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The Second Child Reader Reviews

The Second Child

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 will pull at your heartstrings.

The Second Child written by Caroline Bond for me was a very believable read, it really felt like I was a fly on the wall watching this story take place in front of my eyes.

Phil and Sarah have two children, James and Lauren, their lives revolve around Lauren as she was born with a syndrome which left her totally disabled and depended on her parents as her carers.

When a blood test questions their parentage, their lives will never be the same again.

I would happily recommend this wonderful read to anyone who likes their fiction which is not only well written but one which will show two parents and their family simply guilty of loving their daughter and for James it was his little sister. Lauren was the baby they were sent home with as their own but also, they must mourn the family they could have had, the life they should have had and now the years that were stolen from them plus how do they accept a child they are biological parents off, was in fact taken from them through no fault of their own.

As we are told how Sarah and Phil are feeling, I loved how the author shows each character connected with this storyline which made this book even more believable as the feelings were made real through wonderful and vivid storytelling.

This is a story like no other I have read as this is one which grabbed my feelings and held on tight, this was a roller coaster of a storyline and this is one rollercoaster I did not want off until the last page was reached.


Doreen McKeown

A compelling debut novel about a complex situation, which kept me enthralled to the end.

The story starts when Sarah and Phil Rudak discover, quite by chance, that their profoundly disabled 14 year old daughter is not in fact their biological child. This throws their lives into disarray as they attempt to come to terms with this bombshell and all its implications. It’s a story full of emotions, which is narrated in alternating short chapters by the principal characters, so that the reader sees everybody’s point of view and their reactions to the situation. I thought it was a well written, very readable, book which I found quite compelling. I found the ending a bit ambiguous, but it did leave me thinking about how I would have resolved it – I always feel that a book which keeps you thinking after you’ve reached the last page, is always a worthwhile read.

Kathy Martin

This is an outstanding book and excellent debut. It was hard, at times, for me to remember that I was reading fiction.

Caroline Bond brought this complicated story to life and it was impossible not to become emotionally involved with the characters. I couldn't put it down. This is not necessarily because it is the usual sort of 'page turner', but that I was so worried about how they would sort their lives out! If you enjoy Jojo Moyes, then you will like this.

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.

The Second Child by Caroline Bond was a great read and tackles an unusual subject. A close family unit which is quite idyllic in its own way even with the complication of Laurens illness. Sarah's sister is very supportive of the family throughout the process. Having discovered Lauren has Rubenstein-Taybi syndrome her parents rally round and deal with it in a positive and family orientated manner until she has a test which reveals disastrous results. Dealing with a very complex situation, the parents of Lauren take the earth shattering news they are told in different ways, which are explored very well by Caroline Bond. A shocking revelation that would rock two families worlds as they know it. Teenage angst, adult coping mechanisms and many more emotions are at the forefront of this great novel which I stayed up far too late reading. I look forward to more books by this author.

Evelyn Love-Gajardo

What an emotional rollercoaster of a book.

From the moment I started it, I was completely gripped by the whole premise of the plot and by the end I had gone through a whole range of emotions. It is extremely well written, from all the main characters' points of view, and they are all believable.

It's hard to say too much about the plot without giving too much away-but briefly, it's about the repercussions caused when a couple discover that their severely disabled daughter is not their biological child.

I'm not sure enjoyed is the right word for the way I felt at the end of reading this book, but it is definitely one to recommend.I look forward to the next book by this author.

Humaira Kauser

Just read it and you'll know how good it is too.

I don't read books about family and relationships often enough but when I do I just have to find more books like them. I really enjoyed reading The Second Child. The writing just captivated me. I loved the way the plot worked too,and reading about the lives of Sarah and Phil. I feel like this book is a great one to be adapted on to the screen or tv. There's so much to say about this book and how good it is but the words are failing to be coherent- 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.

Sarah and Phil are parents to two teenagers, son James and daughter Lauren, who is disabled. Unexpectedly coming across Lauren’s blood group, Phil suspects he is not her father but Sarah and Phil are shocked to discover that it is genetically impossible for either of them to be Lauren’s parents. It seems that there was a mix up in the hospital when Lauren was born. Social Services then investigate in an attempt to discover what happened and trace their birth daughter. I found this book impossible to put down, enthralling and at times shocking.

Dana Captainino

They are a fairly typical loving family going through their ups and downs like thousands of others across the country. But suddenly a fairly routine blood test sends everything into a spiral.

 The story features Sarah and Phil and their two children - James and Lauren. They are a fairly typical loving family going through their ups and downs like thousands of others across the country. Lauren, their second child was born with severe disabilities and how her life will pan out is a shadow on their horizon, but not one that they let get in the way of the quality time they spend together.

But suddenly a fairly routine blood test sends everything into a spiral when it initially shows that Phil is not Lauren's father. Reeling from the consequences of this news the situation becomes even more complicated and everyone is tested to the extreme. 

As the story unfurls another family become irrevocably involved and all need to fight to keep a grasp of increasingly fragile family threads. Sarah and Phil face losing Lauren altogether. And their relationship, already stressed is put under unbearable strain.

The other family is just as complex and this makes for an increasingly difficult battle to regain some stability - though things will never be the same again.

For a first novel, Caroline Bond proves an accomplished writer and I am looking forward to reading more of her work in the future.

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.

One of the best books I have read for a long time. Clear crisp prose, a plot that draws one easily through the book making it difficult to put down and believable characters with whom one can (on the whole) empathise. In the first half we meet the core family Sarah, Phil and their children. James, 17 and Lauren, 14. Lauren is severely disabled and is loved and cared for unconditionally. The book is written from the viewpoint of each character giving us insights to their thoughts and feelings. Though Lauren isn’t featured as such, she does have a voice which we hear through her family. We learn that there was a catastrophic mix up in the hospital and lauren is not the daughter of Sarah and Phil. Their birth daughter Rosie quite quickly becomes involved with her birth family and her mother Anne is struggling to deal with it all.

It is how the two families work through the awful realisation of what happened and the shocking twist at the end that will keep this book being thought about and talked about for a long time. I would highly recommend it.

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.

I read this book very quickly because it was so compelling and gripping.  The story is tragic - the book plunges straight into the problem which is that Sarah and Phil's severely disabled teenage child is not theirs.  The dilemmas which this presents are manifold.

Caroline Bond portrays very effectively the effect the situation has on family relationships - between husband and wife, with their seventeen year old son, Sarah's sister and eventually with their other daughter.

The book explores the deep bonds between parent and child. The bond that is present because genetically you are almost the same as your birth family but also the bond formed through caring and nurturing a child through childhood into adulthood.  Sarah and Phil are fine, caring parents.  They have a happy marriage even though it has been very stressful looking after a disabled child.  They have made a success of it and she has become an integral part of their family and they can't imagine life without her.  Contrast their lives with the lives of the other family and it raises questions about the pursuit of selfish aims in life as opposed to a life spent caring and putting other people's needs above your own.

The book explores the reasons why people want to have children and we get out of it what we put in to it.  You hope there will be the right outcome  but unfortunately it does come at a cost to some of the people in the story. 


Nicola Edwards

Emotional, complex and compelling - a captivating read that is highly recommended.

Sarah and Phil have two children, James and Lauren. At an early age, their daughter Lauren was diagnosed with RTS - a syndrome that means she requires a lot of extra support and assistance. This has resulted in lots of adaptations to their home, along with many hospital trips. At one of these hospital trips, it is discovered that Lauren has a different blood type to Sarah and Phil, meaning that she isn’t actually their daughter.

This turns their world upside down and the task begins of trying to find their real daughter. The emotional journey they go on is heart-breaking and follows how complex family life and relationships can be. The characters are all really well-defined and I felt like I knew these people personally by the end the book, especially as it rotates round to get each character’s viewpoint.

For a debut novel this is an amazing read which is difficult to put down. I really can’t wait to read more books by this author.

Vicky-Leigh Sayer

What would you do if you discovered something about your family that threatened to tear it apart?

Sarah and Phil’s happy family life is turned upside down, after a blood test in their disabled daughter Lauren's, regular routine, reveals something very out of the ordinary.

Something so shocking, and incomprehensible, that it surely can’t be real.

Or can it?

Lauren is not Phil's daughter.

As he struggles to comes to terms with his wife's potential infidelity, despite her protestations of innocence, another grenade is hurled in their direction.

Lauren is quite possibly not their biological daughter at all. 

From deep suspicion to unprecedented shock, Phil realises that he must pull himself together and quickly. The family need each other now more than ever.

They need to discover the truth, whatever that might be, and they must try not to fall apart whilst uncovering it.

Rebecca Whymark

What happens if family is not really family - What would you do?

Phil takes Lauren to an appointment when he normally leaves it to Sarah. One question about a blood type pulls the family into an unstoppable spiral of how did they end up with the wrong baby when leaving the hospital years before. 

It was written well and dealt with the main topic as well as the challenges of raising a disabled child and the impact that can have on the family. 

The book is written from the perspectives of the main characters, all giving their thoughts to us rather than each other, we know what they are going through and you want to jump in and help. 

This is an impressive debut novel and i will look out for more from Caroline Bond. 

The only thing i feel let the book down was the ending, i felt it was rushed and left me feeling disappointed.

Sheila Dale

It's a good read, well written and poses lots of questions for book club discussion.

This is a very well written book which, if I had not known different, I would have assumed the author was Jodi Picoult. So a must for any fans of Jodi! It's not a genre that I read a lot and something about it didn't sit right with me but I really can't say what. Maybe a little too contrived? I would have liked it to go on a little longer as I had lots of 'what happened next' questions in my head.

Still, having said that it's a good read, well written and poses lots of questions for book club discussion. 

Book Information

ISBN: 9781786493354
Publication date: 22nd March 2018
Author: Caroline Bond
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 320 pages
Genres: Reader Reviewed Books, eBook Favourites, Relationship Stories,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),