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Wednesday 24 July 2019

The Swap by Fiona Mitchell @FionaMoMitchell #TheSwap @HodderBooks #HolidayReads

Two women. Two children. But whose is whose?

When two strangers, Tess and Annie, undergo IVF at an American clinic, their embryos are mixed up and each woman gives birth to the wrong child.
The women only discover the devastating error three years later. Tess wants to swap the children back; Annie doesn't. As the pair wrangle, neither of them expect what unfolds.

The Swap by Fiona Mitchell was published in hardback by Hodder Books on 18 April 2019, the paperback edition will be published on 19 September 2019 here in the UK.

I read this book whilst on holiday in Corfu at the beginning of June and enjoyed every page of it. The concept is intriguing and it's really well executed.
I'm often wary of plot lines that involve the mother/child relationship as I don't have children and quite often I find it difficult to put myself in a similar situation. I'm not a hard, heartless person, but it can be a barrier to my enjoyment of a novel.
However, I am a daughter, I do have a mother, so I know that incredible, no holds-barred love that mothers exude. I know that regardless of how many mistakes I make, my mother will still be there, still loving me, still protecting me, even in my 50s.

The Swap revolves around two very different families.
Tess and her family live in England, her youngest son Frankie was conceived by IVF, and whilst Tess does love Frankie, she finds it very difficult to like him. She was desperate for a daughter to complete her family, and Frankie is not like her other sons. He looks different, his behaviour is challenging; she finds it so difficult to bond with him.

Annie and her family are based in the US. A small, but perfectly happy family of three. Her daughter Willow is also an IVF baby; conceived in the same clinic as Frankie. Willow is everything that Annie dreamt of; the perfect beautiful daughter that she longed for.

Tess and Frankie are involved in a car accident, and whilst neither of them are badly injured, this accident will transform their lives forever. Blood tests reveal that it is impossible for Frankie to be their son. Whilst this news is devastating; it also means that Tess can look for her real child.
When Annie receives a letter from the clinic to inform her that there was a dreadful mistake made, and that Willow is not her daughter, she goes into denial. There is no way that Annie is letting Willow go, as far as she is concerned, she is every bit her daughter.

What follows is a complex story that follows the almost impossible dilemma faced by these two women, and their partners. The author writes so sensitively, taking into account the differences in circumstances of the families and their totally opposite opinions.

The searing anguish experienced by the characters in The Swap is so very well portrayed, and I found myself questioning the characters, and myself at many times throughout the story.

This is powerful stuff, excellently written, with characters who are lifelike and credible. I enjoyed this so much and look forward to more from this author in the future.

Fiona Mitchell's second novel, The Swap, published by Hodder & Stoughton, looks at what happens when two women who undergo IVF are implanted with the wrong embryos, but only find out three years later.

Her first novel, The Maid's Room, focuses on modern-day servitude in Singapore. It has won many plaudits from newspapers and magazines including Heat who called it 'genuinely excellent.'

A former journalist, Fiona also writes short stories for which she has won various awards. 

She blogs at You can also find her on Twitter @FionaMoMitchell

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