Two women. Two children. But whose is whose?
When two strangers, Tess and Annie, undergo IVF at an American clinic, their embryos are mixed up and each woman gives birth to the wrong child.
The women only discover the devastating error three years later. Tess wants to swap the children back; Annie doesn't. As the pair wrangle, neither of them expect what unfolds.
I'd like to thank Jenny at Hodder & Stoughton for inviting me to be a part of this blog and for the paperback copy of The Swap, which I'll be giving away below, as I had already bought the eBook earlier in the year so taking part in this tour gave me the perfect opportunity to finally read it.
As the blurb says Fiona Mitchell's The Swap is an emotive read featuring two families whose lives are turned upside down when following an accident one family discovers the child they've been raising as their own could not biologically be theirs. This sets in motion the need for answers but in doing so they'll also be tearing another family's life apart.
Tess and Matteo had gone to America for gender selective IVF for the daughter she so desperately craved for, and it's only over time we fully understand the emotional pain of events from the past that drove this decision, but instead of the daughter she longed for she had another son Freddie with whom she has never really bonded. Finding out the other couple Annie and Carl had a daughter Willow causes even more emotional torment for her and she so desperately wants to meet 'her daughter'.
From the outset I felt for both Tess and Annie, as the two main characters we hear from, as cannot even begin to comprehend what it must have felt like discovering the child that you carried for nine months and thought was biologically yours is not and that your biological child is living elsewhere. The pain and torment they were both feeling was palpable and you wanted everything to go back to normal but yet you know that things will never be the same again. How can they?
Even though I didn't agree with a lot of her actions I understood the reasons why Tess was acting the way she was but at the same time I found myself wanting to protect Annie. It was a real case of divided loyalties as for one to get the outcome she wanted, the other would no doubt suffer and vice versa.
Thankfully the storyline didn't get too bogged down with legal technicalities or jargon, although the situation as to how the embryo switch came about and the subsequent legal case is referred to. Instead we follow the families as they try to navigate the nightmare situation they find themselves in, and how they can ensure the well being of the children involved, Freddie and Willow.
The whole premise of the storyline makes The Swap the perfect choice for a reading group as it's likely to bring about lively discussion if you think about 'nature vs nurture', or asking the question of yourself as to 'what would you do if you found out your child wasn't biologically yours?' As a non-parent these are hard questions for me to answer, however many years ago as a twenty-something I was told that if I ever wanted to have a child the only option would have been to undergo IVF so just thinking about that made me appreciate the mindsets of both families with regards to them initially undergoing IVF treatment in the first place but also how they reacted when the revelation came to light.
This is the first book I've read by Fiona Mitchell but have heard such great things about her debut novel The Maid's Room that I need to add this to my wishlist to buy a copy sooner rather than later. As I already had an ecopy of The Swap, which I read for review, I've decided to run a giveaway for the paperback copy that Jenny sent me for this blog tour.
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