Amanda Brookfield’s latest book, The Love Child, tells the story of estranged parents Dougie and Janine. There were many reasons why they separated and the only reason that they now have any contact with each other is because of both wanting to do the best they can for their daughter, Stevie. Things change though and Janine’s new partner wants her to go and live with him in Sweden where he is taking up a new job. This means that sixteen year old Stevie will need to live with Dougie full time. This is an ideal solution although heart wrenching for Janine having to let her daughter go. However, when one of Dougie’s friends takes advantage of Stevie and leaves her with a very real possibility of being pregnant, Janine feels a long way away from her daughter. Unexpectedly, she feels a long way away from Dougie too.
The story follows the separate lives of Janine and Dougie as well as some of their friends. There are many upsets and traumas as each character grapples with difficulties in their lives. All their interwoven stories make fascinating reading and it’s most enjoyable to be caught up in all of their different tales. Amanda Brookfield always creates interesting and believable characters and that is definitely the case in The Love Child.
The issues she deals with – such as the trials of bringing up a teenage daughter; the angst of desperately wanting to conceive a child; the trauma of discovering that someone you care about has a life threatening illness – are all ones that many readers will be able to relate too. It’s her ability to weave these issues into an absorbing story that makes The Love Child such an absorbing read. There is always a need to keep turning the pages to find out what happens to all the characters that the reader gets to know so well.
My only slight niggle is that The Love Child is quite a long read with about 500 pages and there were just a few instances where I felt that it lacked pace. Overall though, it’s an absorbing and enjoyable read and one that I definitely recommend.
The Love Child by Amanda Brookfield
Published by Michael Joseph, January 2013
With thanks to the publisher for sending the review copy.
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