Samantha Morgan is excited that she will soon pick up her newborn baby, being carried by a surrogate in India, using her deceased husband's sperm and her egg. The day of her baby shower at work, a strange woman approaches her and warns her about the man who seduced her as a fifteen-year-old. This man is now the Republican front-runner in the current Presidential Election. Shortly thereafter, women who also had youthful encounters with this man are dying under mysterious circumstances. Samantha and her friend Lisa, also a conquest of this man, go to India to pick up Samantha's baby, where they encounter Matthew Carlisle. Matthew Carlisle and his friend Lenny have also traveled to India to pick up his baby, which was conceived because of his ex-wife's desire for a child, although she left him and now he's responsible for the child. Samantha and Matthew take a dislike to each other when their personalities clash.
But Samantha and Matthew have to work together to rescue their pregnant surrogates when forces behind the Democratic incumbent plot to use Samantha's pregnant surrogate/unborn child to strongarm her into coming forward about her past with the Republican presidential candidate. Danger tracks them closely in this trek to take their new babies home, as the strangeness and beauty of India soaks into their psyches, and old emotional wounds start to heal.
The Baby Game is an interesting thriller novel that centers on the "what ifs" of a presidential election and what the candidates will do to win at any cost. The idea that this candidate was a seducer of young girls is quite disturbing, but completely plausible. It was hair-raising that people might engineer the murder of women just because they were victims of this man as young girls, and might endanger his chances of winning the election by coming forward. It was a novel approach to use the idea of two different people both engaging surrogates in a foreign country. I appreciated the view of India and the cultures exhibited in Samantha and Matthew's travels. There were plenty of humorous moments, which I enjoyed.
While I appreciated the storyline and plot, I had trouble grasping the overall tone of the novel. Initially, the story is very dark, but becomes almost slapstick towards its climax. I think that the combination of humor and wacky moments should have been more consistently distributed in the novel, instead of mostly towards the end, especially with the initial mayhem of these poor women being murdered and the idea that political parties would be willing to murder people like that.
Samantha and Matthew could have used more depth. I felt like I knew Samantha a little better, but ultimately she didn't come to life for me. She seemed to react to circumstances, but I didn't feel connected to her thought life. Moreso for Matthew. I could see that his divorce hit him hard, and had made him cynical, but I wanted to see how his experiences in India, with Samantha and his baby change him from the inside out. I just saw the end results.
Overall, The Baby Game was an entertaining read. The storyline was very interesting and unique. However, I do feel that the tone shift was confusing, and I wanted more exploration of the emotional aspects of Samantha and Matthew's experiences in India. Reader who enjoy suspense novels with a good dose of humor might enjoy this book. It's worthwhile reading just for the descriptions of India and its people.
Note: I received a copy of this book from the authors in exchange for an honest review.
*Reviewed by guest reviewer, Danielle Hill.
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