Book Buzz: The Surrogate by Toni Halleen

“An amazing achievement!“ —Michael Elias



A probing novel about a newly married couple, the surrogate they hire to carry their baby, and the unexpected consequences of their decisions.


Ruth is a no-nonsense fortysomething journalist from the Midwest desperate for a child with her new husband, Hal. A divorced attorney and the father of two teenage boys, Hal is open to having another child. But more than anything he wants Ruth to be happy—to become the mother she’s always wanted to be. Their hope rests with Cally, a nineteen-year-old who wants to go to college—but doesn’t have the cash. The arrangement seems perfect for everyone.


All through the pregnancy, Ruth and Hal look forward to the new baby that will make their family complete. But within a day of the baby’s birth, Cally has a change of heart – and engineers a harrowing escape from the hospital with the newborn. When Ruth and Hal discover that she and their daughter are gone, a whole series of doubts and secrets are revealed, and it’s no longer clear what’s “right” and what’s “wrong.”


Set in the vast, sparsely populated upper reaches of northern Minnesota in the middle of winter, The Surrogate follows Ruth, Hal, Cally, and her boyfriend through the ice and snow, from the city to the dark, frozen north country as they run away from, and ultimately towards, one other.


In The Surrogate, Toni Halleen raises thought-provoking questions about the nature of family, love, and relationships. What would you do for your partner, when the going gets tough? How much is a pregnancy “worth?” And who, if anyone, “deserves” to be a mother?

“The Surrogate is a thrilling, high-stakes debut, centering on a vulnerable newborn, and two women who will do almost anything to claim her as their daughter. With a collection of vividly rendered characters, this twisty tale will leave you thinking about the true meaning of motherhood long after you turn the last page. I loved it!”
—Patry Francis, bestselling author of All The Children are Home

The Surrogate by Toni Halleen

352 Pages

ISBN 9780063070073


Toni Halleen worked for many years as an employment law attorney. She was born and raised in the Midwest, earned a B.A. in Women's Studies from Mount Holyoke College, and a J.D. from the University of Minnesota. Toni won a Mentor Prize in fiction from the Loft Literary Center, and her writing has appeared in Wigleaf, Structo, Gravel, the StarTribune, and elsewhere. She lives in Minneapolis with her family.