Book Review: ‘Let Her Go’ by Dawn Barker

Today I’m thrilled to be reviewing Dawn Barker’s new novel ‘Let Her Go‘, an emotional tale of surrogacy, motherhood and trust.

Disclosure: I received a copy of Let Her Go for review. The opinions below are my own and unbiased.

Zoe and Nadia grew up as step-sisters from a young age. Now both are married but while Nadia has three children, Zoe has been struggling with fertility issues. When she is told that she is definitely unable to have children, she is devastated. So when Nadia offers to act as a surrogate, Zoe is over the moon and immensely grateful. It seems like the perfect solution.

But when Louise is born, it’s soon obvious that there are huge emotional complications to their situation. Zoe doesn’t trust Nadia to stick to her side of the deal, and it turns out that she is right to have doubts.

Let Her Go has a tense opening, describing a mother fleeing with her baby. Dawn Barker then takes the reader back to when Zoe finds out that she is unable to conceive and the pressure it puts on her marriage. We also see the pressure that it puts on her immediate family, as well as the guilt that Nadia feels about having a ‘perfect’ family while her step-sister grieves for the family she can not have.

The account of Nadia’s pregnancy and the months after Louise’s birth is interspersed with scenes from teenage Louise’s life. She’s very much a troubled teen, and life at home is difficult for both her and her parents. I really enjoyed the way that Dawn Barker writes these scenes, because it keeps the reader guessing about how the Nadia/Zoe/Louise situation finally plays out.

Surrogacy is a very emotional subject that I haven’t read about much in novels. Having a close relative as Louise’s surrogate mum increases the emotional turmoil, and it also makes it hard for the reader to take sides. Did I feel sorry for Nadia having to give up her biological daughter? Absolutely. But does that mean that I condone the course of action she takes? Probably not, but I could understand it.

Let Her Go definitely puts the reader through an emotional wringer, and I found it very hard to put this book down. It doesn’t feel as emotional manipulative as some similar books I have read, and Dawn Barker’s writing is excellent. The storylines regarding baby Louise and teenage Louise both build to a dramatic conclusion. Dawn Barker manages to keep this conclusion fairly well hidden right up to the final chapters. I felt that all of the loose ends were tied up well, in a very satisfying ending.

This is an excellent book, and I’d recommend Let Her Go to anyone who enjoys books by Jodi Picoult or similar.

The blurb:

Could you share your child with someone else?

Zoe wanted a baby more than anything. But her dreams will come at a price…

After years of struggling to conceive, Zoe and her husband face the prospect of never having a family. When Zoe’s stepsister, Nadia, offers to be a surrogate it presents the perfect solution. A healthy girl, Louise, is born.

But no one imagined just how hard it would be to know someone else was also mother to your child. As the pressure on Zoe and Nadia mounts, they make choices that there is no going back from.

Years later, Louise is in desperate need of her family’s help. Can they put their painful history aside to save the child they love so much?

A tense, emotional story of surrogacy and motherhood: 8/10

Let Her Go is available now in Kindle format, published by Canelo

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