Book Review by Cari Mayhew.
This story has a promising premise – the central character, a young woman wakes up from a Caesarean section not believing that baby labelled as hers, a premature babe struggling in a special humidcrib, really is hers.
Once she makes her concerns known, she is soon admitted to a mental health ward. She is a qualified paediatrician and pathologist and from experience knows how easily dangerous, and even fatal mistakes, can be made. She wants to take steps to confirm whether baby Toby is hers, when she starts to feel that another baby, Gabriel, is hers. Neither hospital staff, nor her own husband believe her.
The book concentrates on the first few days after the birth. But these chapters are interspersed with chapters reflecting on Sasha’s deteriorating relationship with her husband, their long term struggle with fertility, Sasha’s one but significant mistake as a paediatrician, and Sasha’s irreparable relationship with her own mother. To many readers this may well add more depth to the story, but I felt that it slowed down what ought to have been a more fast-paced novel. It would have been a more intense read had the character actually had post-natal psychosis.
What I will say for the author though, is that she knows how to keep the readers guessing. Throughout the book I had no idea which was her real baby, or even if her baby had really survived. I also couldn’t tell who betrayed her to the psych ward.
What makes the story is its sadly believable but well-meaning non-perfect ending (no spoilers!)