Sunday, 5 May 2013

Books Read: Julie Cohen - Dear Thing

Claire and Ben are the perfect couple. But behind the glossy façade, they’ve been desperately trying – and failing – to have a baby for years. Now, the stress and feelings of loss are taking their toll on their marriage. Claire’s ready to give up hope and get on with her life, but Ben is not. And then Ben’s best friend, Romily, offers to conceive via artificial insemination and carry the baby for them.

Romily acts in good faith, believing it will be easy to be a surrogate. She’s already a single mother, and has no desire for any more children. Except that being pregnant with Ben’s child stirs up all sorts of emotions in her, including one she’s kept hidden for a very long time: Ben’s the only man she’s ever loved.

Two mothers—and one baby who belongs to both of them, and which only one of them can keep.

I'd read some fantastic reviews for Dear Thing so when I saw it was available to request for reviews in NetGalley I decided to apply for it and I'm so glad that I did.  

Claire and Ben have everything they could ever hope for, a partner who they love and loves them back unconditionally, great jobs, a lovely house...but there's one thing missing that could complete the whole package for them...a baby.  Following numerous attempts at IVF, Claire decides that she cannot go through any more heartbreak when she tragically loses the baby, ironically at a colleague's baby shower, that she'd finally fallen pregnant with.

But Ben is not willing to give up without a fight until they've exhausted all options.  So when his best friend Romily suggests that she be a surrogate for them it seems like the perfect solution.  After all they've known her since their university days and they know she can get pregnant as she's a single parent to daughter Posie for whom they are god parents. 

When Romily falls pregnant at the first attempt, cracks begin to appear in all of the relationships as feelings and emotions come to the fore.  Can Romily really go through a pregnancy and hand the baby over to Ben and Claire without a second thought?  Will Claire be able to deal with the fact that it's Romily that's carrying their baby and not herself?  Will Ben be able to understand how his wife is feeling when he's excited about finally being a dad?  And how will Posie react to news of the pregnancy and the fact that they baby is not theirs?  

This was one of those stories that grabbed you from the start, all the characters were well written and you felt the many emotions that they were going through, sadness, joy, frustration and finally hope.   

Although at first Claire feels a little distant, as you start reading you understand that she's shut herself off emotionally as she cannot cope with the pain anymore and you get an understanding as to why she wants to give up her long hoped for dream because she couldn't cope with feeling like such a failure.  Ben was one of those characters that I loved one minute but the next I wanted to give him a kick up the backside when he appeared a little insensitive!  But at the same it was easy to understand why he was feeling the way he did.

The book's title 'Dear Thing' relates to the letters that Romily writes to the unborn child, which they all refer to as thing, where she spills out all the feelings that she cannot express to Ben and Claire.  And it's whilst reading these you get a real sense as to why she offered to be the surrogate for them but at what cost to herself. 

This was an emotional story to read but one that I found myself compelled to keep reading and could not put it down.  

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