After a health scare, Brighton-based Lou is forced to confront the fact that her time to have a baby is running out. She can’t imagine a future without children, but it seems her partner doesn’t feel the same way, and she’s not sure whether she could go it alone.
Meanwhile, up in Yorkshire, Cath is longing to start a family with her husband, Rich. No one would be happier to have a child than Rich, but Cath is infertile.
Could these strangers help one another out?
The Two Week Wait is Sarah Rayner’s fourth novel. Her last book, One Moment, One Morning has sold over 200,000 copies in the UK and I’d been hearing lots of good things about The Two Week Wait so when I was offered a review copy, I jumped at the chance. I haven’t read any of Sarah’s previous novels so approached the book with an open mind but expecting an emotional read based on the synopsis. What I found was a fantastic read that absorbed me more than any book has in a long time. I read it in two days because I just couldn’t put it down; I just had to know what happened to Lou and Cath and their hopes for becoming mothers.
I became totally involved in both Lou and Cath’s stories from almost the first page. The narrative doesn’t hang around and events move swiftly as Lou’s health scare prompts her to consider parenthood sooner than she thought and Cath is determined to explore all of the options for having children despite her own infertility. Rayner has clearly done her research and the novel gives a very clear insight into the practicalities of the IVF and egg donation process which combined with the emotional exploration of the subject taking in Cath and Lou’s experiences and the thoughts and feelings of their partners, friends and families gave me as a reader much to think about as the story progressed.
Rayner explores the topic of IVF treatment and egg donation from a myriad of angles and I was impressed by just how many varied viewpoints she wove into the novel whilst maintaining the personal and emotional connection with Lou and Cath. I loved that the book wasn’t black and white about parenthood and raising children and I’d highly recommend this book to book groups as I imagine there could be some really lively discussions arising from it.
For fans of Rayner’s previous novel, One Moment, One Morning, a number of the characters from that novel are present in this one, including Lou but there are also new characters including Cath, her partner Rich and their families. You don’t need to have read one book to enjoy the other although, having enjoyed Rayner’s writing so much, I do plan to read her other novels now.
It fascinated me that the two key characters never meet yet are so intimately involved in each others’ lives and the book is cleverly written to maintain the two stories in separation. Rayner’s writing and style reminded me of one of my favourite authors, Maggie O’Farrell in the way that she gets to the heart of her characters emotions and puts them on the page beautifully. As a mum, I think I would have had a strong emotional connection to the book anyway but Rayner took that connection to another level through the depth of feeling that she provoked in me for her characters.
The story is told in alternating ‘snapshopts’ featuring Lou and Cath which makes for great pace and gripping reading. I was so wrapped up in events that I was telling my husband about them as though they were happening to friends of mine. Rayner held my attention right to the last page with an epilogue that made me cry. This book is absolutely deserving of my first 5/5 for a 2012 release and I highly recommend it to readers looking for a sensitive, warm and absorbing read.
The Two Week Wait is available exclusively from Waterstons now and will be available on general release on March 1st.
You can find out more about Sarah Rayner and her novels on her website at: http://www.thecreativepumpkin.com/
With thanks to Emma at ed public relations for sending me a review copy.