The Baby Left Behind by Jen Craven is a totally gripping tale that consumed me from the start. I ‘lived’ through the book as I clung on for an emotional roller coaster read.
The book is about motherhood and the desire for a baby. It seems most unfair that some women get pregnant so easily whilst for others it is a struggle or even impossible. All the carefully laid plans amount to nothing.
In contrast to the full preparation of some, we see a woman thrust unexpectedly into motherhood.
Both women have bonds with a baby. Both women elicit feelings of empathy from the reader. Both women cannot win – there will always be a loser. Where will your sympathies lie?
We see the bonds between mothers and daughters. No matter how old we get, there is nothing a mother will not do for her daughter. There are no regrets just armfuls of love.
Sibling rivalry exists into adulthood. There seems to be the golden girl and the other one. However, when the chips are down, new bonds are formed as a family pulls together.
Actions have consequences. Wise advice would be to think before acting – project to the end before taking the first step.
All the characters were well drawn and provoked a variety of emotional responses from me.
The Baby Left Behind was a gripping tale and one that I can highly recommend.
I received a free copy from the publishers. A favourable review was not required. All opinions are my own.
Take him. Please forgive me. Cate grips the note with trembling hands, looking down at the delicate bundle on her doorstep. As she reaches down to the baby, she knows she has finally got everything she’s ever wished for. But is he hers to take?
Cate tries not to cry as she closes the door on the nursery room once again. All she has ever wanted is to be a mother. Cursed with a medical condition that means she is unable to have children, her only option is to wait for a call from the adoption centre. But that call feels like a lifetime away.
Then she hears a faint cry from outside her house. She’s convinced she’s imagining it, that the grief is starting to overwhelm her. But when she opens her door and looks down, her heart swells. By her feet is the most perfect baby curled up in a soft blanket.
As the newborn’s eyes light up, Cate feels instant love for him. She knows she can’t just accept a stranger’s baby – she has to call the police. But as she picks him up, it all finally feels right. This is where the baby belongs.
But when her darling baby is rushed into hospital, Cate knows that in order to save his life, she needs to expose the lie she has been so desperate to hide. Can Cate discover who the child’s real mother is? And if so, will she be able to make the hardest decision of her life to protect the child?
An emotional story about family, secrets and what makes a good parent. Perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult, Jojo Moyes and Kate Hewitt.
Jen Craven is the author of emotional and suspenseful women’s fiction, stories where one decision changes everything. A former college instructor, she loves dark campus novels, which led to her contemporary debut, Best Years of Your Life, published in August 2022. Her writing style blends poignancy with drama to create what-would-you-do narratives of the human experience.
Aside from fiction, Jen has personal essay bylines in national outlets, including The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Today’s Parent, Scary Mommy and many more.
She writes from northwestern Pennsylvania, where she lives with her husband and three children. When not working on her books, she can be found thrift shopping, taking long walks, and beating her kids in backgammon.
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