Kat White, the narrator of this engrossing domestic thriller from British author Jensen (The Sister), is devastated when she and her husband, Nick, apply a second time for an international adoption and are once again rejected. By chance, Kat runs into her estranged best friend, Lisa Sullivan, in a coffee shop in Craneshill, England, where the Whites live. The two were close until Kat began dating Lisa’s twin brother, Jake, who died in a car accident. At one point, after the former friends reconnect, Lisa says she was a surrogate for a celebrity couple and would be thrilled to help Kat. They proceed with the surrogacy, and Lisa becomes pregnant, but Kat soon has cause to wonder whether she can trust her friend—Lisa has doctor’s appointments without her, wants extra money, and disappears for days. Meanwhile, Kat starts to doubt Nick’s commitment to being a father and worries he’s having an affair. As it happens, both Kat and Nick have secrets that threaten to undermine their marriage. Credible characters complement the twist-filled plot. Agent: Rory Scarfe, Blair Partnership (U.K.). (Dec.)
Jensen's third domestic thriller (The Sister; The Gift) focuses on main character Kat White's obsession with having a child; she'll go to any length. After finding out she can't conceive, she and husband Nick try to adopt a baby internationally. Two adoptions in a row fall through and then an old friend of Kat's shows up. Lisa hasn't spoken to Kat for ten years because of some mysterious event in their past. But without a moment's hesitation, she offers herself up as a surrogate. Red herrings and plot twists abound in this dramatic, fast-paced thriller, with suspicions of infidelity, deception, and delusions adding to the tense atmosphere. The traumatic events of Kat's past are unexpectedly linked to her husband's secrets, and in the final chapters everything comes crashing down in ways that only very astute readers could predict. VERDICT This twisty, soapy novel is full of a multitude of plot devices. While the trope of a wife who is not what she seems is becoming a little overused, there is still enough drama and excitement to satisfy readers of books similar to Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl or Shari Lapena's The Couple Next Door.—Melanie Kindrachuk, Stratford P.L., Ont.
The all-consuming desire to have a child leads one woman down a very dark road.
English couple Kat and Nick have been happily married for eight years, and though Kat's work with a charity benefiting stroke victims is fulfilling, there's still something missing: Kat desperately wants to be a mum, but she can't conceive. They've already had one adoption fall through, and Kat is eagerly awaiting news on another arrangement. When Kat's estranged best friend, Lisa, comes back into her life, seemingly by chance, they head to a pub and, over drinks, decide to put their fraught past behind them. As they're catching up, Lisa mentions that she gave birth to a little girl as a surrogate not too long ago. When Kat and Nick's new adoption proves unsuccessful, Kat is heartbroken, but she soon decides Lisa would be a perfect surrogate. A contract is drawn up, and Kat and Nick set about the business of getting Lisa pregnant, choosing to forego a clinic in favor of home insemination. When they get the news that Lisa is pregnant, Kat is over the moon, but Nick seems reticent. No matter. Nothing is going to ruin this experience for Kat, and she sees an opportunity to reconnect with her closest friend, whom she last saw after a car accident in high school killed Kat's first love, Jake. But Lisa loved Jake too, and as strange things start to happen, Kat begins to question their arrangement as well as everything she thought she knew about her marriage and her past. Using her considerable talent for probing the dark corners of marriage and friendship, Jensen (The Date, 2018, etc.) throws more wickedly effective twists into the mix than you can shake a stick at. Just about nothing is as it seems, and Jensen's urgent, brisk writing style begs you to read just one more chapter. If the genuinely shocking finale asks readers to suspend disbelief a little too much, they'll probably be having way too much fun to care.
An addictive, darkly satisfying treat.
"Using her considerable talent for probing the dark corners of marriage and friendship, Jensen throws more wickedly effective twists into the mix than you can shake a stick at. Just about nothing is as it seems, and Jensen's urgent, brisk writing style begs you to read just one more chapter. If the genuinely shocking finale asks readers to suspend disbelief a little too much, they'll probably be having way too much fun to care. An addictive, darkly satisfying treat."Kirkus
"Jensen is back with an intense, page-turning psychological thriller. Readers will whip through the pages as the narrative switches between past and present. With characters as desperate as they are damaged, Jensen creates a mood of hope versus doubt, which works extremely well in building and sustaining the panicked pace. Riddled with incredible, unforeseen revelations coupled with a creepy ending that could keep readers up at night, this novel is a sure bet for fans of psychological suspense and domestic thrillers."Booklist
"This novel was paced perfectly and I actually finished it in one day because I couldn't put it down... so addictive! The Surrogate is a 5-star novel that is a 2017 must read! I am already looking forward to reading what Louise Jensen comes out with next!"Steph and Chris Book Reviews
"This book had more twists and turns than a rollercoaster, with the heart thumping feeling to go with it! If you like psychological thrillers, then definitely read this one.... you will not regret it! Five Stars!"Stardust Book Reviews
"Ever since I read Louise Jensen's debut The Sister I've been a huge fan of her writing, but OMG The Surrogate, her latest and most adventurous book yet, plants her firmly on my list of "must-read" authors... I really think this is the author's best book yet and it is definitely one of the best psychological thrillers I've read this year."The Book Review Cafe
"Just as I thought the story was wrapping up BANG! I was hit again with another twist. Brilliant! It is chilling and sinister and yet heart-breaking and tragic, and I felt really emotional on finishing it... I can't wait to read more by Louise."Bloomin Brilliant Books
"Wow! What an amazing debut novel! Full of intense twists! Fantastic book to start off summer reading! Highly recommend."Loud and Proud Book Junkie
"I genuinely struggled to put this book down... I can't recommend this book enough, it's made it to my favourites... I can't wait for more books to come from Louise Jensen... A well-deserved five stars from me."Emporio Epidemic