The Swallow's Nest by Emilie Richards
Rating: Very Good
Three women fight for the chance to raise the child they've all come to love
When Lilia Swallow's husband, Graham, goes into remission after a challenging year of treatment for lymphoma, the home and lifestyle blogger throws a party. Their best friends and colleagues attend to celebrate his recovery, but just as the party is in full swing, a new guest arrives. She presents Lilia with a beautiful baby boy, and vanishes.
Toby is Graham's darkest secret, his son, conceived in a moment of despair. Lilia is utterly unprepared for the betrayal the baby represents, and perhaps more so for the love she begins to feel once her shock subsides. Now this unasked-for, precious gift becomes a life-changer for three women: Lilia, who takes him into her home and heart; Marina, who bore and abandoned him until circumstance and grief change her mind; and Ellen, who sees in him a chance to correct the mistakes she made with her own son, Toby's father.
A custody battle begins, and each would-be mother must examine her heart, confront her choices and weigh her dreams against the fate of one vulnerable little boy. Each woman will redefine family, belonging and love and the results will alter the course of not only their lives, but also the lives of everyone they care for.
Genre: Fiction - Contemporary
Why I Picked This Book: I've been a fan of Emilie Richards' books for years so I couldn't resist this newest book.
My Impression: This is a challenging subject. A custody battle is always unpleasant but especially when a small child with no voice is involved. Toby is so young, so helpless, and so completely at the mercy of the people fighting over him and a court decision that it's heartbreaking. Honestly, if this book had been written by anyone other than Emilie Richards I probably would have passed on this one. Richards keeps this topic from becoming too grim or depressing without ever trivializing the issue or the emotions involved.
I loved Lilia. She isn't perfect but she's trying her best. Her reaction to Toby and the situation felt very realistic. No one knows exactly how they'll react to unthinkable situations and at first I don't Lilia knew how to react but her struggles worked both for the situation and for the character. Lilia is also a lifestyle blogger whose blog is the family's primary source of income. It's not something she can abandon and it was interesting to see how she managed to talk about the changes in her life. Marina and Ellen are much harder to like and sympathize with (especially Marina) but I did feel like I understood both women. While their actions and choices were questionable at times they weren't one note villains.
The ending was touching and felt complete without being too pat. It was one of those books that when you finish you just sit for a moment reflecting. I felt like I knew these characters and that I had been fully in their world. This was a wonderful reminder of why I love Emilie Richards' books so much.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author: Absolutely! After reading this book I went to my library and got out a bunch of books that I hadn't read yet. I'm looking forward to some binge reading.
Would I Recommend this Book? Absolutely! If you enjoy books with real emotional connections and wonderful but flawed characters you really must try Emilie Richards.