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Maternal Instinct

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  123 ratings  ·  79 reviews
Australia 2040. No child lives in poverty and every child is safe. But at what cost?

19-year-old Monica never wanted a baby but the laws require her to give birth twice before she can move on with her life.

Now that her first son, Oscar, has arrived she's not so sure she wants to hand him over to be raised by professional parents: the Maters and Paters.

When Monica turns to
Paperback, 312 pages
Published October 7th 2019 by Story Addict
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Average rating 3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  123 ratings  ·  79 reviews

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Jun 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Dystopia at its finest! It gave me Brave New World vibes (my all time favourite) which made Maternal Instinct a very enjoyable read for me.

I appreciate that the author didnt go the route of so many other dystopias (blaming Christianity for everything). Maternal Instincts religion is capitalism. The formation of this new society seems naturally derived to eliminate todays scourges on society. Its the answer to failing childcare policies and a well build support system. I can see how the books
Karen’s Library
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dystopian
4 1/2 stars. This debut novel was a fascinating look into a dystopian world where women must have 2 children each. No more, no less. They live in a group home from pregnancy until the child is 6 months old where they receive the best care possible. The men also take their turns of living at the group homes to care for the mothers-to-be/new mothers. When the child turns 6 months old, he/she moves to their permanent "family" where they are raised by professional maters and paters. All of this is ...more
Veronica Strachan
Maternal Instinct delivers an uncomfortable future that's not only possible, it's moving closer to highly probable every day.
"I don't want to feel like this," she whispered. "But I do."
As a midwife and working mother, this story rings eerily true and is undeniably troubling. And having spent four decades myself trying to make a difference in our resource constrained healthcare sector, the government policies and posturing on within the pages are all too real.
"None of that warranted turning
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Review to come on my blog closer to review day - still need to write it but did enjoy this one!
Jun 14, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a story of human nature, parental instincts, and immense personal strength

The story follows Monica and Alice, Monicas biological mother, as they navigate the fairly new enforcement of rules surrounding procreation and child bearing. In Australia in 2040 couples are no longer allowed to conceive naturally. Everyone knows that this is for the good of the in-vitro babies, the parents, and society generally, but that doesnt stop maternal instinct from blossoming

This book reminded me a little
Annoyed Thyroid
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was sent a copy of this debut novel to review and although dystopian fiction isn't usually my jam, I really enjoyed this.

Set in Australia in 2040 where no child lives in poverty and every child is safe is all well and good but of course this comes at an epic cost. I was totally drawn in by the end of the first chapter, the plot was easy to follow and the characters are really relatable.

It's a story about human nature, parental instinct and personal strength and keeps things real about
Review to come.
Alanah Andrews
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What if we could solve the issues of overpopulation, child abuse and neglect? What if we could ensure that ALL children were raised in the very best way, by people qualified for such a job?

This is the premise behind 'Maternal Instinct', a dystopian novel set in Australia. It's an interesting question, and one that I, as a mother, often find myself asking - how am I qualified to raise two humans? Am I doing the right thing? And then of course, when you go back to work, there's the guilt.

Sandra "Jeanz"
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dystopian, 2019
I felt immediately curious about a society that strongly discourages married/loving couple conceiving naturally an bringing up their baby together.

In this book we have two eras in time the past in 2020 when Alice and Oliver were in the Mandatory National Procreation Service and the present is 2040 when it is Monica, Alices daughter that is in the process of her Mandatory National Procreation Service. So to explain this Mandatory Procreation Service, all males and females around the age of 19
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dystopian fiction isn't normally my go-to genre, but I was intrigued by the premise of this novel so was happy to receive an early review copy. Thankfully, I wasn't disappointed.
From the first chapter I was totally drawn in by how scary but realistic the premise is. I couldn't even imagine carry a child, caring for them for six months and then giving them to someone else to raise!
Bowyer has taken this idea and built a world that on the outside seems like the ideal world to raise a child in,
Nov 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved this book set in 2040 as we witness the Equality Party in control in Australia. Women are required to have 2 children who then are raised by a Mater and Pater with the mother being able to visit on Sundays. That way women and resume their studies and the children are cared for by "capable" parents. It's a chilling tale as it documents the genetic studies gone too far in an attempt to create "perfect" infants and reduce the risk of birth defects. But one mother and daughter (who's just ...more
Oct 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley-2019
I received a complimentary copy of this book through Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
In 2040 Australia, natural conception is against the law and every woman is required to conceive two babies genetically screened for diseases by the G.D.S. or Genetic Diversification System. After graduation the women move into group homes where their pregnancies are supervised, and are required to raise their babies for six months before handing them over to qualified child
Emily-Jane Clark
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's not often a book can keep me gripped enough to stay up all night these days but this one did! The idea that all babies must be handed over at six months to be raised by 'professional parents' the Maters and Paters - is a terrifying one - but even more terrifying is the fact it is quite believable!!
It reminds me a bit of Vox but with more relatable and characters. Great read! I think this author is going to be BIG.
Dec 31, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating take on what the world could look like if optimized for the benefit of our children.
Ivana BM
Jun 21, 2019 rated it liked it
This book is a mix of different styles with a general feeling of a Handmaid's Tale atmosphere.
20 years from now, Australia has new government and a new population / fertility policy. Every woman is obliged to have two children, take a maternal leave for that time, and then give to kids to artificial family, whose job is to raise children, so she can develop professionally. But what happens when a new mother gets a bit more attached then she should, and the politics have their own agenda?

Claudine Tinellis
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A thought-provoking,remarkable debut from Rebecca Bowyers. Cant wait to see what she does next. Highly recommended!

I chatted to Rebecca about her inspiration for Maternal Instinct, her writing practices and more in Episode 37 of Talking Aussie Books - the podcast.

Click on the link to listen:

Or wherever you get your podcasts.
Jessica Haider
Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways, dystopia
Maternal Instinct is a dystopian tale set in Australia in the near future. Over the last two generations, the government has established guidelines and laws around giving birth and raising children. This was all done so that no child would be neglected or live in poverty.

While she is young, every woman is required to have two pregnancies. Once a baby is born, the mother lives in a group Birthing Home with the baby until the child is 6 months old, at which point, the baby is turned over to be
Tsana Dolichva
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Maternal Instinct by Rebecca Bowyer is a near future science fiction novel that examines a future in which the process of having children is highly regulated in Australia. The extreme system could be read as either dystopian or utopian, depending on you point of view, but the plot pushes it towards dystopian.

The two protagonists in this book are Monica, 19 and currently in the breastfeeding for six months portion of her national service, and her biological mother, Alice, who is 40 and just
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Annette Jordan
Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
The year is 2040 and in Australia society has moved on in a very surprising way. Through a change in social policy young women are now expected to give birth twice in their late teens and early twenties, then hand the babies over to professional "Maters" and "Paters" whose function is to raise these children in small group homes . If the birth mother wishes , she can spend time with her children on Sundays, but if not , she can carry on with her life and career , secure in the knowledge that ...more
Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
* Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. *

Maternal Instinct is a fantastic dystopian read centered on reproductive rights and parenting abilities. Using the difficulties of balancing work and family as well as the statistics for child abuse, the Australian government has developed a program that requires older teens to submit to at least 2 years of "reproductive service". Females are required to have two births and males volunteer their
Alysse Stehli
Apr 25, 2020 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this story. The author writes really well with well developed, deep characters that are mostly sympathetic but not always. I think the conflicting emotions and thought provoking discussions on what it means to be a parent and the complicated feelings we have for parents/children are well expressed. And I love exploring dystopian fictional universes, especially when there's an emphasis on the greater good. That is well done.

My biggest concerns stem from the extreme
Jul 30, 2019 rated it liked it
*I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks for the free book.*

2040: Australia has revolutionised society by introducing a mandatory amount of two babies / woman that she has to bear after finishing school and before starting the rest of her life. Children will be given to Paters and Maters six month after the birth to be raised by these professionals. It is not allowed to conceive naturally or raise children yourself.

Alice is working for the government and
Aug 22, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was not bad. It definitely pit me in the mind of The Handmaid's Tale. The government is policing women's bodies and controlling how many babies they can have. Alice works for the Genetics and Reproduction Department of government. This Department requires women to have 2 children, give them to assigned Maters and Paters, who are trained parents, and move on their lives. Alice's son died but she has a living daughter, Monica. Monica annoys me because she is petulant at times. She has a ...more
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
Australia 2040. No child lives in poverty and every child is safe. But at what cost?
19-year-old Monica never wanted a baby but the laws require her to give birth twice before she can move on with her life.
Now that her first son, Oscar, has arrived shes not so sure she wants to hand him over to be raised by professional parents: the Maters and Paters.
When Monica turns to her birth mother, Alice, for help, she triggers a series of events that force Alice to confront her own dark past. Alice must
Anna Szabó
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Maternal Instinct is set in the near future in Australia. Woman are required to give birth twice before they are allowed to go on with their lives. They have to give the babies to professional parents whose sole job is to raise the children. The genetic parents are allowed to visit their child every Sunday. Woman cannot conceive naturally. It is also mandatory to screen foetuses for mental or phisical disabilities.
Monica just gave birth to her first child, a son. She didnt want to give birth but
Aug 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was given this book from Net Galley for an honest review.
As a lover of dystopian type novels, I was really wrapped in this book from the beginning. However, I was a bit confused as to why society was like this, like why woman were to have children only to give them up to someone else to raise them. And while I did enjoy the book I still found it a bit confusing right to the end. The start of it seems to be around the year 2020, which is next year, so that alone confused me. As a book that is
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
I think I liked this book when I could turn off some of my English major mind, but I'm still trying to figure out the message it portrays. Parts of it make me think of it as an anti-feminist book... Complain about being a woman, having to carry children, use daycare to go back to work, cook, clean, do laundry? Well here's what can happen to make it worse... We'll force teenagers and young adult women to have two children each and then give them up to the government to raise so they can go back ...more
Dec 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was fortunate to win a copy of this book from Claudine of Talking Aussie Books, but I had already heard about this book on the grapevine! This is a debut novel by Melbourne writer Rebecca Bowyer and is an impressive foray into novel writing. It tells the story of Australia in a dystopian future where young women are forced to have two children after they leave school. The embryos are screened before implantation for any genetic abnormalities as they want to raise a population free of ...more
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Rebecca Bowyer lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and two young sons. When not at her day jobs as a digital experience strategist and kid-wrangler, she can be found writing about books, reading and writing at Story Addict.

Rebecca's articles on writing, feminism, parenting and the history of parenting have been published widely, including on Womens Agenda, Ripen the Page Literary

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