Pete Riley answers the door one morning and lets in a parent’s worst nightmare. On his doorstep is Miles Lambert, a stranger who breaks the devastating news that Pete’s son, Theo, isn’t actually his son—he is the Lamberts’, switched at birth by an understaffed hospital while their real son was sent home with Miles and his wife, Lucy. For Pete, his partner Maddie, and the little boy they’ve been raising for the past two years, life will never be the same again.

The two families, reeling from the shock, take comfort in shared good intentions, eagerly entwining their very different lives in the hope of becoming one unconventional modern family. But a plan to sue the hospital triggers an official investigation that unearths some disturbing questions about the night their children were switched. How much can they trust the other parents—or even each other? What secrets are hidden behind the Lamberts’ glossy front door? Stretched to the breaking point, Pete and Maddie discover they will each stop at nothing to keep their family safe.

Playing Nice brings out the worst kind of crisis for two couples, one that will change everything they believed and hoped to find in family life.

At first, when the Lamberts seem congenial and eager to compromise, Pete and Maddie almost sigh with relief. But then the true nightmare begins, when the act of “playing nice” is revealed in full.

As Miles begins to show his true self and the horror of his intentions, his actions intensify as the custody case ratchets up.

But what happens next after a judge makes her decision? Will there be happiness at last, or will more secrets come out that will change everything again? Who will finally find comfort and joy with the children? A brilliant story that kept me turning pages and hoping for the right outcome for my favorite characters. 5 stars.

***My e-ARC came from the publisher via NetGalley



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