I couldn’t put this book down. For all parents it’s a gripping read, a horrible glimpse into a “what if?” land of nightmare. Especially if you’ve had a difficult birth which results in your baby being whisked away into neo-natal care before you’ve even had a chance to take a good look at the child. That’s what happens to Maddie; after an emergency Caesarian when her blood pressure soared, she’s too ill to follow her premature son into NICU. And she doesn’t see him for days. Imagine if that happened to you, and when you finally get to see this tiny person all wired up in an incubator, can you be sure, absolutely sure, that this baby is yours?
Maddie and her partner Pete take baby Theo home; then one day, when Theo is two years old Pete opens the door to find two men outside. One is a private detective; the other is Miles Lambert, who tells Pete bluntly that he, not Pete, is Theo’s real father and he has a DNA test to prove it. Their babies were mixed up in an understaffed NICU, and Miles wants his son back.
I found this story fascinating, not just because of the psychological warfare between two very different fathers but also the warts and all descriptions of the Kafkaesque maze endured by parents in dispute about their children. Social workers, family lawyers, secretive reports on your parenting prowess; it would be enough to drive you crazy. Poor Pete is hopelessly outmanoeuvred by Miles, a wealthy, arrogant psychopath who will stop at nothing to get his son back. Pete, on the other hand, is a decent chap who thinks there must be a civilised solution. There isn’t. “Playing nice” with Miles gets Pete nowhere.
Tense and full of suspense, full of unexpected twists and shocking revelations, this is a terrific read.