ARC review: The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: AmazonTBDGoodreads
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
Source: ARC from publisher (via Netgalley)

When Caroline Sears receives the news that her unborn baby girl has a heart defect, she is devastated. It is 1970 and there seems to be little that can be done. But her brother-in-law, a physicist, tells her that perhaps there is. Hunter appeared in their lives just a few years before—and his appearance was as mysterious as his past. With no family, no friends, and a background shrouded in secrets, Hunter embraced the Sears family and never looked back.

Now, Hunter is telling her that something can be done about her baby’s heart. Something that will shatter every preconceived notion that Caroline has. Something that will require a kind of strength and courage that Caroline never knew existed. Something that will mean a mind-bending leap of faith on Caroline’s part.

And all for the love of her unborn child.

I haven’t read a ton of Diane Chamberlain — after all, this is her 26th book and only the fourth that I’ve read — but I would consider myself a fan. I was so happy to get an email from St. Martin’s Press offering me an ARC of this book. St. Martin’s really is the best.

The premise was so interesting and definitely a big change from the kind of books I usually associate with Diane Chamberlain. Time travel books can be pretty hit or miss for me, and I was a little concerned that I wouldn’t be able to suspend my disbelief at that aspect of the story, but it ended up working out pretty well. I can’t really tell you whether the method of time travel is at all realistic, but it seems to make sense within the context of the book.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, but it’s not my favorite of Chamberlain’s. It raised interesting questions of how far you’d go to save your child and what you’d do to ensure your child’s happiness. I struggled a little bit with the pacing and I didn’t always connect with the characters, but it was a good story.

If you enjoy books like The Time Traveler’s Wife, I would absolutely recommend it.

Previously: Necessary Lies • Pretending to Dance • The Stolen Marriage

Have you read The Dream Daughter? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book queue

It’s been a busy three days when it comes to galleys!  Thinking that I’d only be approved for one or two if I was lucky, I requested a whole ton of books on Netgalley earlier this week.  Then, as I was sitting at my desk, minding my own business and trying to do the job that I actually get paid for, my phone started blowing up.  Seriously, notification after notification was rolling in and I had no idea what was going on.

I had a constant flow of emails from Netgalley, which was so unexpected!  Not only was I approved for five galleys that I’d requested, but I was invited to read Alice Hoffman’s new book!

I’m already knee-deep in The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash, so, what’s next?

What’s next in your reading queue?

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Pretending to Dance was my second book by Diane Chamberlain, and I was not disappointed.  It’s told in the alternating voices of Molly as a teenager and Molly as an adult, and the plot twists and mysteries seem neverending.

In the present, Molly and her husband are working to adopt a child, knowing that Molly cannot conceive.  They undergo interviews, background checks, and home visits, all of which put them one step closer to their future child, and all of which send Molly’s thoughts back to her adolescence.

In the past, Molly as a fourteen-year-old girl adores her father, a therapist with a particularly quick-progressing form of multiple sclerosis.  Her mother, on the other hand, is cold and distant.  As Molly spends the summer helping her father, she also experiences her first love and learns about family secrets that she might not have expected.

Pretending to Dance is an easy, fast-paced book.  The characters feel alive, the story never drags, and the writing is wonderful.  For fear of spoilers, and since the book’s release date is so far off, I don’t want to go into too much detail in this review.

Let me just say that this book is not to be missed, and I would highly recommend pre-ordering it.

Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC!

Final rating: ★★★★☆

Giveaway alert!

I read Necessary Lies earlier this year, and it’s one of my few five-star books in recent memory.

It is 1960 in North Carolina and the lives of Ivy Hart and Jane Forrester couldn’t be more different. Fifteen-year-old Ivy lives with her family as tenants on a small tobacco farm, but when her parents die, Ivy is left to care for her grandmother, older sister, and nephew. As she struggles with her grandmother’s aging, her sister’s mental illness, and her own epilepsy, she realizes they might need more than she can give.

When Jane Forrester takes a position as Grace County’s newest social worker, she is given the task of recommending which of her clients should be sterilized without their knowledge or consent. The state’s rationalization is that if her clients are poor, or ill, or deemed in some way “unfit” they should not be allowed to have children. But soon Jane becomes emotionally invested in her clients’ lives, causing tension with her new husband and her supervisors. No one understands why Jane would want to become a caseworker for the Department of Public Health when she could be a housewife and Junior League member. As Jane is drawn in by the Hart women, she begins to discover the secrets of the small farm—secrets much darker than she would have guessed. Soon, she must decide whether to take drastic action to help them, or risk losing a life-changing battle.

Necessary Lies is the story of these two young women, seemingly worlds apart, but both haunted by tragedy. Jane and Ivy are thrown together and must ask themselves: How can you know what you believe is right, when everyone is telling you it’s wrong?

Goodreads currently has 10 copies available for giveaway, so enter to win if it sounds like something you’d be interested in!

Goodreads | Amazon

Jane Forrester just wants to help people. It’s as simple as that. So she takes a job as a social worker, and while her husband isn’t exactly on board with that idea, he allows it. It’s the 1960’s and it’s just not proper for the wife of a physician to work, but Jane is strong-willed, independent, and unsatisfied with simply playing the role of a subservient housewife. As a social worker, she’ll get to help people. She’ll bring them much-needed supplies, much-needed money, much-needed assistance. Or so she thinks.

Assigned to a few families in rural North Carolina, her job is nothing like what she imagined, and the Hart family quickly sucks her in. Ivy Hart is practically running the family at fifteen years old. Her parents are gone. Her grandmother, Nonnie, is sick. Her older sister, Mary Ella, has some intellectual problems. And Mary Ella’s son, Baby William, while well-loved, isn’t well-cared for. Ivy, Mary Ella, and occasionally Nonnie work on a tobacco farm, barely earning enough to keep themselves fed, even with the extra assistance from the state. Jane gradually becomes more and more involved with this family, bending the rules and paying them extra attention.

When she finds out that a large part of her job is ordering the sterilization of at-risk children, such as Ivy, her world comes crumbling down around her. It seems so wrong to her, to sterilize these girls without their consent, without their knowledge – yet to her coworkers, it’s common practice. As Jane protests more and more vigorously against the sterilization, she puts her job – and her marriage – at risk.

I was pulled into this novel from the very first sentence, and I was absolutely done for by the time Jane got her job as a social worker. I couldn’t believe what I was reading about the eugenics program – in all the history classes I’ve taken, all the college courses I sat through, all the books I’ve read, I never once heard about this awful program. I had to research it myself, see if it was true, and the horrifying part is that it was. North Carolina had a particularly aggressive eugenics program, approving nearly all proposals involving the “mentally defective,” “feebleminded,” or those with epilepsy. Knowing that this book is based on real events is chilling.

If I could give this book more than five stars, I would. Not only is it incredibly well-written, it’s such an important topic. Highly, highly recommended.

Final rating: