Playing Nice by JP Delaney. (2020).
**4.5 out of 5 stars**
Pete answers the door one morning to a parent’s worst nightmare: a man named Miles breaks the news that Pete’s 2 year old son Theo isn’t Pete’s son – their babies got mixed up at birth. Pete and his partner Maddie, and Miles and his wife Lucy agree that instead of swapping the boys they’ll find a more flexible way to share their lives. But a plan to sue the hospital triggers an investigation that unearths disturbing questions around the baby swap. And when Theo is expelled from nursery for hitting other children, Maddie and Pete have to ask how far they want this arrangement to go. What secrets do the other couple have? How much can they trust them – or even each other?
Argh as a parent this is such a horrifying concept to even imagine, let alone know that it actually happens in real life (one hopes very rarely)! So what a perfect storyline for a thriller novel really. This book alternates between Pete and Maddie’s perspectives, as well as including some intermissions in the form of evidence transcripts for a court case. I think we could all guess that while perhaps there was good intentions, it was never going to work in having a flexible share life with the two families. I’m not sure we would all guess how far the events in this book would escalate though! On top of the primary issue of how the families are coping with getting to know one another in this terrible situation, there is a lot of other drama going on: secrets being kept and revealed, aggressive and manipulative personalities, one child having serious health issues, relationship issues and so on.
I would highly recommend this gripping thriller that you won’t want to put down because you will just want to see how it all wraps up!