is hospitalized, accompanied by Hannah,” Netflix’s synopsis reads. “Dear Child starts where traditional thrillers end: with redemption. But the true extent of this nightmare is revealed with the arrival of Lena’s parents at the hospital the same night. They have been desperately searching for their missing daughter for almost 13 years…”

Is Dear Child on Netflix based on a true story?

No, Dear Child is not based on a true story. The thrilling series is instead based on a novel by German author Romy Hausmann. Hausmann’s debut novel was released in 2019 and quickly became an international bestseller. The book version of Dear Child and the Netflix series are both entirely fictional, so you can rest easy that this terrifying nightmare of a story has not happened in real life.

Director and head writer Isabel Kleefeld of the Netflix adaptation told Tudum she found the book so fascinating, she could picture the series play out in her mind. “I read the book in one night and saw the whole story very vividly in my mind. The material fascinated me immediately. Dear Child is told from the point of view of each of the participants, and the perspective changes again and again,” Kleefeld said. “The result is an exciting game with reality, a puzzle that the audience can always add to and reassemble. It is the story of a crime that has many victims, directly or indirectly.”

Thankfully, none of those victims are real.

The author of Dear Child became emotional watching the Netflix series.

In an interview with Netflix Queue, Hausmann said it “was really awesome” to see her book made into the popular Netflix series, and became emotional watching the first few episodes. “I was on the set one day and thought, Oh my God, this is not real! There were hundreds of people, all these vans and lights, the director’s clapper board that says Dear Child. When I was allowed to watch the series, I just cried over the first two or three episodes,” she said. “I could not believe it. I typed this [story] into a Word document on my little laptop and suddenly it’s so big. And everyone involved in the project put so much into it. They pushed their limits as much as I did in writing.”

Dear Child premiered on Netflix on Sept. 7 and you can stream all six episodes now.