June 7, 2017

The Swallow's Nest. Emilie Richards

book cover
Published: MIRA.
Date: 13th June 2017
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 496
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source:Publisher via NetGalley
5 stars       Add to Goodreads

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.
My thoughts banner
The first chapter pulled me into the book and as I finished the last chapter I just might have been reaching for a tissue and wiping away a tear or two. I'd just been on a roller coaster ride about three women and their love or need for one child - Toby.  Three women - I know which one I liked and wanted to be Toby's mother, but I also ( a little reluctantly I might add) could see the motivations of the other two.  Quite frankly though I'd be very reluctant to release one beautiful, innocent child into their hands.

Lilia grew up in Hawaii, she has a wonderful extended family background, and I loved her approach to life and love. She receives a series of knock backs, yet once she makes the choice it is Toby that is the centre, his happiness and needs are important.  Marina, the birth mother, having dumped Toby into Lilia's hands comes to regret it and makes a play to retrieve him. I don't think I'd want to be friends with her, but she has had a tough upbringing and I did feel sympathetic towards her. Ellen, the grandmother, is a sad character I thought, totally having subjugated who she is to her husband and his cold, hard ways. Really she has had no life, and her ideas about child rearing were more than a little sobering.

I enjoyed how the story moved along, exploring the lives of the three women, getting to know them and their motivations and challenges. As I did I wondered where Toby would end up, what would the law decide? I know what I wanted, but would that happen?

As I said above, the ending moved me to tears, was it exactly as I had hoped? No, not really but perhaps even better. I liked the growth in all three characters, very realistic and not over the top, but promising some new possibilities.

The book is titled The Swallow's Nest, this is where Lilia has made her home, a warm cosy place that I enjoyed visualising. At the beginning of some chapters there are little snippets about cliff swallows and how their approach to chick rearing linked with the book I was reading. It was very apt and also made me want to go off and read about these swallows as well! 

In short, a well written, heart and mind engaging story that had me from page one until the very end.

fav author thought provoking heartfelt keeper shelf jewel


  1. I just finished reading another book involving a custody battle. I've read a couple actually- it always tears me apart!

  2. I could SO not read this one at the moment, I would be a blubbering mess

  3. Yeah...I would be a blubbering mess too. But that it gripped you from beginning to end is a testament to good writing.

  4. I just finished this book, too, and loved it! I found myself wearing my social work hat, but even so, I wasn't sure how it would turn out. I knew what I thought was best, but sometimes unexpected decisions are made.

    I loved Lilia's opening lines in her blog. (Feathering your nest with imagination and love).

    Thanks for sharing...great review.

  5. Nice review.

    Thanks for sharing. Sounds good. Love the play on words.


  6. I have this one coming up and am really looking forward to it though I have a feeling I will need the tissues! Richards has such a gift for bringing out the humanity in really tough situations. Glad you enjoyed this!

  7. Good to hear it wasn't ott, and I'm loving the blogging tie-in. I love a book that hits me in the feels and it sounds like this one would!

  8. I've seen this on several blogs. Sounds very emotional.

  9. Oh I love her novels Kathryn, I used to be her reviewer of record for RT but with the change of editors that changed too now its a cattle call to race to see who can claim what the fastest. LOL Great review I want it

  10. I don't think I have ever read any of this author's books but now I really need to. Thank you for your thoughts!


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