*DISCLAIMER: I was given a copy of this book by a representative of Carly Rheilan in exchange for an honest review. I am sharing my own thoughts and reading experience of this book with you.*
Trigger Warning: this book dives into mental health and patients with violent behaviours towards themselves and others. There is also implications of abuse.
For the past few months, I’ve been on a hiatus because, well, I have school, and now it’s exam season so I can stay home (and study), come back to blogging (when I’m not studying) and share a few of the posts I’ve kept warm in my brain during this cold weather (and equally bitter studying).
So before I bore you to death any further, I’m just going to jump right into this review.
BirthRights is about a soon-to-be mother named Ana, a successful but controversial doctor. She’s smart, meticulous, assertive … and she’s not actually pregnant. She looks pregnant, she acts pregnant, but it’s all part of her plan.
Then one night, someone stabs her and all her hard work and planning begin to fall apart. She tries to pretend that this incident never happened, but she and her attacker weren’t alone. Despite no one believing what this witness claims, Ana does whatever she can to keep her fabricated lies and secrets safe, while fearing that her attacker might attempt to strike her again.
When I first read the plot summary to this book, I was instantly hooked. I don’t know what it is about stories with secrets, lies, a “pregnant” woman in danger, and death, but it sure captivated my attention.
I never read any of Carly Rheilan’s books before but she previously wrote a book called Asylum, which sounds just as dark as BirthRights, so I was very much interested in reading one of her books.
This story was new and exciting to me. I never read a book that heavily talked about mental health, was situated in a hospital or featured a doctor protagonist with a past. The fact that Rheilan is a psychiatric nurse and studied criminal justice makes this story feel informative (this information was found in the “About the author” section of her book). The plot was well-crafted, unique and perfectly executed. The dark subject matter and various topics covered in the plot kept the story suspenseful and refreshing to read. I did find some parts to be slow (but that could be me, as I am a slow reader), but the story itself was so compelling that it keeps you reading and guessing till the very end. You want to find out how this story unfolds.
I loved how Rheilan captured the complexities of human nature in her multifaceted characters. Sometimes you may agree with a character’s actions, sometimes you won’t. Sometimes you like a character, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you want Ana to succeed, but a part of you wonders what would happen if she didn’t. The omniscient narration allowed readers to get inside the head of all the characters and learn a bit about their own stories, their own motives and how their actions contribute to the outcome of the overall plot. I really enjoy these kinds of stories that play with cause-and-effect and show how one small action from one character can have an impact on the main character or the narrative. I also liked how each character got a chance to be featured in their own storylines among the overall plot and you got to learn a little about their own internal or external conflicts. This story felt more than just about Ana. No one was perfect here. They were perfectly flawed–as all humans are–and I liked that.
The writing was straight to the point and vivid. There was a lot of detail that made the story easy to visualize and feel very real to me.
I would recommend BirthRights to anyone who likes psychological thrillers or someone looking for a refreshing and unique novella-sized story (it’s 126 pages) from a new author. I feel inept to say this because I haven’t read the book yet, but I have seen the movie, so anyone who enjoyed watching Gone Girl will probably enjoy this book as well. It’s just as dark with morally flawed characters and elaborate scheming. Plus, my expectations for when I do read Gillian Flynn’s novels match what I anticipated for this book.
For more information about BirthRights or Carly Rheilan, you can check out the Goodreads page here
Let me know in the comments below if you have read/want to read BirthRights or what your thoughts were on the story.
And once again, thank you to Henry Roi for giving me this opportunity to read a book, write a review and share my honest opinions about it!