Title: This Child of Mine
Author: Sinéad Moriarty
Publisher: Penguin Books (26th September 2013)
Source: Penguin Ireland
Format: Finished Copy
Anna and Laura, Sophie and Mandy – two mothers, two daughters and a story about the bond of motherly love.
Anna is proud of the job she has done raising eighteen-year-old Sophie. It’s always been just the two of them, but that doesn’t matter because Sophie has everything she could ever need.
It’s a miracle that Laura’s daughter Mandy is as happy as she is, considering that Laura remains haunted by the loss of her first child before Mandy was born.
Both women carry painful secrets and can never forget the day their paths crossed. But a chance discovery is about to bring everything into the open, and mothers and daughters, love and lies, past and future, will spectacularly collide . . .
Rating: ** (2 stars)
THIS CHILD OF MINE is the eighth novel by Sinéad Moriarty. It tells the story of two mothers and two daughters whose paths crossed once. Anna and Sophie are very close, but Sophie is eighteen and getting ready to go off to University. Laura and Mandy aren’t quite as lucky, and in different ways both are haunted by the loss of Laura’s first child. But things are about to change for both families, when a secret is revealed by chance.
I thought this novel sounded really interesting. It isn’t often you find books that focuses on a familial relationship rather than a romantic one. However, THIS CHILD OF MINE isn’t quite the book I thought it would be, as I thought it could be a story about a couple of friends who had lost touch – but, and I’ll be honest here, I didn’t research on the book and went into it blind. THIS CHILD OF MINE isn’t my typical choice of book, but I thought the blurb had a lot of potential.
I’ll start this review by saying what I liked about the book. Moriarty writes some of the best familial relationships I have read in a while – in fact, she is very good at characterisation as a whole. One of the most interesting things about the book is the way she showcases how different the relationship between mothers and daughters can be. Moriarty explored both strong relationships, as well as ones that had been greatly affected by some not very good circumstances. I liked the fact that Moriarty tested these relationships as the novel progressed.
The secondary characters of the book were brilliantly handled, and seemed very real. I particularly liked the way that Moriarty wrote Sophie’s friendship with Holly. Although I have to admit that my favourite character in the novel was actually Lexie. She’s actually a pretty minor character, but she stole the scene a lot for me throughout the book. She served as both the comic relief, and the voice of reason that some of the characters came to rely on. I liked the fact that Moriarty chose to make her both somewhat the stereotypical WAG but at the same time there was also a lot more to her.
Despite this there was one thing that made THIS CHILD OF MINE a really difficult read for me: I found certain of the characters reactions to some revelations in the novel to be a bit unbelievable. I just didn’t understand how one of the characters could equate a series of what seem to be coincidences to mean that she had been kidnapped as a child. I mean, she was supposed to be have a very close relationship with her mother – I just don’t understand how she could make that leap, why it would even occur to her. Nor do I understand why her first instinct is to get in touch with the woman who she thinks is her birth mother and then why no one* thinks taking a blood test might be a good idea. The book just lost me at that point.
Having said that, I think Sinéad Moriarty was brave to cover the topics she does in the book and to offer more than one point of view on it. With the cases that were in the news in late October THIS CHILD OF MINE is actually quite a relevant, and interesting book. Although I found certain aspects of the book difficult to understand, and therefore enjoy at times. I did find Moriarty’s characterisation to be brilliantly done on the whole, and I think I will give at least one of her other books a go.
* One of the characters does suggest this, but is quickly dismissed,