#aww2020 · 2020 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge · 2020 Reviews · contemporary fiction

POPSUGAR READING CHALLENGE 2020: Misconception by Rebecca Freeborn

Today I am marking off my thirty seventh #37th checkpoint category for the POPSUGAR READING CHALLENGE 2020 with:

An emotionally charged novel about love, loss, and what it means to be a mother.

Ali and Tom are the perfect couple. They both have successful careers and are still madly in love after ten years. But when they are told their unborn baby has died, their picture-perfect life is shattered.

Faced with an empty room, the prospect of catching up with friends and returning to work, Ali feels her control over the reality she wanted slipping further and further away.

But when Ali’s irresponsible mother re-enters her life, Ali discovers secrets from a past she’d forgotten ever existed.

Can Ali find a way to move forward without letting go of her memories?


A story that delves directly into a sensitive but essential subject matter, Misconception is a novel of miscarriage, stillbirth and grief. Written by Adelaide Hills resident Rebecca Freeborn, who also penned Hot Pursuit, Misconception is a much-needed novel that tackles an important topic experienced by so many often silently. A tale that grabbed my heart from the onset to the conclusion, Rebecca Freeborn’s second novel is a vital and compassionate piece of contemporary fiction.

Misconception follows married couple Ali and Tom. We are privy to the inner thoughts and feelings of both parties via Freeborn’s shifting third person form of narration. Misconception looks at the formation of Ali and Tom’s relationship from the start. We witness this couple fall in love, marry and make the decision to have children. Both have great careers and a solid friendship set, but Ali’s upbringing with her troubled mother comes into play as the story progresses. When Ali and Tom fall pregnant, they are naturally excited. However, when the baby stops moving at thirty weeks gestation, they learn that their baby has died. Misconception looks at life after this tragic event, as Ali and Tom struggle to readjust to the normal patterns of their life, without a baby. Each deals with their grief in different ways and it is Ali who struggles the most to gain control over her life. As Ali pushes Tom further and further away, she must confront some painful secrets about her past. Can this couple reconcile in their overwhelming fog of grief?

Misconception represents my first experience of the writing of Australian author Rebecca Freeborn. I have heard great things about Freeborn, via both the author’s debut Hot Pursuit and her most recent release, The Girl She Was. Following my positive reading experience of Misconception, I will definitely aim to catch up on both books.

Misconception is a necessary and almost indispensable read in my opinion. With miscarriage and stillbirth a very common experience for many couples, Misconception is a book that places this sensitive topic in the public eye. I am sure many readers out there will find that this book provides them with a voice, some semblance and hope in relation to infant loss. Freeborn tackles this emotionally fraught subject area with insight, compassion and realism.

The style of narration which flips between both the male and female couple of this tale was a good move on behalf of the author. This allows Freeborn to interrogate themes of grief, loss, emotions and gender expectations. We see how the male figure of this tale is very in touch with his feelings and emotions. While Ali, the female viewpoint of this novel, is quite detached but also out of control. It was interesting to follow these two very different responses to grief, which seemed to point out to me personally that no one experience of grief is normal, or expected.

Misconception is defined by short and sharp chapters, which often encourage the reader to continue on with the story, even if they are time poor. Misconception is poised piece, defined by even narrative pacing and solid character constructions. I also appreciated Freeborn’s focus on the before aspects of this couple, as we observe the formation of Tom and Ali’s relationship, along with their past histories. By opening up Ali’s past wounds, we begin to understand why Ali acts in certain less desirable, self destructive and often frustrating ways. Misconception aims to illuminate how the loss of a child can ultimately impact so many facets of both the mother and the father’s lives. For Ali and Tom, it impacts their careers, family relationships, friendships, interests, personal health, mental wellbeing and ultimately their marriage.  Devastating, stark, raw and honest, I valued the journey presented in Misconception a great deal.

Open up your heart to this painful but fundamental story of overwhelming loss, marital estrangement, family pressures, self worth, personal crisis and acceptance. Misconception is a tender and deep contemporary tale that tackles a delicate subject.

**** 4 stars

Misconception by Rebecca Freeborn was published on 15th July 2019. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of Misconception, Rebecca Freeborn, visit here.

Misconception is book #127 of the 2020 Australian Women Writers Challenge

2 thoughts on “POPSUGAR READING CHALLENGE 2020: Misconception by Rebecca Freeborn

  1. OMG I absolutely loved this book despite the subject content, it was one of those books you couldn’t stop reading – absolutely heartbreaking!! I too am now a fan of her writing and have her latest book on my kindle to read in the future – such a powerful story.

    Liked by 1 person

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