I was lucky enough to have received a free proof copy of ‘The Swap’ by Fiona Mitchell from Louise over at Hodder and Stoughton last month, I am so grateful for the opportunity to have read this though – provoking and emotional read. The Swap is due to be published in hardback and e-book format on the 18th of April 2019. Happy Publication week Fiona!
About The Author
‘The Swap‘ is Fiona Mitchell’s second book, the first being ‘The Maid’s Room’ that was published in 2017. Fiona is an award winning writer who has had a career in journalism for many years. Before settling down in London with her husband and daughter, Fiona spent almost three years living in Singapore.
“Two women. Two children. But whose is whose?
When two strangers, Tess and Annie, undergo IVF at an American clinic, their embryos are mixed up and each woman gives birth to the wrong child.
The women only discover the devastating error three years later. Tess wants to swap the children back; Annie doesn’t. As the pair wrangle, neither of them expect what unfolds.”
The Swap is a story about the complexities that can occur when things go wrong with IVF and the emotional / mental impact it can have on a parent, as well as the families and child. The moral issue that’s focused upon in this heart-wrenching novel is about whose is whose child, right and wrong, nature versus nurture. A powerful read about making the best decision for your children no matter how painful it may be.
The Swap was the kind of book that broke my heart, especially as a parent myself, but I just couldn’t put it down. I pretended to put washing away (most hated chore) so I could squeeze in a chapter or three. Such a fantastic read!
We meet Tess and Matteo, whose son is three year old Freddie. They all live in Surrey, England. Out of all their children, Freddie is the most troublesome. Tess finds him unbearable and can’t quite understand why she can’t warm to him, her own son. After a traumatic accident that requires medical attention, the staff question Tess and Matteo’s genetic relationship, or lack of, with their son. This sets the cogs in motion in the discovery of someone’s mistake at the IVF clinic. At this point I felt that Freddie was a little bit of a s**t, but what toddler isn’t at times. Also, I wondered why no-one ever pointed Tess to the doctors because up until the truth of parentage was revealed, she could have been a potential post – partum depression sufferer.
Annie and Carl lives in Florida, USA. They went through IVF and gave birth to a little girl; Willow. She is three years old and a dream to parent. Annie can’t quite identify any resemblance between herself and Willow as children, but that doesn’t mean anything right? Willow’s her daughter. Annie, Carl and Willows family life is thrown into turmoil after a request for them to visit the centre where they had IVF. Not sure why but worried that Willow could be ill they attend, only to be sucked in to every parents worst nightmare. The daughter they birthed, loved and nurtured may not be theirs.
The storyline of this book questions the most innate bonds between mother and child, as well as questioning what makes you family? And my favourite debate nature Vs Nurture. For example, is it possible for a mother to tell if a child is biologically theirs? We see it in the animal kingdom so why can’t it be true in these types of cases? We read of Tess’ instant bond with her daughter, how she knows immediately that Willow is the daughter she so longingly craved. Although genetics determine the parentage of a child, does that necessarily mean that the genetically related parents are the child’s mother and father? In this case, Tess believes that because she shares Willow’s genetics that she can call herself Willow’s mother and take her home, she demands this. Annie feels the complete opposite, she carried and birthed Willow, she is her child, but so is Freddie! I know i’m rambling, but this is a very attention grabbing, heart breaking and very thought provoking read. If this happened to you, how would you feel? What would you do?
The characters depicted within this read are very ying and yang but compliment one another in the sense of personalities. We are given snippets of previous life events which help us to understand their thought process and actions concerning this life altering event. Maternal intuition / connection has been portrayed quite excellently and emotionally within the narrative also, one part that sticks with me is when it is described as one of the mothers seeing a photo of their child for the first time and the instant emotional connection that she experiences. How she has never met her child but misses him completely. It was just written so beautifully. I think this come down to Fiona being a mother herself and she used that emotion, love and thought process to create this equally so read.
I really did enjoy reading The Swap, I inhaled the pages of quality penmanship, in what felt like one huge breathless gulp. I love alternative narrative type reads because you get a larger scale of information in strands that are then tied up nicely at the end in a bookish bow. Fiona has written this sensitively natured book with such finesse that will leave you gripped until you turn the last page and thinking about it for a long time afterwards.
I have already told various readers in my life that they need to pre-order and read this damn book! (purchase link at the bottom of post) If you need a summer read that you can get your teeth into, this is most definitely it!
Thank you to everyone who has taken their time to visit my blog and read my review of this must read book!