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A Necessary End: A Novel

A Necessary End: A Novel

3.4 5
by Holly Brown

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How far would you go to get what you wanted? The author of Don’t Try to Find Me returns with a taut, riveting novel of psychological suspense—a domestic drama full of secrets and twists—about a woman determined to have a child, her ambivalent husband, and a pregnant teenager with a secret agenda of her own.

“I know now that there


How far would you go to get what you wanted? The author of Don’t Try to Find Me returns with a taut, riveting novel of psychological suspense—a domestic drama full of secrets and twists—about a woman determined to have a child, her ambivalent husband, and a pregnant teenager with a secret agenda of her own.

“I know now that there was no other way things could have turned out. Tragedies are inevitable, just like the great love stories, like us.”

Thirty-nine-year-old Adrienne is desperate to be a mother. And this time, nothing is going to get in her way.

Sure, her husband, Gabe, is ambivalent about fatherhood. But she knows that once he holds their baby, he’ll come around. He’s just feeling a little threatened, that’s all. Because once upon a time, it was Gabe that Adrienne wanted more than anything; she was willing to do anything. . . . But that was half a lifetime ago. She’s a different person now, and so is Gabe. There are lines she wouldn’t cross, not without extreme provocation.

And sure, she was bitten once before by another birth mother—clear to the bone—and for most people, it’s once bitten, twice shy. But Adrienne isn’t exactly the retiring type.

At nineteen, Leah bears a remarkable resemblance to the young woman Adrienne once was. Which is why Adrienne knows the baby Leah is carrying is meant to be hers. But Leah’s got ideas of her own: Her baby’s going to get a life in California; why shouldn’t she? All she wants is to live in Adrienne’s house for a year after the baby’s born, and get a fresh start.

It seems like a small price for Adrienne to pay to get their baby. And with Gabe suddenly on board, what could possibly go wrong?

Editorial Reviews

-Sophie Hannah
Praise for A Necessary End: “Holly Brown’s novels are irresistibly readable and infused with a profound understanding of human frailty.”
Mary Kubica
“Darkly funny and perfectly twisted, [...] a gritty look at infertility and adoption, and the implications of being deprived those things we want. With elaborate characters you’ll love to hate and an ending that will stun, Holly Brown proves herself a master storyteller and an expert of suspense.”
Sophie Hannah
“Holly Brown’s novels are irresistibly readable and infused with a profound understanding of human frailty.”
Associated Press Staff
“highly stylized [...] Brown adds layer after layer to this well-constructed psychological drama, showing the unchecked emotions seething just below the surface. A clever twist [...] illustrates how watching unsympathetic people battle each other can be quite satisfying.”
USA Today
“[A Necessary End] offers a glimpse of a writer whose sensitivity to the nature of the modern family, and all of its possibilities for tragedy, could soon lift her into a league with Paula Hawkins and Jodi Picoult.”
Library Journal
Soon-to-be-40 Adrienne is so desperate for a baby that she allows a pregnant teenager whose child she will adopt to move into her and husband Gabe's California home. Does this sound like a good idea? From the author of Don't Try To Find Me, a licensed therapist whose blog Bonding Time has 1.5 million visitors a month; a 50,000-copy first printing.
Kirkus Reviews
What could go wrong with an open adoption among a woman desperate for a baby, her less-enthusiastic husband, and the strange young woman who demands a very special price for relinquishing her child? In Brown's second novel, just about everything. Adrienne wants a baby more than anything. As she approaches middle age unable to have one of her own, she and husband Gabe are still licking their wounds following a terrible experience with another soon-to-be mother, Patty. Although Gabe is indifferent to the idea of fatherhood and happy with his life as a car salesman living about 40 minutes from San Francisco, Adrienne, a second-grade teacher, has become obsessed with motherhood. So when Leah, a beautiful, pregnant teen, gets in touch with them and asks for a ticket to California, Adrienne is more than happy to spring for it. When Leah arrives, both Gabe and Adrienne are stunned to see how much she resembles Adrienne. Soon, the newcomer—due to give birth in a couple of weeks—puts her cards on the table and demands that she be allowed to live with the new parents for a year after the child's birth. Although initially resistant, they capitulate, and, from there, things go from simply strange to diabolical. While Brown (Don't Try to Find Me, 2014) has a winning writing style, she hasn't managed to correct the one major flaw that marred her first novel: she fails to create sympathetic people. Not one of the characters—Adrienne, Gabe, Leah—has a single redeeming characteristic. They're all presented as selfish, opportunistic, and interested only in themselves, placing the reader in the unenviable position of having no one to root for and, thus, no stake in the book's eventual disastrous outcome. Unlikable people doing bad things to one another.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Holly Brown lives with her husband and toddler daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she's a practicing marriage and family therapist. She is the author of the novel Don't Try to Find Me, and her blog, "Bonding Time," is featured on the mental health website PsychCentral.com.

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A Necessary End: A Novel 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The end. Throughout the book I kept reading for the climax. I feel let down. Great read though.
onemused 12 days ago
"A Necessary End" was a depressing and troubling story that flips between Adrienne and Gabe- a couple in their upper-30s that has been unable to have children. There is a lot beneath the surface of their relationship and their own needs. Adrienne is obsessed with having a child- she is unable to physically have one, so she knows she must adopt. She wants the whole experience though- to the point that she does things like draw dark hair on her abdomen with eyeliner to look like pregnancy, etc. Gabe does not really want kids, but he will do it for Adrienne. There are mentions of a past problem with adoption, and we very very slowly get the story from between chapter excerpts every now and again (Patty). Anyway, a new young woman calls them (Leah) and is willing to let them adopt her baby. Adrienne is convinced that she will make this work- even though Leah also wants to live with them for a year with a stipend, etc. and won't allow them to adopt the baby until the end of the year. Adrienne and Gabe have a lot more going on that it would appear on the surface, and we witness all the painstaking thoughts about each other and their lives as we flip between the two. Their marriage really seemed doomed/very unhappy. All of the characters felt painfully and desperately unhappy with their lives. It was a difficult read for that reason (emotionally). You feel their anxiety and depression keenly with how the book is written. There are the mysteries which carry you through and keep you reading (e.g. will they actually get the baby at the end of the year? Will something happen between Gabe and Leah? What happened with Patty in the past?) but overall, I just found it really sad/troubling. The ending got even weirder and more depressing. It's not an easy read. I don't think I would ever pick it up again or seek out more like it, but it was certainly intriguing and intense (despite a slow pace). Please note that I received this book through a goodreads giveaway. All opinions are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good story with a surprise ending you don't expect.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Adrienne has been wishing and hoping for a child for years and after being burned once she is having a hard time trusting. In walks Leah who is pregnant but is in need of a new and fresh start and wants to use Gabe and Adrienne for this start. She will provide the wanted baby if they provide the new life. This was such a fantastically twisted story! All characters involved had their own personal motives in mind and definitely did not have anyone else in mind whenever they made a decision. As a reader it was hard to choose who to root for and to pick sides (which is my favorite part sometimes), so I was frustrated because no character did I really like.