Tuesday 14 March 2023

Book ~ "Hold My Girl" (2023) Charlene Carr

From Goodreads ~ Katherine is a woman full of obsessions. Everything clean, everything perfect, all the time. After seven years of trying - and failing - to conceive, she finally gives birth to Rose, her IVF miracle child. But she’s afraid that Rose may not be her daughter; her pale skin doesn’t match Katherine’s own.

Tess never got her happy ending. She took on IVF alongside Katherine and a group of hopeful mothers but her daughter, Hanna, was stillborn. After a series of poor choices, she’s divorced, broke and stuck in a job that’s below her skill set.

Ten months later, Katherine and Tess get a call from the fertility clinic that reveals shocking news: the two women’s eggs were switched. While Katherine’s perfect life beings to crumble around her, for Tess it’s the glimmer of hope she needs to get her life back on track. But it will take a custody battle to decide who deserves to be Rose’s mother, a battle that will push both women to the brink.

Katherine and Patrick had been trying for years to have a baby. Tess had also been trying to have a baby and though she and her husband eventually divorced, she decides to do it alone using a sperm donor. Both women become pregnant via IVF. Katherine delivers a healthy girl they name Rose. Unfortunately Tess' baby, who she names Hannah, is stillborn and because of complications, Tess will never be able to get pregnant again. While Katherine and Patrick are professionally successful and seem to have a perfect life, Tess is working a job that is below her skill level and using booze and men to numb her unhappiness.

Almost a year later it's discovered that someone at the fertility clinic had switched their eggs ... it was Katherine's egg that had been mixed with a sperm donor and that's the baby Tess had carried (Hannah) and it was Tess' egg that had been mixed with Patrick's sperm and that's the baby Katherine had carried (Rose). Needless to say, Tess wants her baby (Rose) and Katherine and Patrick want to keep Rose since biologically Patrick is her father and Katherine had carried and birthed her. The three can't come up with a solution so it goes to mediation and then court. There is a lot of dirt in Tess' background that can be used against her in a custody battle but as it turns out, Patrick and Katherine also have their own secrets that might hurt them.

This was an interesting topic for a story. Who is the actual mother ... the one who provided the egg or the one who carried the baby and was raising her? Apparently in Nova Scotia where the story takes place, there was no precedent (and maybe Canada?). Both Katherine and Tess thought they were the "real" mother. I thought the writing was okay, though I found the story a bit long and it could have been tighter. It's written in third person perspective in Katherine and Tess' voices. I wasn't overly sympathetic to either Katherine or Tess ... Katherine seemed too cold and Tess kept making dumb mistakes even when she knew so much was on the line. As a head's up, there is swearing.

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