The novel begins with a crisis. Jessica, the 36-year-old heroine, discovers that she is pregnant at the most impossible moment in her business life. ‘What will this do to me?’ she asks. She fears it will destroy her.  

The narrative of past events begins with Lily, Jessica’s mother, full of anger when she falls pregnant at the inconvenient age of 42. Her life will be thwarted and the birth will slowly destroy her. Lives mirror lives. A clock is set ticking. The plots ravel and collide.  

The theme of the book is ‘motherhood’ but here are many versions of ‘parenting’ – fathers as mothers, mothers as ‘men of business’, traditional late Fifties ‘housewifery’ and paternal indifference.  

The key question of the book is can a woman be complete without being a mother? Jessica has no doubt that she can.  

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REVIEW by Professor Derek Brewer, formerly of Emmanuel College, Oxford:  

“The underlying theme of parenthood and especially the rejection of motherhood is well and variously treated along with all the baggage of thoroughly modern people and their concerns and speech. It seems to me that you handle quite a varied cast of characters and a convincing mixture of private and public concerns. You boldly take a woman’s point of view and as far as I can see express it very well. The grim climax seems to be well prepared. Like A Fat Gold watch touches, with originality and feeling but without sentimentality, on a modern dilemma.”