It's been eight years since Gen Loxley lost her daughter, Beth: eight years of grief in which nothing's really moved forward, for all that her husband, Art, wills it to. Gen, once a writer of novels, has settled in to a life of half-hearted teaching, while Art makes his name and their fortune - and pressures her into trying IVF once again. For Gen, it seems a cruel act of replacement; life without Beth is unthinkable, unbearable - but still it goes on. And then a woman arrives on Gen's doorstep, saying the very thing she longs to hear: that her daughter was not stillborn, but was spirited away as a healthy child, and is out there, waiting to be found...So why is Art reluctant to get involved? To save his wife from further hurt? Or something much more sinister? What is the truth about Beth Loxley?
Sophie McKenzie is an award winning author of teen thrillers but here she turns for the first time to the adult market. This is the first of her novels that I've read and after the praise I've heard of her teen fiction, I was slightly disappointed.
Obviously Gen wants so very desperately to believe this outrageous tale but she barely for a moment doubts what she is told by a complete stranger and as the story is told in the first person through her eyes and thoughts, that's how the reader feels too; it's an accepted fact from the outset that Gen's baby was stolen and I think this takes some edge off the story. Gen doesn't seem crazy or deluded and her husband's claim that it's all a plot hatched by a business rival to discredit him is laughable, perhaps intentionally.
Unfortunately that's where my empathy for Gen stopped. I couldn't warm to her as a person; she seemed far too naive for her age, ready to trust people on the slightest acquaintance and any anguish or doubt she expressed didn't feel real.
I'd guessed early on who was involved and part of what had happened to baby Beth, so although the story DID keep me turning pages it was only to find out if my guesses were right - I was almost tempted to just turn to the last page and read that..
Publisher - Simon & Schuster
Genre - thriller,
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