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To a penniless twenty-year-old like Jamie Long, surrogate motherhood seemed both an act of altruism and a financial opportunity. But once pregnant and under contract to Amanda Hartmann, the head of a famous evangelical family, Jamie realizes that she's getting more than she bargained for. Whisked away to the vast, isolated family ranch, she's closely supervised and carefully cut off from the outside world. She learns the family's dark secrets -- and sees the enormity of their ruthlessness. When Jamie hears Amanda's plan to claim the baby as her natural-born child, she begins to suspect that her own life is in danger and resolves to flee.
Alone with a tiny newborn, she calls on the one man in the world she can trust -- her high school crush, Joe Brammer. Their love unites them in a struggle to escape, and soon enough their flight becomes a fight for their lives.
Brilliantly weaving some of today's most controversial social issues into a captivating page-turner, The Surrogate is Judith Henry Wall's greatest triumph to date.
A powerful, fundamentalist Christian Texas family is painted villainous in this provocative but stringy book by Wall (The Girlfriends Club). Jamie Long, a 21-year-old college dropout left penniless following the death of the grandmother who raised her, falls into the clutches of Amanda Hartmann, a famous televangelist, and her politically connected five-foot-tall brother, Gus, when Jamie is hired as a surrogate mother for Amanda and her pretty boy husband, Toby Travis. Jamie signs a stiff contract promising utter secrecy, is successfully artificially inseminated and confined to the luxurious Hartmann Ranch located in the Texas Panhandle. But it doesn't take long for the na ve mother-to-be to discover the creepy truth about this "incredibly wealthy family that practiced power and subterfuge along with religion." Jamie escapes and delivers the baby on her own, with Gus not far behind, intent on tracking her down, killing her and delivering the newborn to his sister. With the help of long-time love Joe Brammer, Jamie scrambles to elude the family's grip and reach safety. Wall flirts with such hot-button issues as religious hypocrisy, incest and political warfare in this slow-building but edgy novel.