‘Who am I? Why am I here? Why did my mother give me away?’
On the surface, Luke and his girlfriend Hannah seem to have a perfect life. He’s an A&R man, she’s an arts correspondent and they are devoted to their new born son Samuel.
But beneath the gloss Luke has always felt like an outsider. So when he finds his birth mother Alice, the instant connection with her is a little like falling in love.
When Hannah goes back to work, Luke asks Alice to look after their son. But Alice – fuelled with grief from when her baby was taken from her 27 years ago – starts to fall in love with Samuel. And Luke won’t settle for his mother pushing him aside once again….
There are a number of emotions dealt with within this book, love, loss, jealousy, as well as mental health, at times very complex issues with relationships within the family. But it is handled sensitively. Beautifully written and so much more than the synopsis says. But that also makes it difficult to write a review without giving anything away.
Luke and his wife Hannah have recently become parents, this makes Luke think of his birth mum Alice, who gave him away when he was just a few weeks old. He is now 28, he decides he wants to meet her. The first meeting goes very well, Alice is now 47 and attractive, she was once an artist with a promising future ahead of her, but she now paints portraits of pets. Luke doesn’t know much about why he was given up, and Alice doesn’t really give him a great deal of information. It’s easy not to like Alice initially as she doesn’t give much away, she holds feelings back, shutting herself off, but when you learn the story of her past you begin to understand, and sympathise more.
Hannah is due to return to work, but that means leaving baby Samuel, they had been looking for an au-pair to look after him, but its suggested that Alice would be perfect to look after Samuel, whilst Luke and Hannah go to work. But how much do they really know about Alice? Luke’s emotions as he sees his birth mum bonding with his son change, he is jealous, it seems that those emotions of being given up run deeper than he could know, he wonders if he can trust his mother with his son? Can he be a good father to his son?
The story is told through a dual storyline, telling Alice’s story as a young woman, to her giving up her baby for adoption, the other is Alice in the present. With both Luke and Alice trying to make a connection with each other. Is it too late? Can a parent and child bond after so much separation?
The pace of the story is slow, blending the past and the present together. Learning of Alice’s life before Luke was born, with lots of talk of art and music. Alice falling in love, wine, romance, and art in Italy, and Florence. Then Luke in the present working as an A&R man, trying to sign a new band. Alice introduces Luke to the man on his birth certificate, who is a legendary artist with work hanging in famous galleries.
This novel is very character driven, with the emotions and heartstrings being pulled. The feeling of abandonment by an adoptee, there is a lot of pain. It is beautifully written, emotional and haunting. You may need some tissues by your side as you read this. The plot twists are a little predictable, as I guessed what was going to happen, it’s not a book with a lot of action, I am unsure as to whether I would label it as a psychological thriller or not. As it’s more about the relationships. Difficult to say much more without giving away spoilers so will leave it here.
I give this book ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I would like to thank #netgalley and #Orionpublishers for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest, fair and unbiased review.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Clare is a journalist with a background in national newspapers – small business editor, finance correspondent and fashion at the Mail on Sunday and the Daily Express, freelance for The Sunday Telegraph, The Sunday Times, the Evening Standard and Tatler among others.