Published By: Hodder and Stoughton
Released On: 11/08/2022
2017: When Angela discovers a mysterious letter containing a life-shattering confession in a stack of forgotten letters, she begins to look for the intended recipient. Her search takes her to the 1970s and 80s, when a group of daring women operated an illegal underground abortion network known only by its whispered code name: Jane . . .
1971: As a teenager, Dr. Evelyn Taylor was forced to give her baby up for adoption. Swearing she’ll do everything she can to make sure other women have the right to choose, she joins the Jane Network to provide safe but illegal abortions. There, she crosses paths with Nancy, who was told that if she ever found herself ‘in a position’, she should ask for Jane. Nancy soon becomes the Network’s newest volunteer, desperately trying to help others while family secrets threaten everything she knows to be true.
Over the years, Evelyn, Nancy, and Angela’s lives intertwine to reveal the devastating consequences that come from a lack of choice, and the buried secrets that will always find a way to the surface . . .
Thanks to NetGalley and Hodder and Stoughton for the advanced copy of this title in return for an honest review.
There are some books that I find easy to write; and then there are others where I struggle to fully convey how the story makes a reader feel – and this is one of those. But I’ll start by saying this deserves all the 5 star reviews.
I warn you, this book isn’t for the faint hearted. It has the possibility to break your heart over and over again, and yet it is the complete opposite of sad or miserable. Yes, there are moments that aren’t what you would call happy, but there’s an undercurrent of hope running through it.
There’s three main point-of-views, three time periods which I thought would be a little confusing, a little muddled, but they’re all written in their own ways that it’s easy to differentiate, but they’re not isolated. Whilst they are their own stories, you can fully understand how and why they all link together.
Any stories that involves illegal abortions, immoral adoptions and young mothers forced into hiding gets my goat, even in fictional books. It just makes me so angry. I know it was a different time with different believes in the years this book is set, but I just cannot get my head round how anyone thought it acceptable. I don’t want to get politician but I do think this book is quite timely, what with the change in some countries’ abortion laws. Whilst this isn’t based on one true story, it is influenced by real-life practices and it’s been done so carefully and with such sensitivity, it’s really beautiful.
There is so much packed into this book, so much plot but also so much emotion. Gut-wrenching devastation as well as heart warming joy.
I cannot believe this is Heather’s debut book. I don’t like to compare books with others, as they all have their own merits. But this definitely feels like it’s been written by a master of their craft, something that’s been honed over many years.
People say that you can get a ‘book hangover’ when you read a good book, you get the inability to start a new book because you’re still living in the last one. And I totally get that. I don’t think I’ll forget this book for a long time coming, and I don’t want to forget it. It’s gorgeous and I will recommend it for any man or woman looking for a good read.