REVIEW: CLAIMING NOAH, BY AMANDA ORTLEPP

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Desire for a child is at the heart of Claiming Noah, and two couples in pursuit of baby love find themselves in a heartbreaking situation.

James and Catriona Sinclair, living in Sydney, Australia, go through IVF to achieve their goal, and after a couple of miscarriages, they finally reach full term with their son Sebastian. An extra embryo has been set aside, and the couple decide to donate it. Neither wants to risk losing the one remaining embryo through miscarriage.

Liam and Diana Simmons have also had no luck in achieving parenthood, and when their doctor suggests implanting a donor embryo, they have some misgivings. But they finally decide to go for it. Diana becomes pregnant and carries to term, giving birth to Noah.

Life does not go well for either couple, though. Catriona suffers from postpartum psychosis and is hospitalized, and upon her return home, she does not readily bond with Sebastian. She thinks he seems different than he was before, although she cannot pinpoint exactly what is troubling her about him. However a couple of months have gone by, so she puts her feelings down to the separation.

Meanwhile, Diana and Liam are having marital difficulties, with their relationship skidding toward even greater challenges. Then one day, as Diana and Noah go shopping, something happens…and their lives are also upended. In the aftermath, Liam expresses a distinctly cruel side, and the two are living parallel lives. Liam blames Diana, and she blames herself.

To avoid spoilers, I will say no more about the plot, except that what actually unfolds might surprise you. I had some of it figured out right away, but I still enjoyed watching it all reach a conclusion…and then was surprised by the epilogue that gave a peek into the future. I enjoyed this book, although the support characters were flat…and sometimes I didn’t really get a sense of who James was, except through occasional glimpses from the perspectives of others. Liam was a bully, but any other characteristics were also hard to see. Catriona and Diana were drawn in greater detail, and I rooted for them both. 4 stars.

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SERENDIPITOUS TUESDAYS: INTROS/TEASERS – “LEAVING HAVEN”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Should Be Reading.

Today’s featured book is an ARC from Amazon Vine:  Leaving Haven, by Kathleen McCleary.

 

 

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Intro:  (Prologue) – Georgia – June 19, 2012

Georgia sat up in her hospital bed, holding her baby.  She studied his little face—just visible beneath the striped blue and pink knit cap the nurse had pulled over his head after cleaning him off.  She tried to remember how Liza had looked as a newborn, all those years ago.  But this baby didn’t look like Liza, maybe because there was nothing of her, Georgia, in this baby.  Instead John’s features bloomed on this tiny boy—the ears that stuck out just slightly, the dark hair, the full lips.

Outside the window the sun broke through the clouds and streamed into the room.  Georgia noticed the shift in the light, but didn’t take her eyes off the baby in her arms.  She picked up one of his hands, rubbed his palm with her thumb.  His fingers were long—she could see that even in such new, tiny hands—nothing at all like Georgia’s own hands.  The baby opened his eyes.

Georgia gazed at him.  “Hi?”  she said.  “Who are you?”

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Teaser:  (Alice – June 24, 2012)

The one thing Alice had learned since her affair was that no matter how well you thought you knew someone (whether another person or yourself), you could still be surprised, very surprised. (p. 243).

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Blurb:   In Leaving Haven, Kathleen McCleary, author of A Simple Thing, explores the intricacies of love, friendship, and parenthood.

Georgia longs for a baby, but she’s had miscarriage after miscarriage since her daughter was born more than a decade ago. Through a miraculous egg donation, Georgia is thrilled to find herself pregnant—until she makes a startling discovery that changes her mind about how much she really wants the baby…

Georgia’s best friend, Alice, has a happy teenage daughter, a faithful husband, and a perfectly organized life. But her world spins off its axis when she falls for a man who is everything she knows she doesn’t want…

Leaving Haven is a provocative and touching novel that will appeal to readers of contemporary fiction and fans of Jodi Picoult, Luanne Rice, and Kristin Hannah.

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Would you keep reading?  I know that I can’t wait to immerse myself in this story.