This Child of Mine, by Sinéad Moriarty
This Child of Mine
The grounded, poised, carefree Sophie has lived a happy and perfectly ordinary life growing up in London with her respectable, doting Irish mother, Anna. But the 18-year-old’s doe-eyed existence begins to erode when she and her best friend, Holly, spend a night channel-surfing and stumble on a television interview with an Irish artist who is startlingly similar to Sophie. Eyebrows are raised, questions surface and Sophie subsequently spends the summer digging into her past, pursuing answers and learning that her life is less ordinary than she’d thought. Sinéad Moriarty’s This Child of Mine at times manages bursts of page-turner prowess, but overall this is a “tell, don’t show” novel weighed down in protracted plot and grating repetitiveness. Moriarty’s leading ladies, Sophie, Anna and Laura, display little personality or depth, while her most likable and distinctive characters, Holly and Nancy, are mostly left on the sidelines. There are a few laughs and tender moments, but ultimately This Child of Mine fails to enthral.