Title: The Swallow’s Nest by Emilie Richards
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 496 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Three women fight for the chance to raise the child they’ve all come to love
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 changed 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.
The Swallow’s Nest by Emilie Richards is an emotional novel of forgiveness, motherhood and second chances.
Lilia Swallow and her husband Graham Randolph’s lives were turned upside down by his cancer diagnosis. A year later, they have cause to celebrate after his cancer goes into remission following aggressive treatment. However, Lilia’s joy quickly turns to devastation when Graham’s business associate Marina Tate shows up with a three month old baby boy named Toby. Marina hands Lilia the baby and delivers a stunning blow with her vindictive announcement that Toby is Graham’s son. Understandably upset and furious, Lilia leaves Graham and Toby to visit her family in Hawaii where she tries to figure out what to do next. Despite her anger and hurt, Lilia cannot bring herself to walk away from her marriage until they are out from under the massive debt from Graham’s medical expenses. Will Lilia’s tangled emotions about the circumstances of Toby’s birth prevent her from loving the baby? Is there any possible way for their marriage to survive Graham’s betrayal?
Lilia’s decision to return to Graham is not arrived at easily nor does she know what the future holds for them as a couple. She cannot in good conscience walk away from him considering their staggering debt. Despite Graham’s remission, he is not psychically strong enough to work long hours and they are relying on Lilia’s income to help them recover financially. Needing to keep expenses to a minimum, she and Graham continue living under the same roof but they lead separate lives. Toby slowly but surely works his way into Lilia’s heart and without hesitation, she becomes his primary caregiver.
Marina’s abandonment of Toby is not for his well-being; it is completely self-serving and rather spiteful. While Graham’s decision to begin an affair with her is selfish and uncaring, she entered into the relationship with her eyes open and completely aware of his marriage. Marina is entirely self-absorbed and lacks any empathy for the impact his cancer diagnosis and treatment has on his life. She never regrets her decision to leave Toby in Lilia and Graham’s care and Marina feels nothing but relief that he is no longer her responsibility.
Just as Lilia, Graham and Toby are well on their way to becoming a family, tragedy strikes and Graham’s estranged mother, Ellen, sees her grandson as an opportunity to make up for her mistakes with her son. She sets in motion a plan without giving any thought to Toby’s well-being or her daughter-in-law’s feelings. Gaining Marina’s cooperation is instrumental to bringing the plan to fruition and after some consideration, Marina agrees to help Ellen. Will Ellen’s reprehensible scheme succeed?
The Swallow’s Nest is a beautifully rendered novel that quite poignant yet ultimately uplifting. Emilie Richards tackles very difficult subject matter with ease and the resulting story tugs on readers’ heartstrings. Lilia and Toby are wonderfully developed characters who are easy to like and root for. The secondary characters are marvelously developed and provide a wonderful support system for Lilia. Marina and Ellen, however, are not likable or sympathetic but they do undergo a great deal of growth by novel’s end. A truly captivating story that I absolutely loved and highly recommend.