Stolen Child by Laura Elliot
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Carla Kelley is a beautiful and famous model, whose career is only heightened by her pregnancy, as she advertises the maternity line, "Anticipation." Susanne Dowling, meanwhile, lives a quiet and sad life, punctuated by several heart-breaking miscarriages. Her last one seems destined to send her over the edge.
Shortly after Carla's baby, Isobel, is born, the baby vanishes from the hospital without a trace. The media descends upon the model and her husband, ruining his undercover detective career and threatening their marriage.
Meanwhile, Susanne and her husband, David, are basking in happiness: their new baby girl, Joy. Susanne finally has the baby she's always wanted. But is she happy?
The book alternates between Carla and Susanne's points of view and eventually, once she's old enough, we hear from Joy as well. While the story is compelling, I had a hard time getting into the novel as neither Carla and Susanne present as very sympathetic characters, despite their losses. The book becomes more interesting as Joy ages and can tell her side of the story. Much of the tale is more a study in personalities and psychology than a page-turning search for a child. The reader is always aware where the "stolen child" is, even if her parents are not.
Overall, it's an intriguing read (and an interesting description of a scenario that terrifies many parents - I know I felt agonized reading the moments where Isobel is stolen), if not a little slow at times, with some characters who, while human and complicated, won't always elicit a lot of sympathy.
(Note: I received a digital copy of this novel in return for an unbiased review.)
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