The blurb: You could argue Joanie Simpson stole her own child.
After all, Scout wasn’t supposed to be hers. She was supposed to be a gift for a childless couple who couldn’t conceive. But when the selfless inner-glow of surrogacy wore off, Joanie told a lie that would change all their lives. A lie that would be undetected for eleven years, until an IVF worker spots her and her daughter Scout in a school playground and raises the alarm.
So Joanie takes Scout on the run. For although she may not be the world’s best mother, and she may not give her resourceful, lonely child the care and stability she craves, she loves her.
And that’s more important than anything. Isn’t it?
My review: Despite not really liking the cover of this book (I am increasingly starting off my reviews with cover notes, I guess we can’t really help judging a book by it’s cover sometimes!) I was instantly intrigued by the back cover copy. So a book that was going to be overlooked was saved! I started this book on a Wednesday and finished it on a Thursday. Scout and Joanie’s story was so compelling.
This is a lovely quirky book, the writing style is pacy with great dialogue but it really shines with it’s characterisation. Joanie is both irritating and charming, a terrible mother but one who always seems to have good intentions. A woman caught in a lie that she probably wouldn’t go back and change and feels very little remorse for but who recognises the flaws (occasionally) in her own character. And Scout is completely loveable, I want to adopt her. She’s has various adventures whilst being moved from pillar to post that only a child could have and meets a fabulous, heart-warming array of people that she tries to learn from. Scout reminded me of Roald Dahl’s Matilda, a girl who likes school, who wants to learn but the adults in her life are making it hard to accomplish. So she goes about it her own way.
This is such a brilliant British book and has a real sense of place, the themes are big and handled with care, the idea that a surrogate could hide their child is an interesting one that leads to lots of ‘what ifs?’
A great read this one with a very satisfying and almost perfect ending. The characters almost seem to head flawlessly to the right conclusions for them, with perhaps some hesitation along the way. Lovely, really lovely, definitely give this a go.
8 out of 10 stars! ********
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