Publication: 6th August 2020 – Quercus
Pete Riley answers the door one morning to a parent’s worst nightmare. On his doorstep is Miles Lambert, who breaks the devastating news that Pete’s two-year-old, Theo, isn’t Pete’s real son – their babies got mixed up at birth.
The two families – Pete, his partner Maddie, and Miles and his wife Lucy – agree that, rather than swap the boys back, they’ll try to find a more flexible way to share their children’s lives. But a plan to sue the hospital triggers an investigation that unearths disturbing questions about just what happened the day the babies were switched.
And when Theo is thrown out of nursery for hitting other children, Maddie and Pete have to ask themselves: how far do they want this arrangement to go? What secrets lie hidden behind the Lamberts’ smart front door? How much can they trust the real parents of their child – or even each other?
An addictive psychological thriller, perfect for fans of The Silent Patient and Shari Lapena’s The Couple Next Door.
What would you do if you found out that the child you have been raising and loving for the past two years is not yours? That your biological son was swapped at birth and he’s being raised by two strangers? After the initial shock, Pete and Maddie decide to make the most of the situation and welcome Lily and Miles, the biological parents of their son Theo, into their lives. From the beginning the two families seem to get along fine, after all, they have the same goal: do what’s best for the children. However, as times passes, Miles seems to get himself more and more involved in Theo’s life, turning up unannounced at Pete and Maddie’s door, organizing holidays together, and deciding which school Theo should go to. Soon, they find out that when things don’t go his way, Miles’s charming and friendly attitude can turn dark and he would do anything to get what he wants.
I am not a parent, so I wouldn’t know how I would react if something like that happened to me, but JP Delaney’s insightful descriptions of Pete and Maddie’s feelings throughout the ordeal are heartbreaking and sincere. Although there were times where I didn’t really like these two characters, I really felt for them as they risked to lose their son twice: first at childbirth, as he was born premature and they didn’t know if he would survive, and then in their fight with Miles.
Pete seems the too-good-to-be-true guy. Gentle, caring, nice, trying to see the good in people and always accommodating. Maddie, on the other hand, is a more complex character. She struggled with motherhood, the difficult birth and post-partum depression, and her love for Theo. At times, she seems distant and cold and she is hiding something.
Playing Nice is a compelling, thrilling, and psychological story about parenthood and family drama. It is full of twists that keep you on the edge of the seat until the very end and ask the question: what would you do to protect your child? And, in a battle between nature vs nurture, who would win? Genetics or the child’s upbringing?
A huge thank you to Ella and Quercus for providing me with a copy of the novel.
Follow the rest of the Social Media Blast: