It’s so hard to talk about this book without giving spoilers – part of the story’s unquestionable charm is the element of shock, of having no idea how you would respond to the situation, and of feeling as if we are making desperate decisions on the spot alongside the characters. But here it goes, with some but not major spoilers.
Hope and Isaac are a young but happy couple who are given purpose and joy by the prospect of bringing life into the world. They are in a hospital in London giving birth at the same time as Anna and Julius. Anna’s hunger for a child is fuelled by her feeling of emptiness, of being “Julius’ wife”, while Julius is a minor Tory MP who knows a baby would make for a great PR push. But while both couples go into the hospital expecting to leave with a child, only one does – and it’s not theirs. 20 years later, we discover the intricate life that has come from this undeniably irrational but simultaneously heart-wrenching experience.
While reading this summary might make you sick to your stomach, what is so brilliant about this story is how you are able to feel everyone’s heartbreak, even when it’s conflicting. Moreover, it was fascinating to see how quickly, as a reader, I was willing to change my mind depending on whose perspective I was being offered. The interchanging perspectives and timelines help with this, keeping you so invested and yet completely incapable of picking a definitive “side”. You somehow know it’s not your decision to make, and that they are choices that could only be made in the moment.
One thing is certain: the complimentary pack of tissues that came along with this copy from the publisher was much needed.
Being on a blog tour means I’m but one of a squad of reviewers reading the same book. Head to their profiles if you’re interested to hear what they had to say:
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