My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 1 day
Pages - 240
Publisher - Pinter & Martin
Source - Review Copy
Blurb from Goodreads
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: when adopted midwife Mariam embarks on a project to protect an abandoned premature baby, she is forced to face her own abandonment years before. Time is running out before the baby is sent to the orphanage. Mysterious characters from the city surrounding the hospital will be crucial in determining the baby's fate, as will a workaholic British doctor with whom Mariam finds herself falling in love... Alice Allan's debut novel is an original, vivid and moving story about attachment and loss.
We are in Ethiopia when we meet Mariam, midwife and very good at her job although outspoken which doesn't always go well with her colleagues. When a baby is abandoned it shouldn't be any different from all the others but this one is. Mariam cannot help but be drawn to the baby and reflect, question and acknowledge her own past.
The book chapters splits between Mariam, A Person, the baby and John a doctor in the hospital, married to the job. As we move between the characters we get a feel for the city, hospital, life for some in Ethiopia and how we cannot out run our past. I do like a book that has health related issues or a medical setting in them and being set in Ethiopia was an added bonus point for me as it is always interesting (for me) to see how things are done in other settings.
It isn't medical heavy so if that isn't your thing don't worry about it, I just mention is as I enjoyed those parts. There is a lot of personal issues going on with the characters and we find them, particularly Mariam, going on a bit of an emotion rollercoaster. Work dynamics, relationships and adoption also feature in the story, it has a lot going on but written well.
I also need to mention the actual physical book I have. I am not sure if they are all like this but it has such a lovely feel and the pages are very different from any of the other books I have read. The material is so nice I would love all my books to be made of that but then would maybe be even harder to give them away! I think this is a really well tackled and written debut novel and I am so glad I was sent it as I may well have bypassed it in the book shop. This is my first by Allan but it won't be my last, I look forward to her next offering, 3.5/5 for me this time.