I received this book from the publisher in return for a realistic review, and as I promised the review I am going to write it. Though I have to admit, had I not promised, I wouldn’t write one at all. This book brought out a very visceral, very pissed-off vibe in me that really made me want to scream and throw the book across the room. The thing is, that is a personal reaction to the situation in the book, not really a comment on the author or the story, so it isn’t really fair to dump that out there. Maybe she was trying to point out the unfairness of the justice system? Nah, I really think she thought that the male should have the rights the courts gave him – and that is just wrong on so many levels. No matter, really. Although I found the situation Carolyn finds herself in absolutely deplorable, at least one reviewer shares my views, so be that as it may, let’s get on with it.
First, Dr. Caroline Stern. This poor woman has gone through hell, literally. Her husband murdered and her child stolen in the same attack, she suffers for eighteen-months having no idea where her baby is or if he is alive or dead. Devastated at all the loss, she loses herself in her work until, one day, she receives the call – the call that she had hoped, and dreaded, to receive. Yes, they have found her son – and yes, he is alive! Dropping everything, she and her attorney drive off into the night to bring her son home.
Ah, but there is the rub. For the person who has her son is actually the sperm donor she and her husband never meant to use to produce baby Isaac. Jack had thought he had donated his sperm to a surrogate to produce a child of his own for him and his wife to raise. Going to pick up the baby, they had no idea that the child he obtained was indeed made with his sperm, but wasn’t his to have. He was a stolen child. The sperm sample was switched, the donor Carolyn thought she used wasn’t the one she was infused with – it didn’t belong to the donor she and her husband chose. It was Jack’s.
OK, here is where my review gets rough. Jack is an unmitigated shit. He has no redeeming qualities other than the fact that he apparently loves the boy who carries half his DNA. Finding out that this Isaac is actually the child of Caroline and NOT the child carried by the surrogate he had chosen (who had chosen to keep the child she bore herself and not turn him over to Jack, smart woman) he is nasty, vindictive, and vicious to Carolyn. Even when she tries to work with him to arrange visitation, allowing him time with a child he has no right to, simply because he is the sperm donor, he STILL fights her for full custody!!! Uh, not really a loveable guy. In fact, I wanted to cut his throat more than I wanted him to have ANY access to a child. Anyone as nasty and self-centered as him really didn’t deserve to have access to any child, much less a stolen one.
Then there is the whole Amber Alert – you can’t tell me that, with all the pleas for help, the pictures on television of Isaac, a very distinctive child, the heart wrenching story of a man shot to death trying to keep kidnappers from stealing his child, that nobody recognized the child in the photos as the boy now called Ryan? Really?? People, he was only TWO hours away!
Overall, the book hit all my hot buttons about the unfairness of the situation. She carried Isaac through nine months of discomfort, went through hours of agony to have him, gave him the best possibly life with loving parents – then her husband is shot to death in front of her and her baby stolen – and she could have him ripped from her by the courts simply because Jack wanked off in a cup then wiled away his time until the baby ‘cooked’ in the womb of a woman he neither knew, or cared about – and yet he wanted to cut her off from all contact with him, because he was his?? Yep. Hot buttons. Big, huge, bright red hot buttons.