Cover Image: Surrogate


Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

What a fascinating read! I loved this story and it is not so unique because this has all happened in real life.
How far would you go for your loved ones?
In Ruth's case, it was being a surrogate for her daughter who, after 7 miscarriages were told she will not be able to try again. The problem is Rush is 54; she doesn't have the best of relationships with Lauren and she knows her husband will not consent to this. How will this play out and will Ruth ultimately be able to give the baby to his rightful parents?
I found it heart-wrenching at times. A very well written story about love, loss, heartbreak and the ultimate sacrifice. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Little, Brown Book group for the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
Was this review helpful?
Thrillers have not been my cup of tea. This book has serious silent patient and the girl on the train vibes. Beware of your nails as you cannot stop wanting to bite them. Get ready for an amazing adventure with this book.
Was this review helpful?
An excellent book which is almost as informative as a reference book as it is fiction. The debates, ethics and practicalities of surrogacy are realistically explored and captured within a family setting where the trials and tribulations of going down this path are shown from everybody's angle. Would give anyone pause if they were considering this whilst also enjoying an expertly written novel.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A difficult subject to cover, but brilliantly executed, well-written. I really enjoyed it.

Was this review helpful?
Fabulous story of a very topical subject and how it can go so right and yet so wrong. Gripping from start to finish this is a must read!
Was this review helpful?
Not sure what I was expecting with this book because after all the title is a bit of a giveaway but although I quite enjoyed it I wasn’t blown away at all. Maybe because so much of the book is a lengthy preamble to what the title tells us anyway so feels drawn out. Add to that I only liked one of the characters - Alex so perhaps that spoiled it somewhat too. 
All that said I don’t want to be too negative as it’s certainly not a necessity to like the characters and the book is extremely well researched. Some people will love it I just know and there was never a point I didn’t want to finish it.
Was this review helpful?
Ruth is middle-aged and struggling to redefine her place in the world, so when her daughter Lauren loses yet another baby through miscarriage, she sees it as an opportunity to solve all that is wrong in her life, by using her womb to host Lauren's embryo. As the pregnancy progresses, Ruth becomes increasingly attached to the baby whilst simultaneously becoming detached from those closest to her, including her husband Adam, which has devastating consequences. 

The characters are well-drawn and believable, with the novel moving along at a swift pace. If you're looking to stay up late way beyond your bedtime, then this page-turner is for you. A thoroughly enjoyable yarn that delivers (pun intended)!
Was this review helpful?
Surrogate tells the story from the point of view of 54 year old Ruth, who offers to have a longed-for baby for her daughter Lauren who has suffered from draining IVF experiences and numerous miscarriages. 

At the crux of the novel is the relationship between a mother and her adult daughter, who delivers list upon list of rules Ruth has to abide by while pregnant. Lauren feels she needs to be in control and envies the experience her mother has undertaken. Secondary is the long term relationship between Ruth and her husband Adam. Her decision to proceed with this pregnancy causes deep rifts and Ruth behaves 
with a ​lack of honesty in order to have her own way. 
No-one behaves well but I did feel these were realistic characters and the attention to detail throughout the pregnancy illustrates thorough research by the writer.

I sympathised with Ruth, she needed to remain the strong individual woman while being bowled over by the effects of her pregancy. The ending is most poignant and I was left wondering what would happen in the future. An excellent read. Many thanks to NetGalley and Virago for the opportunity to read and review Surrogate.
Was this review helpful?
Ruth Furnival is a successful television executive with a perfect life: a nice house in London, a lawyer husband and two grown-up daughters. But at 54, with an empty nest and menopause behind her, she feels restless and dissatisfied. After multiple rounds of failed IVF, her eldest daughter Lauren has been told that the only chance for her and her husband to have their own child is surrogacy. Overwhelmed by the expense, they have run out of options. So when Ruth discovers that, with the right dose of hormones, she could carry their baby, out of desperation they agree.

This is a really interesting look into surrogacy from the perspective of both the person physically having the baby and the soon-to-be mother. Lauren wants it to be the perfect pregnancy, giving Ruth list upon list of dos and don’ts. She’s envious that she doesn’t get that experience. Ruth, having done this before, begins to unravel.  I found it fascinating reading these different perspectives and unpacking what it would be like to be that close in connection while having a baby yourself. 

This is a first for me by the author and one I enjoyed and would read more of their work. The book cover is eye-catching and appealing and would spark my interest if in a bookshop. Thank you very much to the author, publisher and Netgalley for this ARC.
Was this review helpful?
This book tears straight to the heart of fundamental issues of fertility, mother/daughter relationships, family dynamics and made me think 'how far would I go if it was my daughter?' Having read this searingly emotional story, I don't know the answer but it made me think about these moral and ethical questions in a way I have never come close to before. Does the end justify the means? Is taking such a desperate step that affects everyone in the family justifiable in the circumstances or was it a step too far. How much did Ruth want to recreate the sense of youth, purpose and usefulness for herself and how far should we go to make our children happy? What if this ended differently - would it still have been worth trying or would the legacy of guilt and regret and resentment have been totally destructive of all the relationships. I learnt a lot, thought a lot and realised there are no right and wrong answers and you don't know unless you are in this desperate situation.
Was this review helpful?
This book was nothing short of superb and had me hooked from the very beginning. The story centres around the complex family relationships between Ruth, Adam and their daughters Alex and Lauren. What starts out as an altruistic offer from Ruth has a profound and destructive effect on the whole family. Lack of communication leads to misunderstandings and fractured relationships. A great story and well worth reading.
Was this review helpful?
A moving book on coping with being childless and a mothers love.

At 54 Ruth's daughters have left home and her daughter Laura having multiple tries of IVF has been told to try a surrogate  mother as it could be dangerous to her health if she continues IVF treatment.

So Ruth comes to the rescue offering to be surrogate mother for her daughter.

It`s a hard journey with lots of heart searching and heartaches for all of the family.

Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review
Was this review helpful?
WOW! This title would make a brilliant reading group book.
The story starts with the sadness known by many of being unable to carry your own babies and the heartache and difficulties that IVF bring, not to mention the financial implications.
Then Lauren's mother offers to try and be a surrogate for her embryo and the months that follow bring up all sorts of problems and a battle for supremacy.
Ruth has always been in charge of the family and all that happens. Now she is expected to do as she is told.
A fascinating and cautionary tale.
Many thanks to Netgalley/Susan Spindler/Little, Brown Book Group UK for a digital copy of this title. All opinions expressed are my own.
Was this review helpful?
A woman offers to become her daughter's surrogate - what could go wrong? Surrogate is an extremely powerful book that kept me hooked to the very end. 

From the outset, Surrogate raises important questions of just how far altruism can be taken, and how a person's past is constantly at play. The tension is palpable and although I didn't find any of the characters particularly likeable, I was fully invested in the outcome.

This review will be available on Goodreads and Instagram @asreadbyaki from April 1st.
Was this review helpful?
I hadn’t read anything about this novel and I found it a real page-turner.
Told from the perspectives of all the members of the family, it’s about what happens when Lauren - having suffered numerous miscarriages and told she can’t safely have children - turns to her family to help.
I found the characters and their complicated relationships very believable, especially the mother-daughter relationship. 
And the shifting viewpoints were powerful and reflected the complexity of the issues involved in surrogacy. 
It’s definitely one of those novels you can’t put down, it’s well-imagined and well-written and the denouement is believable and thrilling.
Thoroughly recommended.
Was this review helpful?
I’ve been left with mixed feelings about what I feel about the characters, attitudes and premise of this book.

Lauren is happily married to Dan but has had a heartbreaking number of miscarriages and failed IVF attempts. Lauren and her sister Alex (who comes as the family we’re spirit living in America) are the only two daughter of Adam Ruth Furnival both in their 50’s.

Alex offers to be a surrogate for Lauren but because of the rules and laws around it she can’t. I was impressed with how much detailed research the author had clearly done so even though this is a work of fiction on the eholr all the facts are correct. 

Ruth despite being post menopausal decides, behind Adam’s back to see if she is able to be their surrogate.

.I don’t want to ruin the book for any prospective readers but the following that ensures is emtional, painful, stressful, weepy and leaves you feeling like you’ve been on the spin cycle in the washing machine. But none of the emotions are over described or over embellished.

I’d definitely recommend this book, although maybe not for the typical beach/pool side read more of a curl up in front of a fire hot chocolate and tissues to hand.
Was this review helpful?
Absolutely loved this book. Fast paced and with a final twist that I never saw coming.

Beth and Tom appear to be the ideal in a village with their 3 year old daughter, Tom daily commutes for his banking job whilst Beth runs her pottery cafe.

Tom does not come home til very late one evening, where the police are waiting for him to question him regarding a historic murder with no body being found. He is released but 're arrested the following day where he is subsequently held with a charge of murder.

Beth has to battle through the following days, looking after her daughter and business whilst dodging the press as well as whispers from the neighbours.

As the book progresses, it becomes apparent that actually Beth did have some idea of her husband's wrong doings. Whilst she battles to protect her daughter, her morals and values are questioned with difficult decisions needing to be made

A must read of a book. Can't wait for more from this author.
Was this review helpful?
I was surprised by this book in the best way! From the blurb, I was expecting a decent if predictable thriller, something to fill a couple of enjoyable hours but that ultimately I'd forget. What I got was so much more than that - a nuanced and complex novel with beautifully developed and flawed characters, and family relationships at its heart. This is far from a run of the mill thriller (though I do enjoy reading them!) nor is it predictable, and I loved that as the reader you were able to peer under the hood of Adam and Ruth's marriage and see all the secret cogs and components. 

I really enjoyed this novel, and will be looking out for more from this author - a beautifully written and moving book. 

Thank you to NetGalley and to the publisher, who provided me with a free ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Surrogate is not my normal type of book and I am not its target audience but I found it a really interesting read. I was gripped from the beginning and read it very quickly as I was eager to discover the outcome of the story.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my ARC.
Was this review helpful?
What better time to read Surrogate, the thought provoking novel from Susan Spindler than in the immediate run up to Mother’s Day. As I sit in the same room as my daughter, writing this review I would say this is a novel written for women everywhere, of any age. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in the prime of your life, menopausal or post menopausal, struggling to conceive or contemplating motherhood for the first time, this compelling novel explores the mother/daughter dynamic and the complexities of a mother’s love in the most dramatic of ways. This is an impressive debut that strikes a healthy balance between compassionate handling of a controversial subject, forcing the reader to consider the moral and ethical implications of surrogacy when the host is your own mother whilst also commentating on the ageing process in general and the invisibility of women when they reach a certain age. 

The novel opens with Ruth Furnival, film company director rushing to the hospital bedside of her daughter Lauren, suffering her seventh miscarriage, where she is met by lawyer husband Adam and son in law Dan. Over the years Ruth, Adam and younger sister Alex have been a source of comfort and support as Lauren and Dan endure yet another failed round of IVF but with this latest round of heartache and loss comes the reality that Lauren has run out of options,bar the idea of surrogacy. Forced to dismiss Alex’s offer of help, Lauren is at first shocked to discover her mother Ruth is willing to act as a host for the baby, providing they are able to find a clinic happy to deal with a woman of her advancing age. However, desperation leads Lauren and Dan to accept Ruth’s most generous offer of help, a decision that may have dire implications for Ruth’s marriage and Lauren’s relationship with her mother going forward. 

There will be many of us who pick up this novel automatically thinking Ruth and Lauren’s predicament is a recipe for disaster. I know I was one of them! The subject of surrogacy is a highly sensitive topic anyway but when the host for your embryo is your own mother, surely you’re entering dangerous territory, a minefield of moral, ethical and emotional dilemmas. I had no idea this was even a feasible proposition so this is a storyline that’s not only thought provoking but educational too. Clearly the author has researched this topic well but I’ll admit to finding the concept alarming. In an age where youth is favoured and revered, this scientific ability to turn back time, breathing life back into an organ that’s technically past its sell by date seems morally dubious, cementing the idea that once a woman is no longer fertile, she’s redundant, no longer desirable and therefore invisible. Is a woman’s worth reliant only upon her reproductive capabilities? Whatever your viewpoint on what Ruth is proposing to undertake for her daughter Lauren, this won’t be the altruistic noble act you may initially believe it to be. Insights into the younger Ruth and her life prior to Lauren and Alex’s arrival in the world soon put paid to those thoughts and I couldn’t see this ending well for anyone. On paper Ruth’s solution to Lauren’s overwhelming desire to become a mother seems like the only option left open after all other avenues have been explored but what often is sound in theory doesn’t translate well in practice. Whilst part of me could understand why Ruth would even consider herself suitable for surrogacy, making the ultimate sacrifice for her own flesh and blood I found the whole premise quite disturbing and unsettling. Would I be willing to do the same for my daughter? Obviously that’s a hypothetical question which fortunately I don’t need to answer but it does prompt the bigger question of what lengths any mother is prepared to go to to secure a child’s happiness. What bothered me most is that Ruth, Lauren and Adam all have their own agendas, and the whole family dynamic stands to be thrown into disarray by this one act of love. Nothing about this situation is straightforward, it’s fraught with problems every step of the way and I could foresee the damaging effects on both Lauren’s feelings of self worth since her mother is capable of achieving something she can’t and the demeaning way Ruth’s own body is violated, simply a vessel for new life, used purely as a means to an end. I feared for her sanity once her incubating days were over and she presumably returned to her post menopausal self. As events proceed at an alarming speed you can expect Ruth and Adam’s marriage to come under close scrutiny and any cracks in their relationship and any flaws in their characters exposed. As much as this storyline is concerned with a selfless act it is revealing in terms of Adam and Ruth’s relationship past and present, his status now reduced to that of a mere bystander, and the personal cost is has on her professional life, not to mention the effects on her role as a mother to both daughters.

Unfortunately I did not like any of these characters. Although the author has dealt sympathetically with both Ruth and Lauren’s plight, as a menopausal woman myself my loyalties lay to a certain extent more with Ruth. I could recognise that feeling of redundancy and dissatisfaction at life in general that afflicts Ruth at the start of this novel. That’s not to say her motives are uncomplicated; instead she’s endeavouring to right the wrongs of the past and make amends for her own parenting errors whilst behaving in a most duplicitous manner. Her husband Adam, supposedly the most morally upright individual in this family behaves equally duplicitously so in many ways they are well suited! On the surface I’d expect to feel immense sympathy towards Lauren whom having suffered miscarriage after miscarriage is having to contemplate life without children of her own. Her pain and desperation dominate her every waking thought to the exclusion of a normal relationship with Dan and the rest of her family which of course is understandable but the way she loses sight of everything else, particularly towards the end I found astounding and unforgivable. 

“Contraception, abortion,fertility - they’re central to the physical and ethical experience of being female but we never join up the dots and talk about them honestly.” 

So speaks Ruth, summing up perfectly the essence of this novel. Through Ruth and Lauren’s characters, the author has managed to convey every conceivable emotion these two women could possibly experience given their allotted roles in a drama of their own making, whilst at very different stages in their reproductive lives. Raw, honest and entirely believable Surrogate is one of those novels that remind you nothing in life is ever black and white, rather it’s every shade of grey in between. There is a smattering of dark humour that breaks up an otherwise controversial and emotionally charged storyline but in my opinion it’s subtle and sparse. A great starting point for debate and discussion regarding how women perceive themselves in relation to their reproductive status and their declining visibility in society post middle age. Surely one many book groups will be keen to get their hands on. Highly recommend. My thanks as always to the publisher and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read.
Was this review helpful?