26 September 2023

Hold My Girl

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

By Charlene Carr, Welbeck Publishing Group, $32.99.

It’s said IVF is a numbers game. There is the joy, despite the hardships, when a healthy baby arrives.

However, not many can fathom the heartache that prospective parents undergo during the process. It can be mentally, physically and emotionally painful and stressful. A long struggle to conceive may exact a brutal toll.

What’s more, imagine the shock and anguish when you are told the eggs were interchanged during IVF. Such was the case with Katherine and Tess. Two women. Two eggs. One switch. It’ll take a custody battle like no other to decide who really deserves to be the baby’s mother – a battle that will push both women to the brink.

This tense and emotional novel follows the fallout after two women’s eggs are switched during IVF.

After years of struggling to conceive with her partner, Patrick, Katherine finally gives birth to Rose, her IVF miracle child. However, there’s niggling doubt in her mind that Rose may not be her daughter, as her pale skin did not match hers.

Unlike Katherine, Tess – another hopeful IVF mother – never got her happy ending as her daughter, Hanna, was stillborn. Now divorced, broke and stuck in a dead-end job, she’s beginning to lose all hope.

When Rose is 10 months old, both women get a call from the fertility clinic. There was a mistake: their eggs were switched.

The moral dilemma is incomprehensible. Other emotions include happiness, sadness, grief and those indescribable heartaches. With themes of racial identity, loss and betrayal, Hold My Girl will leave you considering the various aspects of motherhood.

Considerate, taut and heart-rending, this emotional journey is full of towering highs which can quickly turn to the smallest lows.

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