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The Second Child by Caroline Bond

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Sarah and Phil have a healthy 17 year old boy, James, and a severely disabled, mute, wheelchair-bound 14 year old daughter, Lauren. A chance glance at a medical report alerts Phil to Lauren's blood-type and he wonders how it fits with his and Sarah's. A genetic test reveals her not to be their daughter. Now all sorts of different authorities step in, their birth-daughter is found and the other family informed: a divorced mother, Anne, with a single child, Rosie. The first half of the tale is in dual narrative from Sarah and Phil's point of view, the second in four voices adding Anne and Rosie to the mix. You can imagine the emotional turmoil that ensues, the terrible choices, the complex reactions and the dilemma of not knowing what is best for whom. It delves into family values, marriage, trust, love and loyalty. The whole unthinkable situation is powerfully explored. A very accomplished first novel. Highly recommended. ~ Sarah Broadhurst

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Pearl Wilson - 'A wonderful read, which will pull at every feeling you have ever possessed. If you read one book this year make it this one... it will pull at your heartstrings.'
  • Sarah Musk - 'A compelling, gripping book exploring nature and nurture within a family. Two different families share two different daughters raised in contrasting circumstances but with a genetic bond between them.'
  • Kathy Martin - 'This is an outstanding book and excellent debut. It was hard at times, to remember that i was reading fiction.'
  • Glenda Worth - 'A great novel by Caroline Bond tackling an unusual subject within a family situation. The Second Child is a triumph on many levels, the story, the characters and the way it keeps the reader involved.'
  • Doreen McKeown - 'A compelling debut novel about a complex situation, which kept me enthralled to the end.'
  • Humaira Kauser - 'Just read it and you'll know how good it is too.'
  • Rachel Aygin - 'I loved The Second Child and fans of Jodi Picoult and Diane Chamberlain will love it too. Sadly, i can't find anything else Caroline Bond has written.'
  • Dana Captainino - 'They are a fairly typical loving family going through their ups and downs like thousands of other across the country. But suddenly a routine blood test sends everything into a spiral.'
  • Evelyn Love-Gajardo - 'What an emotional rollercoaster of a book.'
  • Vicky-Leigh Sayer - 'What would you do if you discovered something about your family that threatened to tear it apart?'
  • Nicola Edwards - 'Emotional, complex and compelling - a captivating read that is highly recommended.'
  • Gill Williams - 'One of the best books I’ve read for a long time. Clear crisp prose, a plot with some shocking twists and many thought provoking moments. I hope to read much more from this author in the future.'
  • Rebecca Whymark - 'What happens if family is not really family - What would you do?'
  • Sheila Dale - 'It's a good read, well written and poses lots of questions for book club discussion.'


The Second Child by Caroline Bond

Why do you love your child? Is it because they're a straight A student, a talented footballer? Or is it simply because they're yours?

Sarah and Phil love both their children, James and Lauren. The couple have the same hopes and aspirations as any parent. But their expectations are shattered when they discover that their perfect baby daughter has been born with a flaw; a tiny, but life-changing glitch that is destined to shape her future, and theirs, irrevocably.

Over time the family adapt and even thrive. Then one day a blood test casts doubt on the very basis of their family. Lauren is not Phil's child. Suddenly, their precious family is on the brink of destruction. But the truth they face is far more complex and challenging than simple infidelity. It tests their capacity to love, each other and their children, and it raises the question of what makes - and what breaks - a family.


I stayed up long into the night to finish The Second Child...a carefully crafted and utterly compelling tale of lost opportunity and impossible choices. Amanda Brooke, bestselling author of THE AFFAIR

Caroline Bond takes a complex situation and has written a thoughtful, wrenching and, at times, tear-jerking novel. Elizabeth Buchan

I was so invested in every word of this novel. An unthinkable situation, but highly believable, this story is spellbinding, real, and brilliantly written. I felt for every character. It mines the depth of every possible human emotion. Caroline Bond will go far. Carol Mason, bestselling author of AFTER YOU LEFT

About the Author

Caroline Bond was born in Scarborough and studied English at Oxford University before working as a market researcher for 25 years. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Leeds Trinity University, and lives in Leeds with her husband and three children. @Bond2Caroline

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Book Info

Publication date

22nd March 2018


Caroline Bond

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Atlantic Books


320 pages


Relationship Stories
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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