The Adoption – Anne Berry
Source – Amazon Vine
My Rating – 4.5 stars
The Adoption is Anne Berry’s third novel but this is my first encounter with this writer. Having devoured this compelling read, I am keen to acquire her earlier novels.
The story is told from the viewpoints of three very different women. The first, Bethan, a teenage girl living on a farm in Wales during WWII, falls pregnant with the child of a German POW and is forced to give up her baby girl, Lucilla. Her baby is adopted by Harriet, an older, conservative woman who is disappointed when Lucilla doesn’t fulfil her ideal image of the perfect daughter. We also hear from Lucilla, now married with her own family but it is obvious that the mystery surrounding her real parents leaves an aching hole in her life.
Usually, with multiple narrators, I find myself more drawn to one of the characters but here, each character’s story drew me in equally. Anne Berry is very adept at weaving all the strands of the story, building up the background in such a way that you see the motivation of each character, the birth mother, the adoptive mother and the adoptee.
The female characters are particularly well drawn and their strength contrasts sharply with the more slimy male characters especially Lucilla’s odious, obsequious cousin, Frank and that supposed pillar of society, her father Merfyn. Somehow Lucilla manages to bounce back and forge her own way in life, on the surface a strong, independent woman.
Anne Berry eschews oversentimentality in this beautifully written novel about identity, family ties, motherhood and relationships. Highly recommended.