This insomniac's opinion:
This is M.L. Stedman's debut novel. You would never know that from this beautifully written novel, however. Somehow, the writing beguiled me into feeling such compassion for all of the parties involved that I was unsure how I wanted the novel to end. I was deeply moved by the plight of Isabel in her desperation to have a child. Even though I knew that keeping the baby without looking for her family was wrong, I understood how seductive a baby washing up would be to a mother who just gave birth to a stillborn baby two weeks before. How it would seem as though God, himself, had given you what you had been praying for. I found that I could not judge her for this. Even as everything comes apart for this family, I still managed to have complete compassion for her.(While also realizing that if someone stole my baby from me, all bets are off and they, of course, must die.)
Worth staying up all night to read?
Absolutely. Bring your tissues for the end.