Is Dear Child on Netflix based on a true story?

The German thriller will have you trying to solve the mystery of a disappearance, but be warned, this piece contains spoilers...

Dear Child Netflix scene, Kim Riedle and Sammy Schrein on the set of Liebes Kind, Courtesy of Netflix 2023
(Image credit: Netflix)

As a mysterious woman's escape from harrowing captivity points investigators to the dark truth behind her unsolved disappearance 13 years earlier, fans are wondering if Dear Child on Netflix is based on a true story

Fans are gripped with the possibility that the new show could be based on a true crime story, like other thrillers, where fans asked if Love and Death based on a true story, if  Burning Body was based on a true story, or whether A Million Miles Away is a true story too.

The harrowing tale has prompted a number of questions, and the twists and turns have left viewers needing the Dear Child ending explained too. Here's all you need to know about the streaming service's latest release...

Is Dear Child on Netflix based on a true story?

Dear Child on Netflix is not based on a true story, however, it is based on the bestselling book of the same name by Romy Hausmann. The novel has largely inspired the plot for the Netflix screenplay, which was worked on by director and screenwriter Isabel Kleefeld and Julian Pörksen. 

The Netflix series consists of six episodes and is in the German language but is available to watch in subtitles and features the following cast; Kim Riedle as Lena, Naila Schuberth as Hannah, Sammy Schrein as Jonathan, Hans Löw as Gerd Buhling and Julika Jenkins as Karin Becks. 

  • Kim Riedle as Lena 
  • Naila Schuberth as Hannah
  • Sammy Schrein as Jonathan
  • Hans Löw as Gerd Buhling 
  • Julika Jenkins as Karin Becks

Dear Child novel by Romy Hausmann

(Image credit: Amazon)

What is the novel Dear Child about?

According to the book's synopsis, Dear Child novel is set in a windowless shack in the woods and it follows the life of Lena and her two children and the rules set by their captor, the father: meals, bathroom visits, study time are strictly scheduled and meticulously observed. 

The book jacket explains, "He protects his family from the dangers lurking in the outside world and makes sure that his children will always have a mother to look after them."

And continues, "One day Lena manages to flee - but the nightmare continues. It seems as if her tormentor wants to get back what belongs to him. And then there is the question whether she really is the woman called 'Lena', who disappeared without a trace over thirteen years ago. The police and Lena's family are all desperately trying to piece together a puzzle that doesn't quite seem to fit."

Kim Riedle, Naila Schuberth as Hannah and Sammy Schrein as Jonathan on the set of Liebes Kind, Courtesy of Netflix 2023

(Image credit: Netflix)

Who is the abductor in Dear Child?

************************* SPOILER ALERT *******************************

The abductor in Dear Child in the novel is a man called Lars Rogner, who takes Lena and locks her in his secluded cabin, forcing her to be his wife and to give him children. Lena gives birth to two children, Hannah and Jonathan. But Lars lives a double life, while raping and brutalising Lena and her family constantly, he still maintains his life in the outside world.

In the Netflix adaptation, Lars is simply known as 'him'.

If you love crime dramas you might wonder if Who Is Erin Carter? is based on a true story,  what happened to Melissa Caddick or what happened to Gaia Pope?

Selina Maycock
Senior Entertainment Writer

Selina is currently a Senior Entertainment Writer for, formerly Senior Entertainment writer for Woman&Home, and My Imperfect Life with more than 16 years of experience in newspapers and magazines. She currently writes a mix of Entertainment news - including celebrity births, weddings, reporting the the latest news about the Royal kids Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet as well as Family news stories from baby names to store closures and product recall warnings. Before joining Future Publishing, Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism. She is fully NCTJ and NCE qualified and has 100wpm shorthand. When she's not interviewing celebrities you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories.