Claiming Noah - Amanda Ortlepp

This riveting debut novel of psychological suspense explores the dilemmas that arise when motherhood and science collide.

Catriona Sinclair has always had a well-developed sense of independence--in fact the one sore point in her otherwise happy marriage is her husband James's desire to take care of her. As she's often tried to explain to him, she took care of herself before she met him, and did a good job of it. But James has been especially attentive lately as they struggle to have a baby. They succeed at last through in vitro fertilization, but unwilling to risk the heartbreak of another miscarriage, they decide to make their "spare" frozen embryo available to another family.

Diana and Liam Simmons are desperate for a child. Unable to conceive, they are overjoyed to learn that as the closest genetic match to the Sinclairs they are the recipients of the embryo donation. Diana's only concern is her mother's disapproval of IVF, but any doubts raised are quickly eclipsed by Diana's joy of being pregnant.

As Diana is finding delight in every aspect of motherhood, Catriona keeps waiting for the rush of adoration she knows she is supposed to feel, but instead slips into a deep depression. Just as Catriona begins to find her way back to normalcy, one of the babies is kidnapped. Suddenly, all of their lives begin to unravel and intertwine, and none of them will ever be the same.

What an emotional rollercoaster this was, my goodness.

 

If you've ever thought about what it means to be a mother and how the bond between a child and its mother forms, this will delve deeper into those thoughts. I really enjoyed the discussion about legality and confidentiality in embryonic donation.

 

Diana kind of irritated me throughout most of the book, but I grew to like her after the decisions she made at the end. Catriona, on the other hand, I found to be a complete spitfire, and I really admired how she handled all the really awful situations that life threw at her. The other characters didn't stand out too much to me, and simply felt like placeholders. (Having a gay couple named Tom and Jerry--too perfect. They were also pretty much the only guys in this book who didn't act like complete...selfish meanies.)

 

Postpartum depression is something that should come up more often, and I really appreciated how this book showed that though a woman can be in such a severe state that should consider suicide or infanticide, she could still recover and become a fantastic mother. (Although I was convinced for a while that infanticide had been committed and was unsure how that character would react once she found out.)

 

The plot was pretty believable the whole way through, and I loved hearing about Diana's methods of hunting for Noah and about the police and court proceedings. The epilogue made me tear up, but was quite satisfying.

 

This was well written with a unique and intriguing plot that had me turning the pages (and by turning the pages I mean swiping the kindle app) very quickly. I do recommend, especially for mothers or those who'd like to be a mother. Or maybe not; this might scare would-be-mothers away from motherhood.

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.