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 child-rearing into a freaking military operation." Too late. The fact that the story threads read so strongly is evidence to me of the writer's skill. Bowyer leads us smoothly into her world with language that is succinct, technically on point, distinctly Australian, and peppered with evocative prose. "Heritage architecture huddled up to sleek glass buildings, trying to escape the slight embarrassment of the brightly coloured apartment blocks left over from a period when architects were a little too enthusiastic about their primary-colour palettes." The setting was comfortably familiar, and the characters deftly and humanly drawn. Bowyer made it easy to step into their shoes. At times I wanted to hug them, at other times shout at them. I was impressed by the integrity of this story as it wound its way through differing points of view, presenting them with sharp dialogue and believable action. Though initially seeming quite black and white, there's room for a lot of grey in this dystopian future. And the ending? Sorry, no spoilers - you'll have to decide for yourself what you would have done in the same situation that Alice finds herself in. Hard to believe this is Bowyer's first novel. A polished delivery and a confident voice. It holds my attention to ransom for more great books to come.