I have been seeing this book around a lot and was lucky to get the review copy despite been so late to request one. Let’s get straight to it.
Lauren Tranter has just given birth to identical twin boys. Riley and Morgan. The following night she hears a woman singing next to her ward and requests her to stop in case the babies wake up except she has dire plans to kidnap the babies and replace with her own. When security arrives they decide it’s just post traumatic stress and doesn’t pursue it further except the woman seems to have followed her home and continues to stalk her. One month after secluding herself and the babies at home she decides to finally go out and be with her friends. Unfortunately she decides to take a nap right outside the park and when she wakes up the babies are gone. Except within an hour they are found. But now Lauren suspects they aren’t hers. That the weird woman replaced her babies for Lauren’s. Despite no evidence for any of this Lauren decides to take the ultimate way out except is this happening for real or is it something else?
The book started with great potential. The first few chapters are pretty graphic in terms of childbirth. It can make some queasy. But I was shocked to see a woman all alone right after childbirth with twins no less to fend for herself in the hospital. I don’t know how it works like that but with experience I can say it’s not something anyone will do in real life. Even the nurses didn’t seem to care when they should have been guiding the new mom for breastfeeding. Anyhoo whatever works for the author. The part where this strange woman is introduced things do get creepy and you can’t help but feel like closing the book and not read. Detective Jo Harper does try to investigate the distress call but gets no leads. Once they are home things drag on. Even after the kids are kidnapped (or are they?) and found, the author continuously goes back and forth on folk lore and PTSD. The reader is constantly teased as to what’s real and what’s not.
What further confuses me is Harper does find evidence to what Lauren claimed yet the story switches back to her depression bout. Her husband Patrick has taken paternity leave to look after them. Except all he does is tell her to look after them herself as he will be back to work soon and she needs the practice. I abhorred that character and not to mention the cheating which never made to the spotlight either. Both Patrick and Harper acknowledge there’s something wrong and that Lauren maybe right about the babies been switched and yet they change their minds in the snap of a finger.
To conclude, I will say this, Lauren was a multifaceted character. She may have been suffering PTSD or she may have been saying the truth but you feel for her no matter what. I liked how you never know what’s happening in terms of Lauren’s reality but I was disappointed by the authors take on this hugely potential storyline. It felt like she wanted to make it all things at once and didn’t know what to include and exclude. I liked how the author throws light on post traumatic stress disorder that many new mothers go through and also the inclusion of folklore as a medium to expand the story. But the ending was just blah. Nevertheless worth a read.
Thank you to NetGalley and publisher – Crooked Lane Books for my review copy.
Release date : 30th April, 2019
Pros: engaging, storyline, writing
Cons: pace, dragging, too many plot points crammed in.
Bibliogyan Verdict: A Book with high potential but disappointing while still highlighting an important illness.