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.
Ben and Claire appear to have the perfect life – a loving relationship, a lovely house, successful careers however the one thing missing from their lives is a baby. After many rounds of failed IVF treatment, Claire makes a decision to stop trying, however Ben does not want to give up on their hopes just yet and thereafter things become complicated.
Romily, has been Ben’s best friend since university. He is godfather to her 7 year old daughter Posie. Romily is a single mother, a scientist whose unconventional mothering skills sometimes leave a lot to be desired.
On impulse, Romily offers to be a surrogate for Ben and Claire. She doesn’t want any more children herself and she sees this as something wonderful she can do for her friend Ben and Claire.
As the story and the pregnancy progresses, all three characters have to reassess their feelings about the surrogacy and the true reason for Romily’s well-meaning intentions.
I loved this book from the very start and was immediately drawn into the story. Initially, Claire came across as rather a prickly character, whose obsession with having a baby has now stopped her from interacting with anyone who is pregnant and withdrawing even from her family. Romily and Claire have a rather strained relationship – Romily has always been Ben’s friend rather than Claire’s and they both have to make an effort to get on, rather than it coming naturally. Ben is so overjoyed that his dream of becoming a father may now happen that he rather naively ignores the warnings from family and friends and it was obvious that he hasn’t thought the surrogacy through in any great detail.
For me, Romily was the most interesting character. Her life is rather chaotic, but she muddles through with Posie and her letters to her unborn baby (the ‘Dear Thing’ of the title) add an extra dimension to the story. Posie was a delightful character with a voice older than her years.
Each character had enough depth to make the reader care about them and when a face from the past suddenly appears and complicates the arrangement, it is clear that this surrogacy is not going to be as straightforward as had been first thought. The issue of surrogacy is dealt with sensitively and the emotions of all three main characters involved clearly shine through.
This was a compelling read and one which I would highly recommend.
My thanks to Netgalley and publisher Transworld for the opportunity to review this book.
Julie Cohen’s website: http://www.julie-cohen.com