Leaving Haven by Kathleen McCleary

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Leaving Haven by Kathleen McCleary

Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: A long waited for baby arrives just as his mother's world collapses around her. It's not his fault, but can she be the woman she needs to be to take care of him right now? Compelling and comforting fiction.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 304 Date: November 2013
Publisher: WILLIAM MORROW
ISBN: 978-0062106261

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After years of trying for a second child, Georgia is over the moon to conceive using an egg donated by her best friend Alice. The pregnancy progresses well and everything is looking rosy for Georgia and husband John until, with mere weeks to go, she uncovers a devastating secret that changes everything, including her ability to love her new baby, Haven.

If you dislike books where the heroine is a bit wishy-washy and stays in a situation even though she knows it’s bad for her, you don’t need to worry because Georgia is not that woman. Perhaps the surprising thing here, is that the situation she doesn’t stay in involves a newborn she’s just delivered. It’s pretty much justified given what’s happened up to this point, but can she really just up and leave a baby like that? Can any mother?

In this book we jump around a lot. First Georgia is talking, then Alice. They’re in the present, and then they’re back in the past, growing up, meeting their respective husbands, having their first babies. I really hoped the book would catch up to the present and keep going into the future rather than just stop there, and it did just that, about half way through. Even though the story hurdles around in different directions, I didn’t find it distracting, despite the potential for it to be so. I wasn’t that concerned about the dates, but I found the additional time references, such as Ten months earlier, helpful because it meant you weren’t left trying to do mental arithmetic when you should have been focussing on the story. Or to put it another way, you got to skip the maths in favour of the English.

The plot isn’t wildly original, just a few tweaks on any number of stories you may have read before, but key details, like the three sisters and their relationship, keep it feeling unique and unpredictable. This is a book about middle class Americans who have very first world problems and it’s generically north eastern without many references to key landmarks or neighbourhoods you might be familiar with, even if you’ve passed through the area. However, what do feature are some institutions of American life that mean you cannot forget which side of the pond you’re on: summer camp, holiday cabins by the lake, Amtrak and so on.

I really enjoyed this book and spent a happy weekend snug on a sofa, ignoring the outside world while I lost myself in Georgia’s instead. It is a book about families and about friendships, and the way either can betray you, and although I found the ending a tiny bit frantic compared to the way the earlier part of the story had ambled along, I liked where the story ultimately ended up.

Thanks go to the publishers for supplying this book.

The style of this book was comfortingly reminiscent of the books I've read by Elin Hilderbrand and also of The Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan

Buy Leaving Haven by Kathleen McCleary at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Leaving Haven by Kathleen McCleary at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Leaving Haven by Kathleen McCleary at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Leaving Haven by Kathleen McCleary at Amazon.com.


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