Whose Child? is a surprisingly effective family drama that hits all the right emotional notes. For readers who enjoy the kind of quietly moving story that really touches the heart, this is a good one.
When Lexie Jacobs agreed to be a surrogate for her friend David Mitchell, she didn’t know the truth about David’s wife, who was strangely uninterested in the baby Lexie was carrying. She didn’t know that Angela was married once before, and had been accused of killing her infant child. Terrified about what might happen when she gives this child to the woman, Lexie begged David to listen to her concerns about his wife. When he refused, she did the only thing she could to protect the child she carried: she ran.
Four years passed before David was able to track her down. In the meantime, he and Angela divorced. Later, Angela was accused of murdering the infant grandchild of her new husband, proving that Lexie’s fears were right all along. When David learns that Lexie and his daughter are living in a small Montana town, he goes straight there. He doesn’t know whether to be furious at her for keeping his daughter from him or grateful to her for protecting her. All he wants is to get to know his little girl, who knows only Lexie as her mother.
Lexie knows she has no right to little Sarah. She has no biological tie to David’s daughter, and is lucky that he isn’t pursuing kidnapping charges. But she can’t bear to lose the little girl she raised as her own.
This isn’t the kind of story I usually read and the book was very much a purchase born out of desperation. I guess the best compliment I can give it is that kids aren’t high on the list of topics I’m interested in reading about, yet this book made even me go “Awww” more than once.
This is the kind of story I wouldn’t want to read if it weren’t a romance novel with a guaranteed happy ending. It has the potential to end sadly, and in real life probably would. There are several hard-hitting emotional moments that really makes the reader feel the characters’ pain. David must contend with his daughter rejecting him, as she does more than once. She wants nothing to do with him for a long time, and David’s efforts to be a father, while well-intentioned, often don’t go well. Of course, as the book proceeds a bond slowly forms between father and daughter, until a final moment of acceptance arrives that is all the sweeter because of the effort it took to get there.
Meanwhile, Lexie’s heartache at losing the child she raised is vivid and real. This isn’t the best-written book I’ve ever read, but the author’s adeptness at capturing the emotions of the story and making the reader feel them too is what raises it to another level. When I started the book it seemed fine but unremarkable. But as it went on, the author delivered these keenly felt moments and developed her characters into the type of people we really want to see find a happy ending. The climactic scene is exactly that, a happy ending that is particularly sweet and heartfelt.
There are minor quibbles I could mention, but they wouldn’t really express what reading this book is like. It’s a nicely emotional journey told with a great deal of warmth and heart. It won me over. I think it may do the same for you.