This is the story of Claire and Ben, who are perfectly in love – in fact, who are seemingly perfect in almost every way. Except one. They can’t have a baby.
It’s also the story of Ben’s best friend Romily, who after years of watching Ben and Claire suffer, offers to have a baby for them.
But being pregnant stirs up all kinds of feelings in Romily – feelings she’d rather keep buried, but can’t. Now there are two mothers – and one baby who belongs to both of them, and which only one of them can keep.
Thought-provoking, heart-rending but ultimately uplifting, Dear Thing is a book you won’t be able to put down, until you pass it on to your best friends.
What I Thought:
Dear Thing was a very nice surprise. I guess the subject of infertility and surrogacy can, and does at points in the book, become quite gloomy, but the moments of comedy in Dear Thing – provided in no small part by Romily’s hugely intelligent and charismatic daughter Posie – lift some of the more sombre moments and it runs on a fairly even emotional keel. You know that something huge is going to happen when the baby that Romily has offered to carry for Ben and Claire arrives, but up until the very moment, things could go either way.
I could instantly identify with Romily and her parenting style and the feeling that perhaps she was letting her child down by not being the supermum that Claire seems to be. I think we all try to live up to the mum-next-door, and forget that as long as the children are happy and healthy, we can only do our best (therapy session over!).
Although I can’t agree with Romily’s reaons for offering herself as a surrogate, I can’t help but admire her in the end – it’s something I could never do and is incredibly brave and selfless. You’ll have to read the book to see how that turns out!
Ben and Claire were the perfect couple – annoyingly so it seemed at some points, but they were written in such a way that it was all just so unfair that they had spent their entire marriage planning to fill their house with children, only to find that they couldn’t have them. And that really sums up the whole issue for me – fertility, or lack of it, is just so desperately unfair.
Claire did have her irritating points, I have to say, but who’s to say what she would have been like had her dreams of a big family been realised as she had hoped? Would her character have been appreciably different? I’d imagine she certainly wouldn’t have had time to turn out all the delicious cakes she bakes throughout the book. I was particularly taken by her description of Ben’s birthday cake – coffee cake with an espresso ganache, so that’s one I’ll have to try!
Ben is a tricky character to pin down – he seems to be the driving force behind the attempts at conception, he pushes onwards when Claire is reconciling herself with remaining childless, but – rightly or wrongly – I think this book is very firmly about the women.
After reading it (very quickly I might add – it was a gripper!) I can highly recommend Dear Thing and I was pleased to see it’s one of the Richard and Judy Book Club picks this summer, which should get it the attention and readership it definitely deserves.
But, it doesn’t end there, oh no! I have two copies of Dear Thing to give away to you, dear readers. Simply fill out the Rafflecopter widget below and you could walk away with a copy.
Note: A review copy of Dear Thing, plus two prize copies were given to me by the Publisher but, as ever, all opinions are entirely my own.