The CCTV footage shows a young woman pushing through the hospital doors.
She walks into the nursery, picks up a baby and places her carefully in a shopping bag.
She walks out to the car park, towards an old Ford Corolla. For a moment, she holds the child gently against her breast and, with her eyes closed, she smells her.
Then she clips the baby into the car, gets in and drives off. This is where the footage ends.
What happens next will leave a mother devastated, and a little boy adrift in a world he will never understand.
This book starts with a woman taking a baby from a hospital but the reader should take note of the ‘From the Author’ before this where Caroline Overington explains that she has been a journalist reporting on child neglect and child murder.
I’ll be honest the beginning of this story confused me slightly. Med Atley has been asked to provide a witness statement about his grandchild but how does this link to the stolen baby? All soon becomes clear with the majority of this book taking the form of a letter to the judge thereby telling the story in reverse. This letter written in a realistic style of a man born in the 1950’s, not a sophisticated telling, but one man’s view of the truth of what has happened to lead up to this court case. It all starts with Med’s family as a boy, follows him through to how he marries and onto his own children. Slowly the reader is able to put parts of the jigsaw into place.
I couldn’t stop reading this book which although sad is never mawkish. Few judgements are made by the author, despite it concerning a court case. What you take from letter and how you believe things should have happened is down to the reader to decide. Unfortunately it appears to be only too real. Although this is set in Australia could actually be anywhere in the Western world. We have all, only too often, read or seen on the news aspects of the events in this novel.
Despite the difficult subject matter I really did like this book with its gentle characterisation and Med’s successfully understated responses to the actions of himself and others.
I received a free copy of this book in return for this honest review.
- Books and You (alexandracraig4.wordpress.com)