Hold My Girl

A Novel

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Pub Date 10 Oct 2023 | Archive Date 24 Oct 2023
SOURCEBOOKS Landmark | Sourcebooks Landmark


Two women. Two eggs. One life-changing switch.

Katherine finally has it all. She's spent her entire life striving for perfection—obsessing over her spotless home, maintaining her pristine reputation, building her perfect family—and her hard work has finally paid off. After seven difficult years of trying (and failing) to conceive, Katherine gives birth to Rose, her IVF miracle child, and at last has the one thing she's wanted most of all. But one thing isn't quite perfect. Rose's pale skin doesn't match Katherine's complexion, and an irritating doubt begins to grow in Katherine's mind.

Tess never got the happy ending she wanted. She underwent IVF at the same clinic as Katherine, but after finally conceiving, Tess's daughter was stillborn. Now, nearly one year later, she's approaching rock bottom. Consumed by her grief and without hope for the future, Tess is divorced, broke, and stuck in a dead-end job beneath her skillset.

But shortly before Rose's first birthday, Katherine and Tess get a call from the fertility clinic: Their eggs were switched.

As Katherine's carefully planned life begins to crumble around her, Tess finally sees the glimmer of hope she needed to get her life back on track. Motherhood has always been their dream, and neither woman is prepared to share that claim over Rose. It will take a tense custody battle to decide who deserves to be Rose's mother, but it will also push them to the brink.

With themes of racial identity, loss, and betrayal, Hold My Girl is an emotional novel that will leave you contemplating: What makes a mother?

Two women. Two eggs. One life-changing switch.

Katherine finally has it all. She's spent her entire life striving for perfection—obsessing over her spotless home, maintaining her pristine reputation...

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EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781728270418
PRICE $27.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 82 members

Featured Reviews

This is the type of story I love! As a mom that has adopted I just love books about how families are made. They are intriguing to me. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC. Carr gets five stars for her title Hold My Girl. I enjoyed this a lot.

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In Hold My Girl, Charlene Carr unflinchingly pulls the reader into the broken hearts and spiraling minds of two mothers thrust into an unimaginable situation. With poignant insight and - at times - unsettling accuracy, Carr has crafted a compelling, intensely propulsive page-turner and a deeply emotional exploration into the very essence of what it means to be a mother. I was spellbound from start to finish.

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Hold My Girl is a captivating and thought-provoking novel that deserves every bit of praise it receives. Charlene Carr's storytelling prowess shines through in this emotionally charged narrative. It is a book that will touch your heart, make you reflect on the complexities of human relationships, and leave a lasting impression. This is a must-read for anyone who appreciates powerful storytelling and compelling characters.

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I truly loved this novel!
Katherine and Tess have both had IVF. This is their last chance to obtain their family.
Katherine and her husband do have their baby and life is wonderful- or is it?
Tess's little girl is stillborn and Tess is barely functioning these days.
. All she ever wanted was to be a mother.

Baby Rose is almost one, when both ladies get a phone call from the infertility clinic. They need to have their DNA checked. Why?

This is only the beginning, and truly, this story has so many layers and topics that will slowly peel away.
In the meantime- I was caught from the very first pages of this book with both ladies and their journeys to find out what in the world was really happening with Katherine and her perfect world and Tess and her world that is slowly shriveling.
I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this book! It is sure to be a hit!
Thank you to @Netgalley and to @Sourcebooks Landmark for this ARC and allowing me to read and provide my own review.
Well done!

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Wonderful! I loved this book, I advise you to read it with handkerchiefs at hand, be cause you’ ll need it. I loved all the characters, all the Flawed parts of them. Every one make mistakes and has secrets but that does not mean we are band persons. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT

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So I gave this one a whopping 5 stars! ⭐️

This is my first time reading a book about an accidental embryo swap and it didn’t disappoint. This book was emotional, but-wrenching, and thought provoking in all the right places and ways! Here’s the description for it below ⬇️

Katherine, after seven years of trying—and failing—to conceive, she finally gives birth to Rose, her IVF miracle child. But she’s afraid that Rose may not be her daughter; her pale skin doesn’t match Katherine’s own.

Tess’s daughter, Hanna, was stillborn.

Ten months later, Katherine and Tess get a call from the fertility clinic that reveals shocking news: the two women’s eggs were switched. It will take a custody battle to decide who deserves to be Rose’s mother, a battle that will push both women to the brink.

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Wow, just wow! A story that I didn't know that I needed. This is a beautiful tale centered on numerous motifs including empathy, compassion, motherhood, and trauma.

Amazingly written. Mid paced. Highly recommend!

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I’m not well versed on fertility or infertility, but do enjoy reading contemporary fiction selections that deal with real issues. This book does a good job on showing how two families navigate these issues along with some curveballs thrown in.

Even if you don’t care for this kind of topic, I’d still recommend you give it a go for the characters alone, as I found them refreshing and very real, so to speak.

For a read that’s different than your normal selection (for myself that would be domestic thriller/thriller type reads), definitely give this a go. I’ll be checking for this author again, most assuredly.

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Great family drama. Had me on pins and needles.
Thanks to author, publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book. While I got the book for free it had no bearing on the rating I gave it.

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With more and more people taking DNA tests, people have discovered that many scandals have occurred at fertility clinics and unfortunately, legislation has not caught up to the technology. In “Hold My Girl” Charlene Carr has taken a situation that absolutely could occur in real life, and has written a compelling, character-driven novel about two women, both longing to be mothers. Big trigger warning for infertility among other issues. I don’t want to go into any more details, since that would be spoilers.

Katherine and Tess are two young women living in Canada, and although they are opposites in many ways, both have used the services of the same fertility clinic. They live in a smallish community with mutual friends, which is important to the story. Katherine is Black and Tess isn’t, which adds another dimension. One day, to their horror, they discover that their eggs were switched during IVF and one has given birth to the other’s biological child. We follow them during this heart-wrenching time, from the discovery to the final decision of custody.

Although this is not a thriller, I found it extremely suspenseful. The short-ish chapters, each from the point of view of Tess or Katherine, kept me turning pages and the writing flowed effortlessly. The characters were crafted so well that I truly felt I knew each one, inside and out. This book has a psychological depth that I seldom encounter in novels. I also especially appreciated reading about a Black woman written by a Black woman since I know I read too many books by white authors. Since Carr is focusing on the women, the father’s point of view is never really shown in the same way, and that felt a bit unfair to him, but this novel is focused on the mothers. Charlene Carr’s ability to craft characters that feel like living people is a testimony to her talent as a writer. (This novel felt so cinematic and I could see it being made into an amazing miniseries). If you can handle the heavy subject matter, this book would be perfect for a book club and there is a Reading Group guide in the back with very relevant questions. I can see this novel being a huge success. Bravo Charlene!

Thank you NetGalley and SourceBooks for letting me review this book. I will publish my review on social media closer to the publication date.

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Hold My Girl is an illuminating look at infertility and the struggles some couples must endure to have a child. The writing is articulate, mesmerizing and gripping at times.

After years and years of fertility treatments, Katherine finally carries a baby to term and delivers a beautiful baby girl, Rose. She is nothing short of a perfect mother, with a perfect marriage, and a perfect little family unit, until the unspeakable happens.

Tess gives birth to a stillborn after conceiving via IVF. And, sadly, must undergo an emergency hysterectomy to save her life. She’s despondent, she’s dejected and she’s struggling to move forward from her loss.

When news comes out that there’s been a lab error and eggs were switched, both Katherine and Tess’ lives are irrevocably changed.

This book brilliantly explores the moral and legal dilemmas involved in such a case. It also explores infidelity, alcoholism and sexual assault during the custody case. My heart was breaking for both families involved as it seems there’s no answer as to who should get custody, the biological mother or the mother who both carried the baby and cared for the baby for almost a year.

This book gets 5 stars from me and I urge you to pick up a copy for yourself. It is due to be published on October 10, 2023. Thank you, NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for the advanced copy.

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