Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Cradled Dreams by Beverly Hoffman
Release Date: 24th April 2014
Publisher: Abbot Press
Genres: Women's Fiction / Contemporary Fiction

As her family gathers for Thanksgiving, Georgie's heartbreak is hard to conceal. After years of pursuing her dreams of motherhood, she has recently learned that her last option to conceive has failed. Grim amid the festive holiday celebrations, Georgie feels that she has little reason to give thanks.
Her sister-in-law, Robin, desperate to ease Georgie's suffering, struggles for a way to help. On loving impulse, she offers a solution-surrogacy.
Flush with excitement, neither woman can predict how her life will change. But each is comforted by the knowledge that her love for the other will guide the way. Soon, after in vitro using a relative's sperm and her own egg, Robin shares the joyous news that she is pregnant. Every conversation sparkles with her private joy at the gift she could give her sister-in-law. But she encounters unexpected criticism when discussing the plan with others. She must now deal with judgment and questions about ethics. Relationships are strained. Both must pay emotional costs they never anticipated. Soon, questions they never asked begin to haunt them both.
Where do boundaries of possibility meet long-term responsibility? Under what circumstances does science need to pause to consider moral outcomes? When organs and tiny bones grow in spite of circumstances never seen in nature, where does motherhood begin and end?
And most haunting of all is the question Robin couldn't ask herself on that first day: Will she really be able to give up the child for the sake of Georgie's dream?

This book covers an interesting and modern topic - Surrogacy. In recent times, surrogacy has hit the headlines in terms of the difficulties of the emotional and legal turmoil such an arrangement can cause. I like a book that is not afraid to tackle difficult subjects head on. The heartbreak of infertility and the emptiness this creates within someone who is so ready and open to love a child will resonate for some readers and bring tears, as it did me. Lucky enough now to have children, the book took me back to a time when a dark cloud follows those desperately wanting a child but who cannot for various reasons have one. The jealousy and anger sometimes unintentionally directed at those who can so easily have children was evident too, often subtly, but there on the fringes.

 The book is beautifully written, exploring the perspectives of both sides of the argument and the reader feels real sympathy for both parties caught up in what starts of as an unconditional gift of love. Family is one of the most important themes running throughout the storyline and I loved the matriarchal figure of Elizabeth, offering her love, guidance and support. However, there is a question of whether the issue of surrogacy breaks any religious laws and both couples in the story are met with conflicting reactions from their respective churches. This was the part of the book I struggled with most, being an Atheist. At times I did feel that the book became more focused on the religious aspects of surrogacy rather than the issue of surrogacy itself and the difficulty of giving up a child. However, I can see how surrogacy would be a difficult situation in which to reconcile both sides of the argument - the moral versus the religious. An interesting and well written read if not with a little too many religious references interspersed throughout. The ending did however leave me wondering if there was to be a sequel as there is definitely one screaming to be written. I'd love to know what happened next! Please! 

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Beverly Hoffman spent her childhood in Texas eating barbeque and drinking Big Reds. After college, she and her husband, Marty, moved to Panama, where she taught English for twenty-six years. Beverly loved to push her students to realize their full potential. She was able to help her students by taking huge assignments apart and helping them accomplish discrete pieces and then put all of them together into a finished project.
While in Panama, Beverly explored the country. She rode her bike 57 miles in one day from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, paddled the Panama Canal twice, and participated in Green Hell, an obstacle course, which included rappelling out of a 30 foot building.

Beverly and her husband later retired to Sequim, Washington, where they enjoy the bounty of fresh Dungeness crab, Washington wines, and family.

Beverly has a Masters degree in English and has been in a writing group for over six years. Beverly loves writing and hopes that through her books, she can get people to explore new concepts. Join Beverly on Facebook for giveaways, scenic photos, and more information about her books at


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