At least that's what Nat thought. But now Neil seems to have softened to the prospect and he's practically begging her for a baby. Nat tries to ignore his change of heart and won't explain her reasons for hating the idea; she can't. Are they that compatible after all? As the cracks start to show, Nat wonders if Neil really is the man of her dreams. Or is it possible that someone from her past could actually be 'the one'?’
It’s not only outsiders who think Nat and Neil’s marriage is pretty much perfect, they believe their relationship is rock solid; they agree on everything that’s important, including that neither of them want children. However, the couple are thrown into turmoil when Neil suddenly becomes desperate for a baby. Confused, Natalie turns to her Little Black Book for comfort and begins meeting up with old flames in an attempt to discover whether she’d made a big mistake marrying Neil in the first place.
I was definitely intrigued after reading the blurb: we’re used to the idea of a woman unhappy because her husband doesn’t want children, it’s more unusual to see it the other way around. I was a little disappointed that Nat’s reasons for not wanting children, in particular the importance of her career, turned out not to be the truth. I thought this let the strength of the character down somewhat: not all women want babies and felt it would have been more convincing just for Natalie not to feel that maternal, but completely satisfied with her life, and not wanting to be pushing into something she neither needed nor wanted. It also seemed improbable that at no point during all the years they’d been together had Nat told Neil the real reason why she didn’t want children. Why would she feel the need to keep it such a secret from the person she was spending her life with?
I didn’t really click with either of the two lead characters; they both came across as very selfish and immature. Neil’s behaviour when he didn’t get what he wanted was extremely childish, and some of the things he gets up to are pretty unforgivable. I did, however, enjoy Parks’ descriptions of how Neil felt being childless; it was interesting to see this from a male perspective.
Neil’s friend Karl was a complete caricature of the eternal bachelor; I thought that more could perhaps have been done with his character, particularly drawing comparisons between him and Neil and the way they dealt with their problems.
The idea behind this book was very good, but I felt the leading pair let it down a little; I just couldn’t seem to ‘bond’ with them and became very frustrated by the way in which they dealt with their situations. Having said this, I haven’t read an Adele Parks book for a long time, and I’d forgotten how much I enjoy her writing style. She’s easy to read and writes romantic relationships very well, often concentrating on small habits or incidences that actually tell us an awful lot about a couple and how they work together. Parks’ methods mean the reader gets to know her characters very quickly and swiftly becomes enveloped in their lives and problems, making for a very engrossing novel.
3 and a half stars