In her debut novel, Lucinda Blanchard boldly addresses the controversial subject of gender swaying, trying to ensure the birth of a gender desired baby
Ian and Charlotte (Char) Jackson are happily married and Char is in the last term of her first pregnancy. She is anxious to have a daughter and dreads the thought of having a baby boy. However, as it turns out Luke is born, a lovely and cute baby boy. Although Char acts the happy mother, inwardly she is devastated and crying for the lost feeling of not having the desired daughter. She is ready to do anything it takes to ensure her next baby will be a girl.
All Char wants is a baby girl and that desire is killing her. The reason for her obsession could very well lie in the fact that her elder sister died at age three and, as Char has a very close relationship with her mother, she desperately needs to have this special mother-daughter bond with a daughter of her own. When Char searches on the internet for advice, she stumbles across an online forum for disappointed mothers. The advice given there varies from all sorts of precautions to special diets and sperm selection. One of the mothers there is Bella who, rather surprisingly, lives nearby. As Char embarks on a starvation diet, her mother, Ian, and best friend Rose are shocked to see how obsessed Char is. As the novel is a first-person narrative we, the readers, have an insight into Char’s thoughts and experience her utter disappointment as yet another elaborate scheme devised by Bella falls apart.
The book is remarkably honest and open-hearted, giving us a good insight into the ongoing battle Char is fighting. We watch her struggle and while feeling sorry for Char, as this is a self-imposed battle, we can sympathise with what Char is going through and how she handles the mounting pressure around her. Ian is exhausted from what Char requires from him and his helplessness, witnessing her frailty but not being able to stop her. Even worse, Bella’s influence on Char is becoming dangerously high in the eyes of Ian as Bella is that fixated on having a girl that she is willing to sacrifice everything she has. Ian feels the quest for a girl gets out of control and he blames Char for her selfishness because of her inability to be happy with a healthy newborn baby, regardless of gender. Will Char reach her goal and have a baby girl in the end? Or will she have destroyed everything she loves and cares for?
This first-person narrative provides insight into the world of gender desire. It is hard (or maybe not) to envisage harbouring those thoughts inside of us like Char does, obsessing for a boy or girl. Is it convention withholding us from expressing those feelings, is it shame or embarrassment or just fear of being regarded as ungrateful and mental? Even Char herself realises all that matters is a healthy child by stating that in the event of another boy, she will love him with all the motherly love inside her. And the author also expresses these feelings in her book dedication “For Oliver, James and Sophie, all of whom I love equally, regardless of gender.” By writing such a loving dedication, Lucinda Blanchard states that the story she is cunningly laying before us is not hers, but a work of fiction. It is all the more praiseworthy to have written such an enlightening and well-written psychological novel giving us insight into the world of swaying.
About the AuthorLucinda Blanchard is a British author of contemporary fiction and romance novels. The author was born, raised and still lives on the Isle of Wight apart from a few months backpacking around Australia in her 20s. Lucinda Blanchard is married with three young children.
|Publisher||CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (9 May 2015)|