In a hospice in Bury St Edmunds, a man called Daniel is slowly fading away. His friend Maggie sits with him every day; she holds his hand and she listens to the story of his life, to his regrets and to his secrets. And then he tells her about the children he has never met and never will, conceived with women he never even touched. Four of them, apparently, two boys, two girls. His legacy, he calls them.
Lydia, Robyn and Dean don’t know each other. Yet. And they are all facing difficult challenges. Lydia is still wearing the scars from her traumatic childhood and although she is wealthy and successful, her life is lonely and disjointed. Dean is a young man whose life is going nowhere. Robyn is training to be a doctor, just like her father – a man she’s never met. When she falls in love with a man who is like her in every way, she needs to be sure. It’s time for her to open the envelope her mother gave her on her eighteenth birthday.
And Daniel’s children slowly find their way into each other’s lives…
I was excited to receive a free copy of this new novel by Lisa Jewell to review, having loved Ralph’s Party when I first read it over 10 years ago.
However, The Making of Us, did not grip me from the very start and for the first few chapters, I thought, rather sadly, that this book probably wasn’t for me. I am so pleased I stuck with it though as once I adjusted to the different character perspectives – there are 7 of them in total – it was a really good read.
The subject of donor siblings finding each other and meeting the man who donated his sperm to father them, made for an interesting discussion at home! My husband also donated sperm back in his student days, and although the Sibling Donor Registry didn’t exist back then, this book sparked a conversation between us about how many older biological brothers and sisters our son, Zachy, might have out there.
My husband said he prefers not to think about these things… and I could tell he wanted me to drop it, but before I obliged him, I asked if he would be interested in meeting any offspring he might have, should they decide to get in touch. He thought probably not. I was quite surprised at this because if I had donated an egg, which had in turn produced a child, curiousity would definitely win over me.
Anyway, back to the book. I was pleasantly surprised by the turn this book took in the second half. I was expecting a boy meets girl/loses girl/wins girl back against all odds format, typical of previous books, but this is a story about so much more than that. This book explores many different forms of love and relationships with a sweetness and depth that I wasn’t expecting.
Each character survives so many life changing and traumatic events throughout the book, that I really was willing a happy ending for all of them, but I’m not going to tell you if they got one or not, you will just have to buy the book and find out for yourselves…
The Making of Us, by Lisa Jewell is available to buy now.
My first book review… how did I do?