REVIEWED BY MAGGIE SWINBURNE
A step into the unknown…
Ever played that game elastics, or French skipping as it was called when many of us were young – when you start off with a loop of elastic bands, at ankle level, and jump in and out, gradually raising them to knees, then thighs and then waist height?
What starts off as a simple proposition gradually gets more and more tricky, until at last it is all you can do to keep your balance, and your head above water.
That’s what The Dream Daughter is like, for both reader and heroine.
From her initial meeting with the charismatic stranger Hunter in hospital through her work as a physiotherapist, our heroine Caroline gradually finds that every step she takes leads her down a path of bravery and drama.
With no family, no friends, and a background shrouded in secrets, Hunter is a mystery man. But Caroline’s family takes him to their hearts, and Hunter marries Caroline’s sister, Patti. The couple form a close-knit bond with Caroline and her husband, Joe – a bond Caroline is grateful for when Joe is reported killed in Vietnam. More heartbreak lies ahead when she is told their unborn baby won’t survive birth.
There are so many heart stopping moments
Then Hunter makes a startling proposition – he can send Caroline somewhere that will save her baby. But only if she is brave enough to step into the unknown.
What follows takes us back and forwards through the years. There are so many heart stopping moments as she strives to do the best for the unborn child, her sadly deceased husband, her family, while at the same time coping with world events such as the Vietnam War, and the atrocity of the Twin Towers on 9/11.
As the reader, just when you think, phew, now everything will be okay (although why I was thinking that when were only half way through the book and we hadn’t even started on the Vietnam War yet) then suddenly everything is thrown up in the air, and all the drama starts again.
For example, Caroline and her sister are close and loving, then suddenly the sister finds out that Hunter and Caroline have been keeping a secret from her – the skies fall in and no one is speaking. Then, just when Caroline’s baby (the Dream Daughter of the title) is just about to make a tiny amount of progress, suddenly the alarms all start ringing and we are all back to square one.
And then there is the mother-in-law, Myra – how can one so cold and distant have a son like Hunter? The questions keep on coming and the drama never stops.
So, of course, you can’t stop reading, and quite often, you have to go and have a lie-down before reading some more!
A journey of mother love and the lengths that a woman would go for her child
Diane Chamberlain is a well-loved and prolific writer, and her writing skill lies in making us suspend our disbelief and take part wholeheartedly in this journey of mother love and the lengths that a woman would go for her child (including the ice-queen mother Myra herself), and telling the story from various points of view makes for even more torment and angst.
A breath-taking, inspiring and emotional read!