The Adoption by Anne Berry

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The Adoption by Anne Berry

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Louise Jones
Reviewed by Louise Jones
Summary: Three women talk about how the adoption of a baby called Lucilla changed their lives forever.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 390 Date: February 2013
Publisher: Ebury Press
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780091947057

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It is a sad fact that only a few decades ago, the forced removal of an infant from its unmarried mother was widely considered the best option for all concerned. It is hard to imagine the terrible trauma suffered by these women when the authorities intervened and took away that tiny bundle, destined for a new life with new parents.

Anne Berry tackles this emotive subject in The Adoption. The book has a unique style, weaving together the stories of three very different women: Bethan, the teenage farm-girl, Harriet, the overbearing adoptive mother and Lucilla, the daughter, now a woman in her fifties looking back on her childhood. The story is not linear, but winds backwards and forwards through time, often retelling the same events through the three different pairs of eyes.

Identity is a recurring theme in the novel. What makes Lucilla who she is? Nature or nurture? Is she defined by her past, or can she successfully forge a future for herself by confronting her demons?

All three women are interesting, well-rounded characters and are written with depth and understanding. Berry seems to prefer writing female characters, as most of the men in the story come across as slimy and odious. Even the ‘nice guy’, Lucilla’s husband, had an irritating habit of answering every remark with a Latin proverb, which soon became annoying.

The story itself is absorbing and fascinating. I was really interested to see how all the threads would come together and whether Lucilla would get the happy ending she deserved. Berry is adept at gauging emotion and some of the scenes were absolutely heart-rending to read.

My only slight criticism of the book was the descriptive wording used in the text. For example:

In her baby’s eyes chapters of faraway tropical oceans were inscribed. And there was a gossamer dreaminess, a whimsical insight that would resist any alphabetical order. She had a fey quality....

There is no doubt that the above passage is beautifully written and has a poetic style. The problem is that this sort of writing appears too frequently in the text, smothering the narrative and detracting from the focus of the story. It felt like I was wading through copious amounts of fluff. Page upon page of florid prose and quite a few extended dream sequences had the effect of suffocating me at times.

In conclusion,The Adoption is an emotional story, written in a unique style that will appeal to those who enjoy a gripping and poignant read.

For another emotional adoption story, try The Battle for Christabel by Margaret Forster

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Buy The Adoption by Anne Berry at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Adoption by Anne Berry at


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