Imagine a world where humans are bred like cattle, but in a spa.
This is the premise for the story. Women are recruited to be surrogate mothers for rich people who select the 'host' based on health and ethnicity. They are kept at a health spa full of massages and healthy living. They are monitored regularly and wear bracelets that keep track of their activities, heart rate and so on.
What is in this for the surrogates is money. They sign contracts that may be very lucrative and so most of these young women are in dire need of cash: immigrants, single mothers, students.
This is an interesting idea and I'm not entirely sure places like this do not already exist, even if illegally. The characters in the book represent the different moral viewpoints of this type of baby farming, from those who think it is a good use of unwanted monthly eggs to those who believe they are being exploited through their poverty. The characters also stand for each type of surrogate: the rich girl, the student, the immigrant. All a little too contrived. The themes also cover racist aspects where the ideal baby is fair skinned and light-eyed, the attitudes and conditioned behaviours of the immigrant Filipino women.
The novel is easy to read with a thin plot over the concept of the 'farm'. Towards the end the pace increases as the plot kicks in. Until then the book describes the life and process the surrogate mothers and the auxiliary staff endure, without much of a story.
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing on 7 May 2019. Advanced review copy supplied by the publisher.