Forgotten, by Nicole Trope

Finally they are in the queue to get back out onto the main road.
Coffee, here I come.
‘Not now, Aaron, I’m trying to concentrate.’
The traffic has built up in only a few minutes and cars scream past the service station. Malia feels her headache settle in.
This day is never going to end.
‘But Mum…’
‘What Aaron, what?’
‘Where is baby Zach, Mum? Where is he?’

It’s early morning, and already Malia knows it’s not going to be a good day. Her husband Ian has confessed to losing money on the pokies last night – money that could have paid the bills that are piling up. She’s got three kids to get ready for school and daycare. And there is no milk for breakfast. She has to get all three children into the car to make the short drive to the service station so that they can have breakfast. But something terrible happens while she’s buying the milk and suddenly her day is as bad as a day could be. Baby Zach is gone, and she is surrounded by police.

Ali Greenberg is a Detective newly returned to work from maternity leave. She’s been itching to be given a case to solve, but her boss is not sure this is the case for her. She knows better than anyone else around what it is Malia is going through. It might be a better idea to stay at the office – but she feels compelled to help Malia get her baby back.

Jackie is down on her luck. She has said sorry a thousand times, but still she has been punished for a terrible mistake. A strange turn of events gives her what she sees as a chance to put her life back together.

In one hot, troubling day, Forgotten follows the troubling, heartstopping race to find an abducted baby and reunite mother and child. The stories of four women who don’t know each other become inextricably intertwined, and readers will have their hearts in their mouths as the day unfolds.

Well crafted, this is a dramatic tale.

Forgotten, by Nicole Trope
Allen & Unwin, 2017
ISBN 9781760296773

The Mother's Group, by Fiona Higgins

All those things no one ever tells you about motherhood. It’s like secret mothers’ business. Lots of my friends had babies before me, but not one of them ever told me it would this hard…It’s like a code of silence.

Six very different women are brought together by one thing – they are all new mothers. Each comes from a different background and has a different experience of birth and the early months of a first child, but they meet through a mother’s group and determine to meet regularly and support each other through this new stage of their lives.

Over the course of the year the six become friends, but they also fight and disagree. Their circumstances are so different – from bringing up a child alone, to having a new baby plus a step child to care for, to struggling to adapt to a new culture. But what they have in common is their first child, and the tumultuous experience of the first year of motherhood.

The Mothers’ Group is a book which anyone who has ever navigated the highs and lows of motherhood will connect with. The varied cast means most readers will either see themselves in one or more of the characters, or will at least recognise someone  they know. But it’s not just about sleepless nights and nappy changing – characters are faced with a range of big issues alongside the seemingly small ones (though anyone who has ever navigated the sleepless nights knows it is not a small issue).

The Mothers’ Group is a moving, heart-wrenching read.

The Mothers' Group

The Mothers’ Group, by Fiona Higgins
Allen & Unwin, 2012
ISBN 9781742379869

Available from good bookstores and online.