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Perceptive plot fuels emotional ‘Her Daughter’s Mother’

June 18, 2019

“Her Daughter’s Mother: a Novel” (Putnam), by Daniela Petrova

For some couples, the plan to have a child becomes an all-consuming quest when they are faced with infertility issues. That’s the situation for New York art curator Lana Stone in “Her Daughter’s Mother,” Daniela Petrova’s gripping and quite plausible debut.

Lana and her partner, Tyler, have been trying to have a baby almost from the day they moved in together. Miscarriages, hormone shots and the constant focus on getting pregnant have drained the couple emotionally and financially and Lana’s career is in tatters. At 39, Lana believes her last chance to have a baby is to be implanted with eggs from a donor. But a few days before the egg transfer, Tyler leaves her, telling her he can’t take the emotional turmoil anymore.

Lana goes through with the procedure, planning to raise a child by herself. The donors are anonymous, but photographs are supplied so couples can compare appearances. Lana is determined to find a donor who shares her Bulgarian heritage. A few weeks after her pregnancy is confirmed, Lana sees her donor on the subway. She follows the young woman — Katya Dimitrova — and the two become close. Lana knows this is against the rules. Although Katya seems overly clingy, Lana seems powerless to stop herself. It doesn’t end well.

Alternating the viewpoints of Lana, Tyler and Katya allows readers to understand each character and the motives that propel them.

A perceptive plot wrapped around how infertility can destroy a relationship fuels the emotional “Her Daughter’s Mother.” The novel also touches on how obsession can overpower one’s sense of self. But Petrova delves deeper in her plot with intriguing twists making even the most benign action and supposed coincidences seem sinister and foreboding.

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