Filled with heart and humor, this latest from British bestseller Jewell raises all those big questions about identity, family and fitting in.
What if your father was a sperm donor and you had unknown siblings out there. Would you want to know them? This is the question three Londoners have to confront in this poignant novel. Twenty-nine-year-old Lydia lives in a mansion in St. John’s Wood thanks to a clever chemical invention she sold for millions. She lives a minimal existence with minimalist furniture (plus a cat, housekeeper and personal trainer so perfect-looking he must be gay). This shiny life does little to make up for the wretchedness of her poor Welsh childhood: Her mother, Glenys, used a sperm donor when she sensed her macho husband, Trevor, was infertile, but after her mysterious death, Trevor despised the daughter he suspected wasn’t his. Out of the blue, Lydia receives an anonymous package that tells her she was conceived by a sperm donor—shocking yet somehow vindicating news; she never felt she belonged. She finds a website that tracks donor siblings and there discovers Dean and Robyn. Dean is a 21-year-old sad sack and screw-up. After his girlfriend dies giving birth to their daughter, Dean’s response is to run from the hospital and get high. But in his ongoing stupor, he does manage to get on the donor sibling registry and finds Lydia. The two meet—both loners in possession of startling good looks—and feel immediately at home. Last in line is Robyn who, unlike Dean and Lydia, has two loving parents and a happy life (she’s a gorgeous med student) but is driven to the registry because she has an irrational fear that her boyfriend—soul mate really—may be her brother. Meanwhile, a man is dying in a hospice, wishing he had made more of his life and confessing to his friend that he has children out there—children she could find for him.
In this odd and lovely story, Jewell makes believable the connection between these strangers, bound by biology and longing.