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“No parent should ever have to lose a child. No husband should ever have to lose a wife. No one should ever have to choose.”

Another heart-wrenching story by the delightful, Vanessa Carnevale. My Life for Yours tackles the difficult subject of motherhood and birth — and the decisions that must be faced when a woman’s health and ultimately, her life, is threatened by her pregnancy.

While the subject matter is highly emotive and may be difficult for some, the enjoyment of this novel is immense. It’s an easy read, free and clear in its address. Told in alternating chapters by the main characters, young couple Paige and Nick, it’s really a story about hope and faith, trust and honesty, love, family and forgiveness.

Beautifully refreshing in inimitable Carnevale style, main character, Paige is almost too sweet to be true. Dealing with a third trimester complication, Paige’s unusual congenital heart disease places restrictions on the loving couple and crushes their dream to be parents. But Paige is kind, loving and slightly kooky — and desperate to be a mother, just like her perfect sister Caitlin.

It was refreshing to hear from the perspective of her husband Nick — who is just the type of sensitive paediatric surgeon you would want on your side and in charge of your child’s medical needs. As a couple they are gorgeous.

But they are faced with a harrowing experience that results in a medical issue for Paige and the death of their infant son. We mourn along with them and urge them to search for a way out of the depths of their grief.

Each deals with the tragedy differently. Nick faces death in his job, but we discover he takes the deaths of patients personally, and he retains part of this grief. It all rises to the surface when Paige’s medical condition brings on their much longed-for child’s early birth.

Paige grieves in a way that as a woman, I hope never to experience. The writing is raw, but honest, her thoughts and feelings visceral on the page. It is hard reading but Vanessa does it so well — she is truly an inspiration for bringing her characters to life. We find ourselves cheering on the couple as they drift apart, each coming to terms with the tragedy — and the fact that a pregnancy will be tantamount to a death sentence for Paige. They are both are desperate to be parents.

But all the way through this is a story of hope — not death. That’s what inspires you to push through to the finish. Snappy dialogue, great interactions between the characters; this is the masterful way that Vanessa proves throughout. It is beautiful reading.

Paige’s constant faith and plans for the future is a huge positive. She is a stand out character for me. But the cast of secondary characters are wonderful too – they emerge from the background and come alive through their interactions with Paige and Nick. Paige’s parents are terrific, her sister and brother-in-law, her friend Hope and Nick’s colleagues too — even Miranda.

This story is a celebration of sensitivity and love.

Thanks to NetGalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

'My Life for Yours" will be released 7th August, 2020. Available for pre-order.

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