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This is a review of the book 'From here to maternity' by Sinead Morarty, the third book in a series following a couple called Emma and James and their journey to start a family. In the third book, their addoption of a Russian baby Yuri is completed whilst Emma discovers she is pregnanty too.
I love a happy ending!
I loved the whole series of Sinead Moriary's books so for me the third book gave the happy ending that perhaps were not fulfilled in books one and two.
The detail about adoption, trying to conceive and strain it puts on Emma and James' relationship is so realistic you feel like youn know this young couple. Emma's zanyness plus James' level headed and good humoured approach is a foundation for the perfect relationship. Their family adds another level of detail to the book that makes it altogether a great read.
The last one...
I mostly can't fault this book and was sad to finish it as it was the end of the series but I would definitely read other books by the same author. I suppose it may seem a bit tedious if you're not interested in the subject matter. Having said that I still found the detail around the Russian adopotion process interesting whilst I have no intention of adopting a Russian baby!
As it is part of a trilogy, there is a bit of retelling the story to date, and as I had read them back to back it did feel a little repetitive but to be fair if you read this book in isolation, or with breaks in between, you'd need that detail.
Get the lot!
I would recommend this book but would advise you to read 'The baby trail' and 'A perfect match' before reading 'from here to maternity' so you get to know all the characters well throughout.
If I could change one thing I would say each book feels a bit short, but I can see how well it split into three separate novels. It may only seem short because I read them fast and enjoyed them so much. You can't have it all!
I think this book paints a true yet humourous account of how hard the path to starting a family can be. The characters are lively and fun and enjoyable to read about. It's also good to see how Emma and James give unquestionable love to their adopted son Yuri and when Lara arrives how they are determined to include him and introduce him to his new baby sister.
I had already read 'The Baby trail' and 'Perfect Match' by Sinead Moriarty where she tells of James and Emma Hamilton's quest to start a family. In those two books they go through unsuccessful fertility treatment and then the lengthy process of trying to adopt a child. In this third book - From Here to Maternity - we find them with their newly adopted son Yuri, and also discover that now she has given up trying, Emma is actually pregnant! Having enjoyed the other two books very much, I was very keen to read this one although I also had a worrying niggle that, like many sequels, it would not live up to my expectations. In fact could this be one book too many about this likeable couple? I have to admit that I did not get into this book quite as easily as the other two, but by the end of it I realised that I had thoroughly enjoyed it - as much as the other two!
IN this book, Emma and James go to Russia to bring home their son and from then on we read about how they cope with the early days of parenthood. Emma does not particularly find it easy especially with being pregnant as well. We also meet all of the other characters from the earlier books - Emma's hapless sister Babs, her brother Sean and his fiancée Shadee, their friends Lucy and Donal who have just got married themselves. There is a story around each of these characters too and it's all a bit of a juggling act for Emma as she tries to keep up with everyone else's lives as well as her own. All of these different stories weave together extremely well making for a very enjoyable read.
I find all of Sinead Moriarty's characters interesting and well rounded. I love reading about how they interact with each other and there are some very funny conversation between Emma and her mum (who has very strange ideas about lots of things. Emma often seems to find herself being the intermediary especially where Sean's plans for his wedding are concerned. Many of the characters such as Mum, Babs and Donal bring a great deal of humour to the story.
This is a great story and I'm sure many women will identify with Emma and the things she goes through in initial motherhood - sleep deprivation, always looking a mess and being very unsure of herself to mention just a few things. Many of these things are dealt with few humour although it does not make light of them either. I found it a lovely book to read as it was poignant and funny in equal measures.
Even though this is the third book in a series you could easily read it without having read the others first. This is particularly helped by the fact that Sinead Moriarty keeps explaining much of what has happened before. I have to admit that, because I had read the others, I found this slightly annoying and I think that is why I found it harder to get into. I did not need all the background as I already knew all the characters, but I can understand why she felt the need to do it. This did get better after the first few chapters though which is when I started really enjoying it.
The paperback is currently available at Amazon for £5.49.
If you haven't read my previous review, then maybe stop reading now and divert to the review on "The Baby Trail". From Here to Maternity is actually the 3rd book in the series written by Sinead Moriarty it tells the story of Emma and James couple in their mid thirties and their quest for parenthood.
In the final book of the trilogy we discover that Emma is finally pregnant and also about to adopt a young 8 month old boy from Russia called Yuri. Emma simply can't believe her luck she has wanted for so long to become a mother and it all comes at once and her husband James is equally excited about the future.
As a married woman myself, children inevitably are the next step towards our future and in reading both The Baby Trail and From Here to Maternity I was able to relate to Emma's character and desperation to become a mother.
I love how the author writes about how "do-gooders" comments left her feeling wrought with anxiety and even more stressed at the thought that other people thought she was getting on and running out of time to become a mother and all of this is clear as Emma is written in the 1st person, you feel as if you have become Emma's friend and can relate to her as a real person and understand her thoughts and feelings, which has to be credited to the author.
We also have Emma's best friend, Lucy featuring heavily in the book and her tales of woe of becoming a newlywed to James' best friend and Rugby Team Captain Donal. Lucy is written in the third person and this makes it harder to relate to Lucy as well as you can with Emma.
The tales from Lucy and Donal however had me chuckling having experienced it myself as a newlywed and a husband who likes to take life not too seriously and found the only time I could relate to Lucy was when she was moaning about her lazy husband
The other main character in the story is the younger sister of Emma, Babs who after getting everything she wants finds herself in London, a short interview later we discover that Babs has a job selling goods for pensioners or fashion victims on tv and earning a salary that would only just cover the cost of her tube pass. Babs befriends her boss and manages to get a rent free apartment in the ideal location in London, life couldn't be better or could it?
I definately found that by reading the first installment of the trilogy helped me to gain an understanding of the characters and I couldn't wait to continue with the story.
From Here to Maternity is a refreshing story and focuses on the worries and stresses and strains that come with being a parent and we share Emma and James' experience of becoming parents firstly to Yuri and desperately trying to become good parents but Emma soon finds that parenthood is not all it is cracked up to be and with everybody having an opinion on what baby likes best, Emma is soon tearing her hair out and is desperate to get some freedom and decides to get back to work for a few hours to gain some normality.
It also covers the path that newlyweds follow that is not all that rosy and a suprising twist to the tale makes the book all that bit more interesting and proves to offer a suprising ending to the final book of the trilogy.
I have to admit that the stories are not all that entertaining but they are very nice simple stories that are easy to read and inevitably are the happy ending stories that we all seek when we read a book.
~~~ Synopsis ~~~
After many years of trying to conceive, Emma and James Hamilton have just been given the go-ahead to adopt a ten month old boy from Russia. Then Emma finds out she is pregnant. This book follows their journey from collecting their son, Yuri, from a Russian orphanage to welcoming their other new baby into their lives. Being a new mum myself, I was expecting to really enjoy this book yet instead I found it average but endearingly so.
There are two other main stories in the book. The first involves Emma's best friend Lucy and her broody new husband Donal. The second revolves around Emma's sister Babs whose attempts to make it as a TV presenter in London provide a more light-hearted side to the book.
There's not much more to say about the plot really because there isn't really that much of a story to this book. None of the characters really change from the beginning to the end and apart from the odd wedding here and there, nothing much actually happens.
~~~ My Opinion ~~~
I found the characters in this story were not very well fleshed out. The reader is never told much about their histories or personalities and they are all fairly one-dimensional. One character who had the potential to be interesting was Emma's sister Babs. She was at times extremely irritating and at other times very funny. She is selfish and rude yet at the end she does become a slightly better person. However, I felt that the author pushed the irritating side of this character too far so by the end of the book I really didn't care that she had a small kind of redemption.
Although I didn't know it until I had finished this book and looked up the author on the internet, this is the third of three books featuring the same characters. The first, "The Baby Trail" follows Emma and James' attempts at conceiving and the second, "A Perfect Match" tells the story of their struggle to adopt. I guess that this may be the explanation for the lack of storyline and lack of depth to the characters but I would expect a book to be capable of being enjoyed as a standalone book, even if it is the third of a series.
The author's style of writing annoyed me a little. The majority of the book is written in the first person, telling events from Emma's point of view. However, every so often we switch to the third person to follow different characters in the book. Now, I wouldn't mind so much if it was just Emma telling the story of these events but these are events that she is not involved in. Why not just write the whole book in the third person? On one occasion Emma, Lucy and Jess got together to discuss events in their lives and then we had a flashback for each of them. This was the only occasion this device was used and it felt a little out of place in the rest of the book.
The bits of this book that I enjoyed the most were the scenes with Emma's new son Yuri. These were tender and very true to life. Emma's attempts at dealing with a new baby were at times hilarious, particularly her thoughts on using Gina Ford's routines and her attempts at applying the Baby Whisperer techniques. The ending of the book was particularly touching. I was blinking back tears at one point (the ending isn't sad, I'm just a big softie!)
~~~ Summary ~~~
Despite the shortcomings of this book, it is an endearing read. Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I had read the two books that come before this one first. However, reading this book has not made me want to go back and read the author's earlier books as the characters just aren't interesting enough to warrant spending any more of my time on them.
~~~ Product Details ~~~
Paperback edition published by Penguin in 2006
ISBN 13: 978-1844880683
Available from Amazon for £5.49