Book Review + Giveaway! ‘Chergui’s Child’ 3 stars ( Psychological Fiction)

Chergui’s Child
by Jane Riddell
Genre: Women’s Psychological Fiction
Olivia has much to cope with. An embittered mother who puts her ambitions for her children before their own needs. A predatory professor who ends their affair when she becomes pregnant. Giving birth to twins in a Tangier hospital and believing neither has survived. Grief and loss overwhelm her and she abandons her studies. Then from her beloved aunt Dorothy, artistic, eccentric and mysteriously wealthy, she learns that one of the babies did survive and has been adopted. When her aunt dies she leaves Olivia a handsome legacy with the condition that it must be used to find and bring up the lost child. Olivia’s journey takes her from London to the south of France, with startling and painful revelations along the way.
Jane Riddell is the author of novels: Daughters of the
Lake, Chergui’s Child and Things We Choose to
Hide.  She has also written a novella in the form of a
diary, penned by a Russian cat who comes to Edinburgh to learn about
creative writing: The Bakhtin Chronicles: Academia.  Inspired
by her own editing process, she has published a short guide
entitled Words’Worth: a fiction writer’s guide to serious
editing.Formerly Jane worked as a dietitian and health promoter for the
NHS in the UK.  But after three years living in the
beautiful Rhône Alps area of France, she decided to devote her
mental energy to writing.Jane lives in Edinburgh and apart from an abiding love of
chocolate (her only vice), her passions include travelling and
photography.  She regularly looks after animals – mainly
cats – all over Europe, which inspires her writing and indulges her

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cherguischild - my review


3 Stars !

Thank you to Silver Dagger Tours for my free copy, in exchange for an honest review.  The blurb really called me I loved the location of this novel. I was thrilled that’s set in London and the main character Olivia is British. I recognised all the spots in London and enjoyed it. I also love, love, love, the south of France too and really enjoyed the story here. Morocco is a place I have always wanted to go and experience too. All this I loved. I even loved the actual story plot, but what held back my reading experience were three  small things.

1. Some parts it felt rushed, and if they were not maybe there could have been  more ‘thrill’ and the ‘psychological ‘ experience, for me as a reader. The story is told in the past and present I loved this! And suits the genre. But while the present tense story as we follow Olivia on her search for her child is in first person, the past story on what happened and why she lost contact with them is in third person, which was fine to read. But the back story  in the past felt very rushed as I read.  At times I could not work out if I was in the past story or present.

2. The rushed feeling also did not allow me to connect with Olivia, or  who did what and why. In the present tense, the first person of Olivia’s POV as a reader for me, it was mainly ‘told’  as a story, rather than shown to me.  Her emotions, thoughts, feelings, where her head was at  etc, I could not see or understand. Or Olivia’s grief over her missing child. I felt disconnected or distant in both past and present generally from her and her story as a reader.

2. Olivia basically, without giving too many spoilers left the hospital  after being forced into labour my mother nature, and left her twins there in Morocco. Right after she had given birth like within an hour or so!  As  a woman who has given birth myself, I found this not possible. She had a hard labour with twins ( harder than mine). As I read I knew even with my easier birth, I would not have had the strength to  get up and leave. With the labour she had I doubted she could do that. So this part of ‘reality’ within the plot left me wondering a bit.  Emotionally I also could not understand why this character left, she wanted to be a mother? But if I had connected with her closer  from the start with ‘show me’ rather than ‘tell me a story’, and parts not rushed in the story maybe I could have.

Overall, for me this was an okay read, I did not hate it at all but it never overwhelmed me with ‘wow’ ‘OMG’.  I would read another by the author. With this one I have read,  if there was more development of the character’s emotions,  and less rushed story telling. Or  if maybe the reality around labour for women (generally) and abandoning her children was more realistic, not just get up and go then start to look for work and make a new friends after, this would have really been the icing on the cake for me and possibly a four or five start read! But I’m just one reader and even if I did not feel the character connection, or ‘psychological fiction’ vibe as a reader I hoped for, there will be readers who will find this a perfect five star read! Three stars from me, I wish this author so much luck and the right readership. So give it a try, if you feel the book’s blurb calls you.

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