In an attempt to show that he really cares about his severely disabled daughter Phil takes Lauren to one of her many scheduled hospital appointments. He only does so because his wife, Sarah, is at the end of her rope and he knows he has been more absent than engaged. One chance comment about blood typing sends their world into a tailspin. Not only is Lauren not his but she's not Sarah's either. So starts the tale of piecing together what happened to make them take the wrong daughter home, who is their real daughter and how will her family react?
This book is sensitively written and covers not only the trials of having a very disabled child but balancing that against the needs of your able-bodied, older child whose needs are, necessarily, pushed in to second place. Nowhere within these pages are the difficult balancing act shied away from. With petty squabbles explored and daily life, in all it's tedium and grind taking centre stage.
Once their real daughter is found, Sarah in particular finds it hard to adjust and let this teenager in to not only their lives but her heart. The juxtaposition of Lauren and Rosie is handled well and never manages to slip into parody, it is simply the bare fact that one is disabled and one is not. As their lives settle in to a period of visits and awkward discussions with Alice (Rosie's mother) each family strives to find it's own way through.
I did worry that this novel would descend into mawkishness but somehow this is avoided. No mean feat by Ms. Bond due to the exceptionally emotional subject matter. The reveal as to how the swap came about is agonising and throws yet more questions into the mix.
I found myself completely sucked in to this world and found that I empathised with both mothers and was bewildered as to how you could make a decision about a child you have nurtured for 14 years but that isn't biologically yours. I was slightly annoyed that the father's feelings were so clear cut so early on and did wonder if enough depth had gone into his character. However, as the tale unfolds you realise that Phil isn't simply there as a foil to Sarah's anguish but a necessary rock for her to cling to.
Wonderfully written in a straightforward manner that captivates.
I RECEIVED A FREE COPY OF THIS BOOK FROM READERS FIRST IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW.