Sinéad Moriarty’s breathtaking novel, This Child of Mine, is the story of two daughters, two mothers and the extraordinary bond of motherly love. It’s a unique blend of the storytelling genius of Jodi Picoult and the compassion and humour of Marian Keyes, in a complex and deeply involving story that will have readers arguing about the nature of motherhood and the rights and wrongs of the characters’ actions.
Sophie is a happy 18-year-old living in London with Anna, her Irish mother. Anna has devoted her life to Sophie. It may be just the two of them but Anna has more than enough love to give. Sophie has everything she could ever need.
Laura is a not-so-happy artist. She too has a daughter, Mandy. But Laura is haunted by the loss of her first child, Jody. Happy-go-lucky as she is, Mandy lives in Jody’s shadow and wonders why her mother can never let go.
Both mothers carry secrets and cannot forget the day their paths crossed. But a chance discovery is about to bring everything into the open and mothers and daughters, love and lies, past and future, will spectacularly collide.
Don’t spread it around, but I wasn’t particularly complimentary about Sinéad Moriarty’s Mad About You. I felt bad about it, but it just didn’t work as a stand-alone for me, and – although there was much I liked about it – I just wished I’d read the earlier books before jumping in. But I’m delighted to tell you that my reaction to this one is entirely different – it has strong characters, a thoroughly enjoyable and convoluted story, moral dilemmas that touch your heart, wonderful touches of humour, and it’s a really lovely read.
This is quite a difficult one to review though, because I really don’t want to spoil it for anyone. The two central characters – Anna and Laura – have real depth and complexity, and their stories are sensitively told, emotional and heartbreaking: this is a story that should have you taking sides, but both are so sympathetic that it’s difficult to do so. I loved some of the supporting characters too – Holly the archetypal excited teen, the salt-of-the-earth Lexie (I have such a vivid image of her), Mandy the angst-ridden young teen with her aspirations for songwriter stardom, grandmother Joan and the wonderful Joe. The humour is always there, despite the harrowing story line, and I particularly loved some of the classroom scenes shot through with the humour of children. All this is done in the author’s relaxed and chatty writing style that makes it an easy read in many ways, but the emotional depth of the story makes it more challenging. I really enjoyed it.
My thanks to netgalley and publishers Penguin for my e-copy.
Sinéad Moriarty’s novels have sold over half a million copies in Ireland and the UK and she is a four times nominee for the popular fiction Irish Book Award. She has won over readers and critics telling stories that are funny, humane, moving and relevant to modern women. Sinéad Moriarty lives with her family in Dublin. Her previous titles are: The Baby Trail; A Perfect Match; From Here to Maternity; In My Sister’s Shoes; Keeping It In the Family (also titled Whose Life is it Anyway?); Pieces of My Heart and Me and My Sisters.
I’m really thrilled to welcome Sinéad to my blog to answer a few questions.
Where did the idea for this book come from?
I have always been fascinated about the Nature versus Nurture debate. It’s really about the moral dilemma of ‘would you take a child if you thought its life was in danger’
What can you tell us about the story that won’t spoil it for readers?
I decided to write a story about a woman who sees a child being badly neglected and takes it because she thinks she can give it a better life. I really just want the novel to make people pause and think. What would you do in that situation….Who is right? Who is wrong?
How and where do you write? It must be so difficult with three small children…
I write at home in a small office when the children are at school and during any other hours that I can carve out at night (if I’m not falling asleep that is!)
Eight books now – which is your personal favourite?
I think the first one – The Baby Trail. I got so much personal angst out while writing about infertility and also had a lot of fun writing it. I think it was very cathartic. I went on to have three children of my own and I always think that writing The Baby Trail brought me luck.
I notice that This Child of Mine went straight to number one in the Irish charts – do you still find that a thrill?
Absolutely! I never, ever expect anything. I don’t think any writer ever becomes complacent. It’s so gratifying when people spend their hard earned money to read your book.
The Independent said that to date there have been six Irish women authors who can guarantee their publishers a number one – Maeve Binchy, Marian Keyes, Cathy Kelly, Sheila O’Flanagan, Patricia Scanlan and Cecelia Ahern. They then added you as number seven. How does that feel?
I honestly had to pinch myself.
And what’s next?
I’m working away on a sequel to Me and My Sisters which I had a huge reaction to. I hope the sequel will live up to the first book!
Giveaway now closed, and the randomly selected winner was Joan Hill. Well done Joan – I’ll be letting Catherine have your address, and the book will be sent direct from the publishers.
My thanks to Sinéad for joining me. As well as arranging the interview with Sinéad, my many thanks to Catherine Ryan Howard at Penguin Books for offering a copy of this lovely book for me to give away to a UK reader. To win, please follow my blog and post a comment below by midnight 26thOctober: I’ll put the names in a hat to pick the lucky winner.