2017: When Angela Creighton discovers a mysterious letter containing a life-shattering confession, she is determined to find the intended recipient. Her search takes her back to the 1970s when a group of daring women operated an illegal underground abortion network in Toronto known only by its whispered code name: Jane.
1971: As a teenager, Dr. Evelyn Taylor was sent to a home for “fallen” women where she was forced to give up her baby for adoption—a trauma she has never recovered from. Despite harrowing police raids and the constant threat of arrest, she joins the Jane Network as an abortion provider, determined to give other women the choice she never had.
1980: After discovering a shocking secret about her family, twenty-year-old Nancy Mitchell begins to question everything she has ever known. When she unexpectedly becomes pregnant, she feels like she has no one to turn to for help. Grappling with her decision, she locates “Jane” and finds a place of her own alongside Dr. Taylor within the network’s ranks, but she can never escape the lies that haunt her.”
Looking for Jane (Amazon US) (Amazon UK) (Audible) (AbeBooks) is first and foremost, as the author explained, a story of motherhood. Of wanting to be a mother, of not wanting to be a mother, of the difficulties of being a mother, and a woman’s choice on whether to become a mother or not. Trigger warnings: suicide, infertility, abortion.
Based upon factual information, this book follows three women in their journeys to choose or not choose motherhood. The book is set in Canada, which I didn’t realize going in, and their history of battling for reproductive rights lasted until the late 1980’s when abortion became legal in that country.
It might be possible to be pro-life and still find some merit to this well thought-out book and the intertwining stories of the three featured women. It’s entirely possible that you could be pro-choice and decide after reading this book that your view has changed as well. It’s thought-provoking book that will stay with you after you read it.
Despite how you feel about abortion rights, you have to be appalled at these former institutions who made women, under duress and great pain, sign away their rights to their children, regardless of what they wanted. It reminds me of the issues surrounding the indigenous peoples with the United States and Canada’s governments. Some higher-ups decided what was best for these people, no matter what the people affected thought about the situation. That made me so mad.
I really appreciated the author’s notes to get a better understanding of the Canadian history and the history of the Jane Network, which I had not heard of before. This was a well-written debut novel from an author I look forward to future works from.
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