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Bye, Baby - Review


I received an audio copy from MacMillian Audio and a digital from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley. All views are my own.


Where to begin? I was not fond of Carola Lovering’s latest novel, Bye, Baby. The book boasted a thriller aspect of a baby napping committed by a supposed best friend and a mysterious atmosphere dealing with a sad yet shaky past. But by the time I got to the end of the book, I was bored, uninterested, and a little mad that I didn’t DNF earlier.


"On a brisk fall night in a New York apartment, 35-year-old Billie West hears terrified screams. It's her lifelong best friend Cassie Barnwell, one floor above, and she's just realized her infant daughter has gone missing. Billie is shaken as she looks down into her own arms to see the baby, remembering—with a jolt of fear—that she is responsible for the kidnapping that has instantly shattered Cassie’s world.
So begins the story of Billie and Cassie's friendship--both in recent weeks, and since they met twenty-three years ago, in their small Hudson Valley hometown the summer before seventh grade. Once fiercely bonded by their secrets, including a traumatic, unspeakable incident in high school, Cassie and Billie have drifted apart in adulthood, no longer the inseparable pair they used to be. Cassie is married to a wealthy man, has recently become a mother, and is building a following as a fashion and lifestyle influencer. She is desperate to leave her past behind--including Billie, who is single and childless, and no longer fits into her world. Hurt and rejected by Cassie’s new priorities, Billie will do anything to restore their friendship, even as she hides the truth about what really happened the night the baby was taken.
Told in alternating perspectives in Lovering’s signature suspenseful style, Bye Baby confronts the myriad ways friendships change and evolve over time, the lingering echoes of childhood trauma, and the impact of women’s choices on their lifelong relationships."

               

I had access to check out this title via audio. I didn’t care much about the narrators Helen Laser and Karissa Vacker’s performance. The story was so much of a slow burn that I ignored how Laser and Vacker narrated. Maybe if it was a different story, I could appreciate it more. But for now, eh.

               

When the hook sells you on your “Best Friend” stealing your four-month-old baby and not for a fun day out, it makes you question what kind of friendship these people have or what type of person would do that. This is the story between Billie West and Cassie Barnwell. Since we already know that there’s a kidnapping involved, I was interested in how the author would play it out. Did the girl have psychological issues? Jealously problems? A friend posing as a good friend, but in reality, she is a stranger out for greater gains? The possibilities were endless. Neither one of those outcomes was chosen.


               

There was one thing I loathed about the story. I didn’t like the push on people with kids vs. people who don’t want them. While we were trying to find the suspense in the book, Lovering overly sparked the topics of babies and the judgments of not having or wanting one. I don’t know why the narrative was pushed so hard, especially since it had nothing to do with the events in the story. Lovering tried to tie it all in to have meaning, but instead, it came out as a high society snobbery and a shameful act for the people who choose to live life their way.

               

The more I read, the more I wonder why this story was told. Nothing was thrilling, stressful, or mysterious about it. There was no ‘Oh my God!’ moment. I watched a childhood friendship dissolve, and one didn’t know how to let go—point blank, period.

               

Overall, I rated this book 2.5 stars. I should’ve DNF it. I kept reading, thinking there would be more to the story, a purpose as vindictive to the point where you took a baby. Something to save this novel! Eleven and some change hours later, and here we are: bored.


Bye, Baby debuts March 5,2024



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