Two women. Two eggs. One life-altering mistake.
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?
Carr's moving latest (following 2017's The Stories We Tell) traces a custody battle between two women whose eggs were switched during fertility treatments. After years of trying to conceive, Katherine Matheson and her husband Patrick finally have a child, Rose, who's now almost a year old. Rose is very fair, which has always made Katherine, a mixed-race Black woman, feel self-conscious. Tess Sokolowski, who dropped out of college after a date rape and subsequent abortion, relies heavily on alcohol to drown her sorrows. Her IVF treatments—undertaken after her divorce, at the same clinic as Katherine's—ended in the loss of her stillborn daughter. When Irene, the IVF nurse for both women, suddenly confesses that she purposely swapped their eggs, Tess is overjoyed to learn she has a biological child and reaches out to the Mathesons in hopes of working out a custody agreement. But Katherine is terrified of losing Rose and refuses, leaving the matter to be settled by the courts. As the story unfolds, both women contend with secrets that could destroy their claim to Rose. Though the setup provides enough drama to fuel this page-turner, Carr throws in several over-the-top twists that threaten to derail the proceedings. Still, readers will be transfixed.