: Amanda Ortlepp
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Center Street
First Published: July 5, 2016
First Line: "She has your eyes."
Book Description from GoodReads: This riveting debut novel of psychological suspense explores the dilemmas that arise when motherhood and science collide.
Catriona Sinclair has always had a well-developed sense of independence--in fact the one sore point in her otherwise happy marriage is her husband James's desire to take care of her. As she's often tried to explain to him, she took care of herself before she met him, and did a good job of it. But James has been especially attentive lately as they struggle to have a baby. They succeed at last through in vitro fertilization, but unwilling to risk the heartbreak of another miscarriage, they decide to make their "spare" frozen embryo available to another family.
Diana and Liam Simmons are desperate for a child. Unable to conceive, they are overjoyed to learn that as the closest genetic match to the Sinclairs they are the recipients of the embryo donation. Diana's only concern is her mother's disapproval of IVF, but any doubts raised are quickly eclipsed by Diana's joy of being pregnant.
As Diana is finding delight in every aspect of motherhood, Catriona keeps waiting for the rush of adoration she knows she is supposed to feel, but instead slips into a deep depression. Just as Catriona begins to find her way back to normalcy, one of the babies is kidnapped. Suddenly, all of their lives begin to unravel and intertwine, and none of them will ever be the same.
My Rating: 3 stars
My Review: I picked up this book based on the premise of two couples fighting over who are the rightful parents of a young boy who was adopted as an embryo. The write up had a very Picoult-esque vibe to it so I was expecting an emotional legal drama with some twists (and possibly tears) thrown in for good measure.
The book is told from the points of view of the two mothers, Catriona, the embryo donor and Diana, the woman who adopted her son as an embryo and carried him to term. Readers are privy to the inner thoughts of these woman (and a lot of back stories) but unfortunately the men in the book didn't fare so well. They were given hardly any page time except to show the bulk of them as shallow, insensitive and even nefarious.
I loved the premise of the book but there is a overly long and unnecessary build-up to the main issue which isn't addressed until very late in the story arc. I was in it for the suspense but I got a very different kind of read. That said, I applaud the author for bringing various issues including the legal and ethical issues surrounding embryonic adoption, legal rights of adoptive vs biological parents, kidnapping, postpartum psychosis, infertility etc to her readers in varying degrees of depth.
Yet, even with this plethora of important issues the plot remained predictable and the writing lighter and not as engaging as I had expected. It shouldn't be touted as psychological suspense since there is no twits or suspense to be had. Instead, it reads more like a lighter Women's Fiction read with the ending being overly sweet and tied up much too neatly to be believable.
Overall, this was a decent read but not nearly what I had expected in terms of suspense and twists. But if you're looking for a lighter read that delves into some big issues you may enjoy this quick read.
Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to Center Street Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary e-book copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.