A new novel from the bestselling author of MY FAIR MAN and STEPFORD HUSBANDS is a tense and compelling suspense of obsession and desire.
Chrissie, Carole and Joanna are more than friends, they're like family, their bond forged as a result of their unhappy childhoods.
Now in their thirties, they're just as close, even at very different stages in their lives: Chrissie is single, Carole happily married with a son to a man they all joke is Mr Perfect, and Joanna divorced with a young daughter. But a fundamental desire unites them – their yearning for children. Carole is pregnant again. But how can Chrissie and Joanna fulfil their dream without going through the turmoil of finding a man?
It is Carole who comes up with the ingenious plan. Her husband, Goran, is warm-hearted and generous, good-looking and clever – who better to be the father of all their children?
And so one by one three little boys are born. But Goran, it turns out, is not content to be just the nominal father of Chrissie and Joanna's sons. He wants something dangerously more…
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Jane Gordon lives in Chiswick with her family. She writes regularly for The Times, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and women’s magazines.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
It’s difficult to explain exactly how the whole idea came about. We didn’t cook it up along with one of the quick pasta suppers that the three of us would share one night a week. It wasn’t one of those notions that occur to Joanna or Carole or me – after two bottles of red wine – that promised, at the time, to be the answer to all our problems but which, in the cold light of the next day, would be revealed to be ridiculous and unworkable. Like the time that Joanna came up with a plan to heighten our spirituality by trekking to Nepal. Or the evening when Carole talked about her dream of creating a women’s cable channel with links to the worldwide web. It wasn’t some fanciful fantasy given life by alcohol and the passion of our friendship.
No, this big idea happened one Sunday afternoon in late spring when we were all more or less sober. I had, of course, brought along to our picnic a bottle of cheap champagne which we had consumed from plastic cups along with our sandwiches and salads.
… It had been Goran who had suggested our getting together that afternoon and Goran who had made the picnic. But then of course Goran could do anything. He was a great cook, he was willing and able to care for Sasha when Carole was late home from work and at the same time he was adept at all the stereotypically male jobs around the home – anything from rewiring their run down house to plumbing in a power shower.
‘Is there anything that Goran couldn’t do if he put his mind to it?’ Joanna asked as the three of us lay back and watched him entertaining the children by deftly juggling three apples in the air.
‘I doubt it’ Carole responded with a low chuckle. ‘But I tell you what he does best – he makes beautiful babies – beautifully.’
It was certainly true that Sasha shared his father’s beauty – he had the same black, flecked eyes, glossy hair and strong muscular build – and that he had also inherited a keen intelligence and sensitivity. I didn’t let myself think too much about the physical reality of Goran impregnating Carole with his super sperm but I think that both Joanna and I at that moment acknowledged that he was a perfect specimen of manhood.
‘That’s the thing isn’t it, though?’ I said after a moment or two, ‘Even if everything worked out with John and we got together properly I’m not sure I’d want to jump into the same gene pool with him. I’d be frightened of having a child with allergies and mild autism like his poor son.’
Voicing this truth – that however desperate I was for a child and how often I had dreamed of John leaving his wife I had never felt comfortable about the idea of him as a potential father – was the turning point for me that day.
I knew, even before Joanna inadvertently led us to our big idea, that the father of the child I longed for would have to be stronger – emotionally and intellectually, anyway – than John.
I suppose it was my comments about John’s genetic deficiencies that provoked Joanna to start talking about her theories on the future of mankind that afternoon. She began telling us how we would soon be living in a world where men would be graded as prospective partners by the strength and genetic perfection of their sperm. She believed (but then it is important to understand that Joanna had good reasons for her hatred of the male of the species) that scientific advances would lead us to a society in which the survival of the fittest – at least as far as men were concerned – would become a reality. She had this theory, backed up by a string of strange statistics, that men without declining sperm counts would be prized and valued by society and kept in fertility centres as sperm kings who would professionally impregnate women. Meanwhile the physical rejects, with weak, weedy, imperfect seeds would be emasculated (mind you, the voicing of Joanna’s theory was enough to do that to most men anyway).
Carole and I had heard all this, or something pretty close to it, before but on this particular day we came up with a new game – a Fantasy Fertility League – in which each of us would list our top ten perfect men. Mine were, needless to say, predictable (Ewan MacGregor and Brad Pitt were one and two) but when it was Joanna’s she just looked across at Goran and inclined her head. And it was then, out of the blue sky on that late May afternoon, that the idea was, well, born. We all three looked at Goran as he tumbled with the children and then we all three looked at each other.
It was Carole who gave voice to our thoughts. In fact, when I look back more closely at the hazy events of that day it seems to me now that of the three of us it was Carole who conceived – and I realise what a terrible pun that might seem – the whole turkeybasting business.
‘Goran the sperm king,’ she said.
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Book Description HARPER COLLINS, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: NEW. 9780006511014 This listing is a new book, a title currently in-print which we order directly and immediately from the publisher. Bookseller Inventory # HTANDREE0980271