4 out of 5 stars.
Today, I’m happy to bring you a review of the newest book by Emilie Richards, The Swallow’s Nest. For the most part, I really enjoyed this book, but I’ll explain why it only received four stars down below.
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When Lilia Swallow’s husband, Graham, goes into remission after a challenging year of treatment for lymphoma, the home and lifestyle blogger throws a party. Their best friends and colleagues attend to celebrate his recovery, but just as the party is in full swing, a new guest arrives. She presents Lilia with a beautiful baby boy, and vanishes.
Toby is Graham’s darkest secret, his son, conceived in a moment of despair. Lilia is utterly unprepared for the betrayal the baby represents, and perhaps more so for the love she begins to feel once her shock subsides. Now this unasked-for, precious gift becomes a life-changer for three women: Lilia, who takes him into her home and heart; Marina, who bore and abandoned him until circumstance and grief change her mind; and Ellen, who sees in him a chance to correct the mistakes she made with her own son, Toby’s father.
A custody battle begins, and each would-be mother must examine her heart, confront her choices and weigh her dreams against the fate of one vulnerable little boy. Each woman will redefine family, belonging and love and the results will alter the course of not only their lives, but also the lives of everyone they care for.
I really enjoyed the first half of this book. The story moved along at a decent pace, the characters were great, it was a delightful read. However, I only gave this book four stars because I felt the second half of the book was just way too long. I felt like it could have been about a third of the length it was and we still would have gotten all the pertinent information.
Our characters are all very strong-willed women. One of them doesn’t seem as strong-willed, but she finds her way and finds her backbone along the way. I enjoyed the interactions between the women and between the men in their lives for the most part. I’m not big on conflict, so of course those pieces weren’t so fun, but strong-willed women make some of the best characters in the world because they know what they want and they go for it with no punches pulled and no holds barred.
The setting descriptions were enough that I was able to imagine the places where the story took place and weren’t too overdone. I’m not always easy to please in this area, so it was nice to see these done well.
As I said above, the pace in the first half of the book was great. We moved along steadily and yet we weren’t moving along so fast that we missed important details. However, I really felt like the second half of the book dragged on and on. I felt that the second half could’ve been cut down to even a third of its original size and we still would have had enough details about the custody struggle.
The overall writing style is good. The prose flows well from section to section, chapter to chapter. I still recommend this book for those who like to read women’s fiction. Perhaps your view on the second half of the book will vary from mine!