Stevie is on the cusp of adulthood. At sixteen, she's not quite a child, but not quite grown up: a dangerous age. But it's only during a birthday celebration in Spain, when she gets too close to one of Dougie's best friends, that her parents realize just how dangerous.
With friendships shattered and trusts betrayed, Janine and Dougie - brought together in Stevie's moment of crisis - know they must see beyond the past if they're to secure their daughter's future. But even with such a lot at stake, can a relationship with so many complications ever have a future.
Once upon a time Dougie and Janine were madly in love with each other and would have done anything for each other... but these days their only contact with each other is to do with their teenage daughter Stevie.
Janine's new boyfriend Mike has recently moved in with her and Stevie and she's constantly caught in the middle trying to make things easier for everyone with this new arrangement. But there's further trouble ahead when Mike is offered a job in Sweden and asks Janine to go with him. Will she be able to convince Stevie to come with them?
Meanwhile Dougie is finally sober and trying to turn his life around, by teaching cookery lessons from his flat, after sinking to an all-time low and losing everything.. his restaurant and his family, the only thing he didn't lose was the unconditional love of his daughter.
At 16 Stevie thinks that she's mature enough to handle anything and certainly pushes the boundaries of what is acceptable behaviour by staying out late, smoking and drinking, causing many a row. But when she finds herself in a precarious situation that she cannot get herself out of, can she face up to what's happened and tell her parents?
Add into the mix Dougie's friends, Simon & Victoria who are trying for a baby, and Gary & Ruth who are expecting their first baby, a fateful trip to Spain to celebrate Simon's 40th birthday, as well as neighbour Nina, and you get a very complex story about relationships, friendships, loyalty and what happens when events shatter the fragile bonds that connect them.
I'd like to thank Katie at Penguin UK for sending me a proof copy of The Love Child to review.