Pop any technical and medical understandings aside and just lose yourself in this book. Lose yourself in the writing and the way Dawn French hits you in the gut again and again, I had cried in genuine angst and laughed out loud with genuine entertainment before I had gotten through the first two chapters.
Note that there are themes of infancy loss, stillbirth and abduction in this book. Before you’ve even hit the ground running you are going to find yourself sniffling quietly as you turn the pages in a flurry to find out where this book is going. I did not know what I was in for and whilst I do recommend this book as I often like to “go in blind”, and it took me very off guard.
At times the set up and execution of the story line jarred and lost me, and I started losing my patience. It tended to be in the “general” dialogue, the space between the next event. Then just as I was starting to fidget French would employ this extraordinary skill at articulating conflict and launching the storyline forward at such a pace that your breath catches in the back of your throat and you’re pushing on again.
I think this book does a very good job at considering all sides to a very complicated event. As Hope and her partner leave with the hospital with an infant that is not theirs by right nor blood, chaos erupts in Anna’s world. A desperate act of a grieving mother launches the timelines of two families in directions spiralling away from one another, yet forever linked.
The layers of pain, regret, internal and paired destructions of self and relationship, it all weaves around and on top of itself in this very real way that doesn’t let up even as the story screams to an end. You have to let go of anything you know about medical procedures and a few other elements of the storyline go a bit haywire buuuut I was OK with it. It’s fiction. Sometimes you applaud the people who write with such meticulous accuracy – they’ve researched where every tile was placed and mapped out every metre of the football pitch. That’s one version of fiction. And then there is this. A book that focuses on the emotions. On the choices and the complexity of human life, and how quickly things can go from incredible to devastating in the blink of an eye.