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The Cradle Snatcher
by Tess Stimson

Release Date: 23rd Jan 2009
Publisher: Pan Macmillian
ISBN: 978 0 3304 5852 8
RRP: 6.99

Average Customer Rating: 
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Undemanding and unexceptional chic lit...

Fundamentally 'chic lit' (a term I dislike intensely), I was anticipating something inspirational or at the very least - interesting in a womanly sort of way. After all, I remember a similarly titled film (The Hand That Rocks The Cradle) and its intensely terrifying theme of allowing a stranger into your most intimate domain only to discover that your trust has been wholly abused and misplaced to catastrophic proportions. Alas, The Cradle Snatcher did nothing to live up to the expectations delivered somewhat subliminally via its enticing title.

A successful business woman from an extraordinarily affluent background gets married to a younger man, but when their pregnancy turns out to be twins, this normally calm and orderly woman dissolves into a hysterical version of her former self. Despite previously abhorring the idea of a nanny raising her offspring, Clare soon comes around to the idea, preferring instead to continue her pre-baby life as a business woman. Unfortunately, Clare realises that she can't have her cake and eat it. Her severe reliance on her nanny, who has some domestic violence issues of her own, is unashamedly put down to an inability to cope with motherhood and in incapacity to feel a maternal instinct for both her children. I would have thought post-natal depression would account for the emotional response and subsequent teariness - but this is never mentioned.

On top of everything, Clare's husband is quietly loosing hundreds of thousands of pounds and ruthlessly relieving Clare's business of its pot of cash. What a charmer he is! With a coolly distant and emotionally defunct mother, a seemingly perpetually drunk brother and a bunch of self-absorbed socialites as a support network - it is entirely understandable that events get a bit much. But it is not the nanny that Clare should be wary of - the threat to her children is closer at hand.

There is no deadly rivalry. There is a foolish and unsympathetic husband who absconds with one of the twins - but even that fails to raise any real tension or sense of purpose. The crude illustration of upper class British society is a little too crass and stereotyped for my liking and I found many parts of the storyline either overly contrived or simply unrealistic (a random stranger suddenly falls in love with Clare and then miraculously is exactly the one person who can find her missing husband - I don't think so!). That is not to say that the book isn't well written, in a kind of intimate way, I guess I just discovered that 'chic lit' isn't my thing.


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