The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain - book review: A reading odyssey for autumn nights

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain
The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain
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When Carly Sears discovers her unborn child has a fatal heart defect, her brother-in-law comes up with a bizarre solution… time-travel to the future where doctors will be able to save the baby.

In an original and intriguing twist on the suspenseful family sagas that have made Diane Chamberlain a much-loved and popular contemporary novelist, The Dream Daughter pushes the boundaries of storytelling to compelling new heights.

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Brimming with drama, heartbreaking emotion and some of the toughest choices imaginable, this complex, multi-layered story is essentially a study of how far a mother is prepared to go – in this case, into an unknown future world – to save her child and unite her family.

Only months after her beloved husband Joe is killed in Vietnam in 1970, Carly Sears receives the bittersweet news that she is pregnant but her joy turns to devastation when doctors tell her that her unborn baby girl has a serious heart defect which means the infant will almost certainly die shortly after she is born.

There seems to be little that can be done but her brother-in-law, Hunter Poole, is a physicist and he has a plan. Hunter, who is married to Carly’s elder sister Patti, appeared in their lives just a few years before and his appearance was as mysterious as his past.

With no family, no friends, and a background shrouded in secrets, Hunter embraced the orphaned Patti and Carly as his family and has never looked back. He has always been ‘a fixer’ but he can’t fix Joe’s death and Carly struggles to see how he can fix her baby’s heart defect.

His plan involves something that will shatter every preconceived notion that Carly has… using secret equipment at his laboratory to time-travel to the future so that doctors can use foetal surgery to save the baby Carly has already called Joanna.

It will require a kind of strength and courage that the expectant mother never knew existed, a mind-bending leap of faith… and the danger that so many things could go terribly wrong.

But if there is a chance to save the baby, how can she turn down Hunter’s offer?

Chamberlain blends fascinating science fiction, romance, adventure, suspense and mystery as she makes the unbelievable seem almost believable in this page-turning, time-travelling, rollercoaster story which sees a young mother caught up in a heart-rending domestic dilemma.

With her background in psychology and a keen interest in understanding the way people tick, this is an author who excels in exploring family life, and the dramas and conflicts that can tear us apart, or work to make us stronger.

Using a compelling – and often poignant – ‘back to the future’ device adds an exciting element to Carly’s story as we weave between past and present on a journey full of unexpected twists and turns, mind-blowing discoveries, and decisions that no mother would ever want to make.

A reading odyssey for autumn nights…

(Macmillan, hardback, £14.99)