The Mother-in-Law
A twisty, compelling novel about one woman's complicated relationship with her mother-in-law that ends in murder...From the moment Lucy met her husband's mother, Diana, she was kept at arm's length. Diana was exquisitely polite, and properly friendly, but Lucy knew that she was not what Diana envisioned. But who could fault Diana? She was a pillar of the community, an advocate for social justice who helped female refugees assimilate to their new country. Diana was happily married to Tom, and lived in wedded bliss for decades. Lucy wanted so much to please her new mother-in-law. That was five years ago.Now, Diana has been found dead, a suicide note near her body. Diana claims that she no longer wanted to live because of a battle with cancer.But the autopsy finds no cancer.The autopsy does find traces of poison and suffocation. Who could possibly want Diana dead? Why was her will changed at the eleventh hour to disinherit both of her adult children and their spouses?With Lucy's secrets getting deeper and her relationship with her mother-in-law growing more complex as the pages turn, this new novel from Sally Hepworth is sure to add to her growing legion of fans.

The Mother-in-Law Details

TitleThe Mother-in-Law
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 1st, 1970
PublisherSt. Martin's Press
Rating
GenreMystery, Fiction, Thriller, Mystery Thriller

The Mother-in-Law Review

  • Deanna
    January 1, 1970
    My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr...I am a huge fan of this author. “The Mother’s Promise” was my first Sally Hepworth novel and is one of my favorite books. The first line in the description of this novel grabbed my attention…“A twisty, compelling novel about one woman’s complicated relationship with her mother-in-law that ends in murder…I couldn’t wait to start reading!The story begins with a police car pulling up to the home of Lucy and her husband, Ollie. My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr...I am a huge fan of this author. “The Mother’s Promise” was my first Sally Hepworth novel and is one of my favorite books. The first line in the description of this novel grabbed my attention…“A twisty, compelling novel about one woman’s complicated relationship with her mother-in-law that ends in murder…I couldn’t wait to start reading!The story begins with a police car pulling up to the home of Lucy and her husband, Ollie. Although the car doesn’t have its lights or siren on, she knows immediately that something isn’t right. “Police don’t arrive on your doorstep at dinnertime unless something is wrong.”The police ask if they are relatives of Diana Goodwin and right away Lucy knows what they are going to say next…The story then jumps back ten years to Lucy’s first visit to the Goodwin home. Ollie’s father is friendly and seems happy to meet Lucy as does Ollie’s sister, Nettie. But Ollie’s mother’s greeting is lukewarm. She’s not rude to Lucy, she is very polite…she just seems sort of cold and standoffish.When Diana meets Lucy, her first thoughts are that Lucy was probably adored by everyone in her life and things probably came very easily to her. “Take the pregnant refugee girls I deal with every day. They’ve been through unimaginable hardships, and here they are working hard, contributing and grateful”. Lucy just wants Diana to like her. However, it seems the harder she tries the more strained their relationship becomes. And now…Diana is dead. As they learn more about Diana’s death and more things are brought to light, Lucy finds herself questioning everything...some things just aren’t adding up. Did anyone really know Diana?I thought this was an excellent story filled with engaging characters and an entertaining plot. We are given insight into the complicated relationships within the family. I liked how it alternated between Diana and Lucy’s point of view in both the past and present. It was interesting seeing how they each read or misread the same situations.As I mentioned in a previous review of “A Mother’s Promise”, Sally Hepworth does a wonderful job of bringing her characters and their individual stories to life. She creates characters that readers can relate to and empathize with. This was definitely a thought-provoking read. I’ve read other novels that deal with the relationships between men and women and their in-laws, but I found this to be quite a unique story. I was really surprised by a few things and extremely satisfied with how everything came together in the end.In my opinion, this was another winning story from Sally Hepworth.I'd like to thank St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel.
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  • Kaceey
    January 1, 1970
    All I can say is, Magnificent!! This book is headed straight to my favorites’ shelf!!Oh that poor mother-in-law! Boy, she’s been getting a bad rap lately. This is the third book I’ve read recently regarding a so called “evil mother in law.” This time...it’s just a bit different.There are two sides to every story. Maybe it’s time we all heard the mother in law’s side of the story....Told from 2 points of view of Lucy the daughter-in-law and Diana. Yup, you guessed it...Diana “the mother in law.” All I can say is, Magnificent!! This book is headed straight to my favorites’ shelf!!Oh that poor mother-in-law! Boy, she’s been getting a bad rap lately. This is the third book I’ve read recently regarding a so called “evil mother in law.” This time...it’s just a bit different.There are two sides to every story. Maybe it’s time we all heard the mother in law’s side of the story....Told from 2 points of view of Lucy the daughter-in-law and Diana. Yup, you guessed it...Diana “the mother in law.” Lucy is over the moon about marrying Ollie and becoming part of his family. She’d also like nothing more than to befriend Diana and develop that special bond between mother and daughter-in-law. If only it were that simple… or easy.When Diana is found dead in her home no one knows if it was a suicide, or if someone with an axe to grind may have wanted her dead. After all, it’s not a stretch to say she may not have been the kindest person to those closest to her. Oh my gosh! I absolutely could not put this book down! This was such a different take on the typical mother-in-law story! I just loved it! I ran the full gamut of emotions reading this book. It will make you smile, shock you at times...it may even bring a tear to your eye. It did for me.Sally Hepworth does such a fantastic job creating a character that you can love and hate at the same time! This is my second book from her and while I loved The Family Next Door, this one just blew me away! I was so ready for something original! Needed a different take on a subject that has been repeatedly done. This was that book! Fantastic job Ms. Hepworth! I am now anxiously waiting for your next release!A buddy read with Susanne(Thank you Susanne!)Thank you to Jordan Hanley at St Martin’s Press for an advanced copy to read and review.
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  • Susanne Strong
    January 1, 1970
    5 Simply Irresistible Stars. Sally Hepworth is the Master of Domestic Suspense! This is a heart pounding mystery that I was racing to finish! It’s complexities and craziness had me wild-eyed right up until its shocking end. A favorite read for this the year!Mother-in-Laws, as well all know, are not to be trifled with. Sometimes they’re scarier than others and sometimes you hit the jackpot. Perhaps it’s because of the competition factor, mothers not being able to let go of their sons, or wives 5 Simply Irresistible Stars. Sally Hepworth is the Master of Domestic Suspense! This is a heart pounding mystery that I was racing to finish! It’s complexities and craziness had me wild-eyed right up until its shocking end. A favorite read for this the year!Mother-in-Laws, as well all know, are not to be trifled with. Sometimes they’re scarier than others and sometimes you hit the jackpot. Perhaps it’s because of the competition factor, mothers not being able to let go of their sons, or wives simply not feeling like they measure up. Whatever it is, Lucy, (one of the main characters in Sally Hepworth’s “The Mother-in-Law”) knows exactly what I’m talking about. Here, she desperately tries to make a good impression on her Mother-in-Law, Diana, and she fails miserably. Silly, Lucy.. Mommie Dearest always knows best! Diana however, isn’t so lucky after all. In a crazy turn of events, her body is found in what initially looks like death by suicide. Nothing about Diana’s death adds up and once the investigation begins, everyone in the family is scared stiff. The only motive the cops can find? Money. It always comes down to money, doesn’t it? If only things were that simple. In “The Mother-In-Law” by Sally Hepworth, the twists and turns simply kept on coming and none of them are foreseen. Discount whatever you think you know, start from scratch, then do it all over again. The storyline is utterly wicked with moments that are simply jaw-dropping. The characters are multi-faceted, and their intentions are never straight-forward. Having read three of Ms. Hepworth’s prior novels, this was my favorite to date. The characters, the mystery and the storyline all came together in a way that fit perfectly: like a jigsaw puzzle, where, once the pieces interlock, I couldn’t help but sit back and smile, absolute perfection! A favorite of the year for 2018!A buddy read with Kaceey! This was my favorite by far Kaceey!Thank you to Jordan Hanley at St. Martin’s Press and to Sally Hepworth for a galley of this novel in exchange for an honest review. It was my pleasure.Published on Goodreads, Twitter and Instagram.*Will be published on Amazon in April of 2019.
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  • Emily May
    January 1, 1970
    I've read a number of thrillers lately, ranging from the quiet character drama of Miracle Creek and Disappearing Earth, to Coben's high-octane Run Away. And this book just sits blandly somewhere between the two.I had to think about my rating here. I almost upped it to 3 stars because it’s not that BAD. But then it’s not much of anything really. I found it a very tame lukewarm domestic mystery/thriller that lacks either the urgency or depth of characterization needed to make it compelling. The bl I've read a number of thrillers lately, ranging from the quiet character drama of Miracle Creek and Disappearing Earth, to Coben's high-octane Run Away. And this book just sits blandly somewhere between the two.I had to think about my rating here. I almost upped it to 3 stars because it’s not that BAD. But then it’s not much of anything really. I found it a very tame lukewarm domestic mystery/thriller that lacks either the urgency or depth of characterization needed to make it compelling. The blurb and the beginning of the book set it up as if we're supposed to believe there's some drama between Lucy and her mother-in-law, Diana, and that the former may have possibly murdered the latter. I think the conflict between Lucy and Diana was supposed to drive the narrative, but it was almost annoying how big of a deal was made out of absolutely nothing. Lucy overhears a conversation between her husband and his mother in which Diana says she (Lucy) is "fine". OH NO. It just... is this really supposed to be a nightmare MIL scenario? Lucy should watch Jane Fonda in Monster-in-Law.The author would also make a big deal out of innocuous moments like Diana telling Lucy she wanted the necklace back that she lent her for her “something borrowed” during the wedding. It’s so not a threatening or dramatic moment. Many moments seem played up unrealistically. Like the police coming in with their suspicions because - dramatic breath - they could only find one of Diana's sofa cushions. It's all just very unexciting. And I could totally get behind a slow book that is more about character interactions and relationships than it is about action, but this is not quite that either. Lucy is dull and one-dimensional and Diana, though slightly more interesting, is almost robotic in her adherence to a morality that is very basic, unexplored, and comes from a place of extreme privilege.Also, the pool of suspects is tiny, so I predicted the conclusion in the first few chapters. CW: (view spoiler)[Suicide (hide spoiler)].Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube
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  • Meredith
    January 1, 1970
    Mixed Feelings: One fascinating character coupled with one who was lacking turned this into just an ok read for me. The Mother-in-Law is a family drama that tracks the tumultuous relationship between a mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law. The book begins with the reader learning of the death of Diana, mother to Ollie and mother-in-law to Lucy. The narrative is divided into both Lucy and Diana's perspectives over the course of ten years. Diana has been described as some as a hateful character. Mixed Feelings: One fascinating character coupled with one who was lacking turned this into just an ok read for me. The Mother-in-Law is a family drama that tracks the tumultuous relationship between a mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law. The book begins with the reader learning of the death of Diana, mother to Ollie and mother-in-law to Lucy. The narrative is divided into both Lucy and Diana's perspectives over the course of ten years. Diana has been described as some as a hateful character. While she is not necessarily likable, I found her chapters to be fascinating! As cold as she was, her character was much more compelling than Lucy's, who fell rather flat for me. I wanted to know more about Diana--especially her past and her relationship with Tom. There are allusions to what shaped her, but I wanted the whole picture!I am split between so many elements of this book: The characters, the narrative structure, the plot, etc. At times, I was completely enthralled, whereas during other times I was bored out of mind. I wanted more--I felt that the reader is only offered the surface of Diana and Lucy’s relationship. We dive in a little deeper towards the end, but it seems like in an effort to keep an element of surprise going throughout the novel, we lose what could have been a more complex reading of the relationship between these two women. I also thought that this book was trying to be too many things at once: Domestic drama, women’s fiction, psychological thriller all in one. Overall, while I loved some parts of The Mother-in-Law, it just didn’t work as a whole. I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and St. Martin's Press.
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  • Katie B
    January 1, 1970
    I try not to give out 5 stars too often but this one was special and deserving in terms of how much I enjoyed it and took away from it. I went into this thinking it would just be a typical mother in law story but there was so much more to it than that. It explored not just the mother and daughter in law relationship but also the dynamics between child/parent, husband/wife, and siblings. It was one of those reading experiences in which you seriously start reflecting on your own life and how you d I try not to give out 5 stars too often but this one was special and deserving in terms of how much I enjoyed it and took away from it. I went into this thinking it would just be a typical mother in law story but there was so much more to it than that. It explored not just the mother and daughter in law relationship but also the dynamics between child/parent, husband/wife, and siblings. It was one of those reading experiences in which you seriously start reflecting on your own life and how you deal with family members.Ever since they first met Lucy has had a polite, but distant relationship with her mother-in-law, Diana. It's like no matter what she does, Diana just won't warm up to her. The story jumps back and forth between Diana's perspective of things that happened in the past and the present day in which Lucy and her family have just learned Diana is dead. Her death will have lasting consequences for the entire family.What I thought the author did brilliantly was the dual perspectives as it prevented Diana from being this one-dimensional character. There were so many layers to Diana and Lucy's relationship and it was interesting to see what they each thought about certain events. There were moments in the story that were so relatable, like when you come across the exact opposite of how you intended or when you regret leaving something unsaid. And while relationships were certainly an important part of the book, the mystery of what happened to Diana was intriguing as well. Overall, such a fantastic book and I can't wait to check out Sally Hepworth's other novels as she definitely has a knack for getting you to feel for her characters on an emotional level. Thank you to St. Martin's Press for sending me an advance copy! I was under no obligation to post a review and all views expressed are my honest opinion.* Edited on 4/23/19 This was my first Sally Hepworth novel and after reading this advance copy, I was excited to check out her other books. I am now caught up and while I liked her other novels, this one remains my favorite.
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  • Debra
    January 1, 1970
    Families - there is the one you are born into, the one you marry into and the one you choose.When Lucy marries Ollie, she desperately wants to be accepted into his family, especially by his Mother Diana, as Lucy lost her mother at an early age. But from day one, Diana appears reserved and distant. The rest of Ollie's family embraces Lucy but Lucy feels that she just can't do anything right in Diana's eyes. Lucy is a lively woman who chooses to stay home with her children and is doing the best sh Families - there is the one you are born into, the one you marry into and the one you choose.When Lucy marries Ollie, she desperately wants to be accepted into his family, especially by his Mother Diana, as Lucy lost her mother at an early age. But from day one, Diana appears reserved and distant. The rest of Ollie's family embraces Lucy but Lucy feels that she just can't do anything right in Diana's eyes. Lucy is a lively woman who chooses to stay home with her children and is doing the best she can to be a good mother, wife and daughter in law.Diana was basically disowned by her parents during her later teenage years for choices she made and was taken in by her Aunt. She eventually meets her husband Tom and her life changes for the better. With Tom, Diana raised two children: Ollie and Nettie. Diana often must play the bad cop in her family yet has a generous and giving nature with the refugees she helps.I don't want to say any more about the plot and encourage fellow readers to go in knowing as little as you can about the plot. This book pleasantly surprised me. I have been a fan of Hepworth since reading her first book and this book lived up to my expectations of her writing. I loved how she gave us the inner thoughts of each of the two main women - Lucy and Diana. I also appreciated how she showed each's intentions and how often intentions can be misread, or someone might have difficulty fully articulating his/her motives/thoughts/emotions to another person effectively, thus causing others to make inaccurate assumptions about that individual. It's what you say, how you say it and sometimes the things you don't get the chance to say, choose not to say or don't say. Relationships are tricky things. In fact, relationships can be messy. Worry about overstepping, worry about not being liked, worry about not teaching your children the skills to live, worry about being over bearing, worry about not being involved...ah...all the worries.Diana and Lucy are not the only characters with relationship issues in this book. There are quite a few things going on in the relationships of others in this book as well. These subplots with are a part of the larger plot are just as important and show issues which can occur in marriages, with co-workers and with people we interact with in our personal lives. I found this book to be a fast read which did not disappoint. I enjoyed how the Mother in law/daughter in law complicated relationship unfolded. How each tired with the other in her own way. It was refreshing to read both of their POV sections to see how they interpreted situations and often misinterpret each other intentions.But this book is also not all about relationships, it is also about what happened to Diana. There is a mystery here. Was her death a suicide? Was she murdered? Who knows? One must read to find out!I found this book to be thought provoking and captivating. It was a fast read which did not disappoint this reader.Thank you to St. Martin's Press, Sally Hepworth and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • (Bern) Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas
    January 1, 1970
    4 This was NOT what I was expecting BUT I LOVED it stars! ⭐⭐⭐⭐Diana was a complicated woman. Her outward appearance depicts a wealthy, strong and even altruistic woman. Yet we instantly come to see that her family had a vastly different view of her and it wasn't all positive. Thus, when the story opens and we find Diana dead we are easily enveloped by the questions - was her death a case of suicide or murder? The story is told from multiple view points as well as alternating timelines, filling i 4 This was NOT what I was expecting BUT I LOVED it stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Diana was a complicated woman. Her outward appearance depicts a wealthy, strong and even altruistic woman. Yet we instantly come to see that her family had a vastly different view of her and it wasn't all positive. Thus, when the story opens and we find Diana dead we are easily enveloped by the questions - was her death a case of suicide or murder? The story is told from multiple view points as well as alternating timelines, filling in the blanks of Diana's life and leading us to the circumstances surrounding her death. I was expecting more of a thriller but the story ended up having more of a domestic mystery vibe. It definitely worked within the plot and allowed us to get a feel for the family dynamics between the characters. There has been quite a lot of commentary about Diana and her actions in other reviews. I personally felt that Hepworth did an amazing job of explaining why she was who she was and ultimately acted the way she did. She was a very guarded person, rarely letting all her walls down. Tom, her husband, was by far one of the only people that truly knew her. They were definitely a yin and yang relationship, each providing the other with what they needed most. Their relationship, as well as the parts told from her point-of-view helped me warm to her character and have empathy for her. Hepworth has talent for developing multi-layered characters. Things are not as cut and dry as they seem. Her writing evoked many different emotions in me as I read through the story and came to know and understand each character.So much of what takes place between the family ultimately involves miscommunication and misunderstanding. You can't help but feel for where they ended up and wonder how different things could have been, if they had just taken the time to honestly communicate with each other and connect about the things that were important to them versus suffering through them alone. Overall, this one drew me in immediately and kept me engrossed throughout. It wasn't so much about the whodunnit as the complicated family dynamics that kept me turning the pages. Thank you to Sally Hepworth, St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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  • Mary Beth *Traveling Sister*
    January 1, 1970
    I am just going to put my thoughts down and I am not going to get into the story but you can read the blurb for that.This is not a thriller. It is a contemporary fiction and a slow burning mystery. I want thriller fans to know this because I really struggled with This book. I am the wrong audience for it. I am not a big fan of contemporary fiction or a slow burning mystery. I did like it close to the ending but I didn't love it. I did love the premise of the book and I was intrigued enough to fi I am just going to put my thoughts down and I am not going to get into the story but you can read the blurb for that.This is not a thriller. It is a contemporary fiction and a slow burning mystery. I want thriller fans to know this because I really struggled with This book. I am the wrong audience for it. I am not a big fan of contemporary fiction or a slow burning mystery. I did like it close to the ending but I didn't love it. I did love the premise of the book and I was intrigued enough to find out what happened to Diana. This one seemed to drag a lot. I think of it was shorter, it would be a lot better. It just had too much random imformation that was not needed. In the last 70% of the novel it did a complete u-turn and I really enjoyed it, but it was a little too late for that. My connection with the characters grew and I was happy that I finally grasped the connection to the characters. I was shocked when I found out what happened to Diana. I never guessed what happened to her and found this to be an unpredictable read. I also thought that it was pausible. I think the author did great with the characterization of Diana. Close to the end I felt like I really understood her. She suffered through depression. My favorite characters were Diana and Lucy and I loved the bonding that they shared close to the end. Lucy really needed this. My most unlikable character was Lettie. Diana was wealthy and she asked for an enormous amount of money and I can understand why Diana said, no because I thought she was unstable and couldn't handle the responsibility. I thought she was a selfish spoiled brat. Diana did help out her family when they needed it. She did help out Ollie. She just wanted her children to be able to stand on their two feet and work hard. I do think she could of done more for them though. I also thought it was very well written.I just love that bookcover.This was a Traveling Sister read and it really made a good discussion because we all felt differently about the characters and things that happened in the book.I would strongly recommend this book to contemporary fiction and slow burning mystery fans. I think that audience will love this book.I want to thank Netgalley, St. Martin's Press and the author for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Crumb
    January 1, 1970
    Intensely Readable and Immensely Dishy! What is it about in-laws that makes them so abhorred? Is it their constant meddling? Perhaps their subtle, but persistent disapproval of every little thing. For Lucy, she just wants her Mother-in-law, Diana, to love her. Accept her. But that is never going to happen. At least not as long as Diana walks the earth . . .For originality, this one deserves five stars. In addition, this was Hepworth's first attempt at the thriller genre, and I think she nailed Intensely Readable and Immensely Dishy! What is it about in-laws that makes them so abhorred? Is it their constant meddling? Perhaps their subtle, but persistent disapproval of every little thing. For Lucy, she just wants her Mother-in-law, Diana, to love her. Accept her. But that is never going to happen. At least not as long as Diana walks the earth . . .For originality, this one deserves five stars. In addition, this was Hepworth's first attempt at the thriller genre, and I think she nailed it. I've always loved her work, but I was a little apprehensive about whether or not she could pull off a suspense novel. I'm here to tell you... she rocked it!I don't want to share too much about the plot or characters, because I feel you should know as little as possible going into this one. There is a huge twist, that was very well-executed. Not only was this a supreme psychological thriller, but it was a meditation on the dysfunction between families. I always love me some good drama! There is a storm brewing in the East coast and in my opinion, you should put on something cozy, and get this book. It's a delight to behold!Thank you to St. Martins press for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review
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  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    January 1, 1970
    5 stars! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ (Updated with full review for pub day today!)The opening scene is where a family, specifically a son and his wife, are being told that their mother (mother-in-law) was found dead. The story proceeds in dual narration. We hear from Lucy, the son’s wife/the daughter-in-law, and Diana, the mother-in-law who was found deceased. Through that narration, we quickly learn that Lucy and Diana have a flawed and challenging relationship as many mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law do. Luc 5 stars! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ (Updated with full review for pub day today!)The opening scene is where a family, specifically a son and his wife, are being told that their mother (mother-in-law) was found dead. The story proceeds in dual narration. We hear from Lucy, the son’s wife/the daughter-in-law, and Diana, the mother-in-law who was found deceased. Through that narration, we quickly learn that Lucy and Diana have a flawed and challenging relationship as many mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law do. Lucy feels like she does not measure up to Diana’s expectations of who she should be. Diana is a big deal. She’s well-loved in the community, helps refugees with adjusting to Australia, and is a blissfully married wife to the charming, Tom. For five years, Lucy and Diana have not been able to find common ground. And in the present, Diana has passed away with a suicide note next to her body. In the note, she wrote she had cancer, but the autopsy shows no cancer. Who could have hurt Diana and why?The Mother-in-Law becomes more complex with the turn of every page, just as Lucy and Diana’s relationship continues to intensify. Where you might expect a dramatic story to have an evil, mustache-twirling character, you don’t find one here…At least initially. What you will find is two extraordinarily complex women trying desperately to connect but continuing to miss signals. The dynamic is refreshing for this type of storyline and utterly relatable if you ever been in the same shoes trying arduously to meet someone in the middle. The Mother-in-Law is emotional, original, well-written, thought-provoking, dramatic, intense, and in the end, a surprising and shocking read that left me with much to think about. Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for the complimentary copy. All opinions are my own. —————I deliberated on this one for a couple days, and as much as I thought about it when I wasn’t reading it, I knew it had to be a five-r! This book explores the complex mother-in-law/daughter-in-law (and mother/daughter) relationship in a way I’ve not seen before. It was also explosively dramatic and well-written. Full review to come much closer to pub date in April! I continue to love Sally Hepworth! Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for the copy. All opinions are my own.
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  • JanB
    January 1, 1970
    1.5 starsLet me be clear that I think an author can choose to write her characters any way she wants, and I can choose to read it or not. But this was an issue book with characters vs a book with characters who have issues. I prefer the latter. If the author is going to write an issue(s) book then I’m going to comment on what I disliked about her stance on those issues. It is not the characters so much as the fact the author seems to be pushing an agenda.We are told from the start that Diana, th 1.5 starsLet me be clear that I think an author can choose to write her characters any way she wants, and I can choose to read it or not. But this was an issue book with characters vs a book with characters who have issues. I prefer the latter. If the author is going to write an issue(s) book then I’m going to comment on what I disliked about her stance on those issues. It is not the characters so much as the fact the author seems to be pushing an agenda.We are told from the start that Diana, the mother-in-law, is dead of an apparent suicide but the police have their suspicions that it was murder, not suicide. From the blurb: “She was a pillar of the community, an advocate for social justice who helped female refugees assimilate to their new country.” But she was not well-loved by her family and for good reason. I don't require my characters to be likable, but if they are unlikable they'd better have other redeeming qualities, be sympathetic, or be funny. Diana was none of these. The author tried to generate sympathy for Diana and, while I sympathized with what happened to her in the past, it was no excuse for her behavior in the present. She was cold and mean-spirited, even to her own children and grandchildren. She had money, but found money distasteful and judged everyone accordingly. Diana was just a vehicle for the issues the author wanted to highlight: money is bad. Being poor is good and will make you happy. Money in and of itself is neither good nor bad. It offers people choices, and can be used for good. But not to Diana. She was a stingy miser who refused to help her children, even when they were clearly hurting and in need. Plus she was hypercritical of everything they did, even to the point of openly criticizing her future daughter-in-law in public for spending too much money on her wedding dress. Instead of making sure her own children would not suffer from being unloved as a child, as she was, she repeated the pattern. But she's only cold and unloving to her family. She had no problem showing love and concern for strangers or giving them a helping hand. They got her attention and her money, while her own family did not. Little wonder that her own grandchildren were unmoved by her death.I also felt the author trivialized severe depression, even to the point of intimating that assisted suicide is a valid option, instead of ensuring the person received the psychiatric help they needed (btw, this is NOT a spoiler, there are a lot of characters, twists and turns, and red herrings). There were dramatic personality turnarounds in characters that were absurd, and behavior that made no sense. Other characters, like her husband, were undeveloped. I, for one, needed to know why he married Diana in the first place.This was definitely easy reading and the first 75% was interesting enough for me to continue. But the last 25% was ridiculous.2 stars because I finished the book and did want to know what happened to Diana. I shouldn't have bothered. Thank you to my friend Marialyce for reading this book with me and listening to me vent.*I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
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  • Dorie - Traveling Sister :)
    January 1, 1970
    Once again I find myself in the minority regarding reviews for this book, it is well loved by many.Truthfully I was hoping for a really good mystery but this is really more contemporary women’s fiction. Knowing that the main character is dead at the beginning definitely takes away some of the suspense in the novel.Here’s what we know:Lucy is the new daughter in law who has married Ollie, son of Diane and Tom Goodwin. Lucy had no idea that the family was wealthy until she entered their mansion of Once again I find myself in the minority regarding reviews for this book, it is well loved by many.Truthfully I was hoping for a really good mystery but this is really more contemporary women’s fiction. Knowing that the main character is dead at the beginning definitely takes away some of the suspense in the novel.Here’s what we know:Lucy is the new daughter in law who has married Ollie, son of Diane and Tom Goodwin. Lucy had no idea that the family was wealthy until she entered their mansion of a home to meet them for the first time. I mean an indoor pool testifies to a fair amount of wealth. Diane, as mother in law, is not what any young woman would want. I know because my mother in law and I never saw eye to eye on anything for 40 years (may she RIP). She was as cold to me when I met my husband as Diane was to Lucy and it never improved. There are sometimes just very different personalities that will never agree. However Diane does seem to go out of her way to make Lucy feel uncomfortable, incompetent and not worthy of their son. More about her later.Their other child is a daughter, Nettie, who is married to Patrick, they have no children.. As the book continues, Ollie and Lucy have three children and Nettie is trying everything to get pregnant. Finally they have run out of money for infertility treatments after 3 years of trying. Nettie approaches Diane for a loan, she turns her down flat. Diane’s reasoning is that Nettie should find another way to earn the money or turn her life towards a different goal at this point. This does sound pretty heartless considering the loan wasn’t for something frivolous.Later we find out why Diane has some of these feelings, she had quite a tough life as a young woman but I won’t reveal any spoilers here. It does help to explain some of her reasoning.The book was page turning but I didn’t think that the characters were that well developed with the exception of Diane, we know almost nothing about Tom, their life together as a couple. He seems to be pretty much the indulgent husband who adores Diane and goes along with most of her wishes. He has been known, however, to slip the children money for things which Diane knows nothing about.There are other sides to Diane. She treats refugees, particularly pregnant women, with extreme kindness and goes above and beyond the usual to see that they get care, clothes and food for the little ones, helping them find jobs, etc. She spends a lot of time in her charitable work. I felt with the title being “The Mother In Law” that there would be something more titillating, or out of the box behavior from Diane. Things in the book are really nothing that I would call exciting or mesmerizing.When the murder occurs, at about 75% into the book, the action does pick up and I found myself unable to set it down until the end. We all want to know who did it, right? Then there is another family tragedy and that adds to the tension. We are then shown what is going on 10 years later and it’s all just a little too perfect for me to believe. Not impossible, just not probable.All in all it was an enjoyable read and I would recommend it as a light entertaining read.I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley.
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  • Elyse Walters
    January 1, 1970
    When Jordan at St. Martin’s Publishing presented this book to me to read and review- I definitely ‘paused’’, thinking this could be an interesting topic, yet I definitely had reservations of concern. I didn’t want to create problems - add more to my already - sometimes challenging relationship with my mother in-law. However - this book is so far off from anything in my life - I didn’t relate to any of it. NOTES OF INTEREST.....about in-laws’ ......It’s a hot topic in the news today. Review of t When Jordan at St. Martin’s Publishing presented this book to me to read and review- I definitely ‘paused’’, thinking this could be an interesting topic, yet I definitely had reservations of concern. I didn’t want to create problems - add more to my already - sometimes challenging relationship with my mother in-law. However - this book is so far off from anything in my life - I didn’t relate to any of it. NOTES OF INTEREST.....about in-laws’ ......It’s a hot topic in the news today. Review of this book will follow at the end. In the news recently- a psychologists stated the rise in couple’s coming to therapy for the sole purpose to deal with issues with their mother-in-law. Seems universally the most delicate relationships is when the son gets married. When a daughter gets married, they remain close with their mother regardless of how much the mother gets along with her husband. The mother in-law and daughter in-law dynamic is the most fraught of in-law relationships. Son’s are made to feel guilty. Daughter-in-law‘s are made to feel not good enough - judged - and intruded on by lack of boundaries. In laws can either help or hurt marriages.... being much more trickier and stressful for a daughter in-law than a son in-law. But this book by Sally Hepworth, is not an advice manual. But they ‘do’ have these type of books. A high rating such book is written by Susan Abel Lieberman Ph.D, called:“The Mother-in Law’s Manual: Proven Strategies for Creating and Maintaining Healthy Relationships With Married Children”. There are excellent reviews on Amazon. The book is not only about being a better mother-in-law - NOT A SELF HELP MANUAL about ways to create a better relationship with their own adult children. The reviews are inspiring. In most cases readers reported it was helpful, informative, and entertaining. SO.....NOW THAT WE GOT THAT OUT OF THE WAY...THIS IS NOT THAT TYPE OF BOOK......let me share my thoughts about THIS BOOK. ( no spoilers)Similar to “Big Little Lies”, by Liane Moriarty, this is not a mystery. We know the mother-in-law dies at the very beginning. The setting also takes place in Milbourne, Australia....just as “Big Little Lies” did. The title of this novel is very incidental IMO.. There are many side plots - many characters - ( very easy to remember all of them including every child) - with the mother-in-law’s story not standing out that much more than any other character - as everyone has a story. There are lies - secrets - judgements- resentments - told in present and past time alternating narration between Diana and Lucy.Diana is the mother-in-law. Tom the father in-law. Ollie is their son. Lucy is the new daughter in-law in the family. Ollie & Lucy have 3 young kids: Archie, Harriet, and Edie. Nettie is Diane and Tom’s daughter - Patrick is their son- in-law. Nettie & Patrick have no kids. A few more characters - (friends of Diana)...Cynthia and a few other women. Diana runs a charity business - she brings maternity clothes and prams to pregnant women. One woman in particular she has gotten close with: Gheala and her two young children Aarash and his little sister Aziza. Gheala’s husband is from Kabul.We meet some of Ollie’s friends too ( and business partner).I promised no spoilers - ( easy to do). Truthfully I found the writing - the dialogue to be very ordinary. I was bored for at least the the first 60% of this book. It’s readable- but lacking creative conflicts between characters. The writing is very safe...very few juicy risks. My thinking is if you’re going to be bold enough to put a title on your book called “The Mother In Law”......( and bless the author’s heart for sharing that she has a wonderful relationship with her mother-in-Law at the start)- I think there needs to be some out-of-the-box outrageousness. With so many stories about each character - I felt the book lacked a strong focus. There was wasted chatter of each child: from watching TV, eating snacks, tossing balls, climbing trees, playing with Tupperware lids, etc. Add lots of talk about judging and evaluating the meals or housekeeping - and descriptions of basic clothing that people wear: leggings, a long cardigan, trainers, AND PAGES of grammatical typing errors on the Kindle download that I had —guessing this will get corrected -domestic family life wasn’t particularly clever- or complicated or heartwarming or hilarious or earth shattering exciting. It was ‘readable’. 3 Stars. Read other reviews. Its woman’s fiction. Sally Hepworth fans who enjoy easy reading quick page turning books should love this novel. I needed something meatier to wrap my brain around. Thank You Netgalley, St. Martin’s Fiction, and Sally Hepworth
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  • Liz
    January 1, 1970
    This book has perfect timing. With the whole college scandal going on, the whole concept of what parents owe their children or how much help they should provide is especially apt. Losing her mother to cancer when she’s a teenager, Lucy envisions becoming bosom buddies with her mother-in-law. That’s before she meets Diana, who has a frosty nature and is not the buddy sort. I know many will see Diana as the cold, uncaring MIL, but I actually sympathized with her. Yes, some of the things she did we This book has perfect timing. With the whole college scandal going on, the whole concept of what parents owe their children or how much help they should provide is especially apt. Losing her mother to cancer when she’s a teenager, Lucy envisions becoming bosom buddies with her mother-in-law. That’s before she meets Diana, who has a frosty nature and is not the buddy sort. I know many will see Diana as the cold, uncaring MIL, but I actually sympathized with her. Yes, some of the things she did were wrong, but overall, I appreciated her. She’s just a very practical woman, especially when it comes to money. Hepworth does a wonderful job of pointing out how different families have different standards regarding money. In fact, not just families, but spouses. As Tom says, “it’s about support...whether to give it or not.” But It's also a question of whether you’re doing your kids a favor by giving them everything on a silver platter. I’ve seen way too many trust fund babies grow up without a lick of ambition. I also loved how she points out, again and again, the way we let moments get away from us. The chance to say thank you...i love you...let me help. This isn’t a fast paced book. Hepworth takes her time setting up the scenario. I liked this approach and found it a relaxing break after so many roller coaster ride mysteries. The book alternates between the past and the present, between Diana and Lucy. And I also have to give Hepworth credit for a thought provoking book. I did a lot of highlighting with this book, something I hardly ever do with a mystery. And i must have changed my mind ten times over the course of the book as to the who in the whodunit. As it was, I never did figure it out before the big reveal. My thanks to netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advance copy of this book.
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    Nothing makes us so lonely as our secrets.Standing at the door of those secrets is the sentinel of our choosing who presents the face of the moment. We don the mask we find appropriate and carry it forward while protecting the truism of self.Sally Hepworth presents an absolutely dynamic story that weaves its way into a family unit that has locked down their deceptions with bolt and key. She is a wizard at revealing just enough backstory on her varied characters to more than wet your whistle. Cha Nothing makes us so lonely as our secrets.Standing at the door of those secrets is the sentinel of our choosing who presents the face of the moment. We don the mask we find appropriate and carry it forward while protecting the truism of self.Sally Hepworth presents an absolutely dynamic story that weaves its way into a family unit that has locked down their deceptions with bolt and key. She is a wizard at revealing just enough backstory on her varied characters to more than wet your whistle. Chapters shift from the perspective of Lucy, the daughter-in-law to Diana, the mother-in-law. Hepworth adds the element of present and past events as well. It's a boiling pot of family situations that gets stirred about......better keep your oven mitts on for this one.Our story is set in Melbourne, Australia. Lucy and Ollie seem to be a young couple battling the challenges of everyday life with three young children. Add to the mix: Ollie's parents, Tom and Diana, and a sister Nettie and her husband, Patrick. We have a spicy stew of the In-Laws and the Out-Laws building up and tearing down typical interactions from year to year......until typical is no longer typical.Lucy and Diana's relationship is in the spotlight. Each is in a defensive mode and each presents themselves as territorial. When lines begin to cross, tension is elevated to high degrees. As readers, we experience the layers being peeled back and there's some rotten fruit on both sides of these encounters. That's why this novel would be an excellent read for book clubs. There's definitely a love/hate tango going on here.Then Hepworth throws in a lightning bolt. Diana is found dead on the floor of her home. A suicide note has been kept in a drawer of her desk....found much later. The police are hesitant to call this a full-out suicide quite yet. Family members are called in for questioning. And now the feathers begin to fly. Who is responsible for all this? Diana, herself, or a family member, or one of the individuals that Diana has been helping through her charities? The Mother-in-Law is a honey of a read. If you enjoy very creative storylines, then this one has your name all over it. A very, very satisfying read.I received a copy of this book through Giveaways on Goodreads. My thanks to St. Martin's Press and to the talented Sally Hepworth for the opportunity.
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  • *TUDOR^QUEEN*
    January 1, 1970
    I received a widget for this all the way back in October from St. Martin's Press. Otherwise, I would have never requested an arc of this book. I'm not sure what prompted me to accept the widget, because I've kind of dreaded the thought of reading this book, and here am finally cracking the pages a week prior to its publication. The irony of this is that I really LOVED this book! Maybe it was PTSD from my experience with my own mother-in-law that inspired a feeling of dread. However, quite unexpe I received a widget for this all the way back in October from St. Martin's Press. Otherwise, I would have never requested an arc of this book. I'm not sure what prompted me to accept the widget, because I've kind of dreaded the thought of reading this book, and here am finally cracking the pages a week prior to its publication. The irony of this is that I really LOVED this book! Maybe it was PTSD from my experience with my own mother-in-law that inspired a feeling of dread. However, quite unexpectedly, I felt a visceral connection with... and empathy...for the mother-in-law Diana. I also admired the character of the daughter-in-law, Lucy. In fact, if you melded together the personalities of Diana and Lucy, it became a composite of my mother, who I feel extremely honored and blessed to have had. For that reason, I understood Diana and was often touched by her musings throughout the book.When Diana married Tom, she married into money. Even so, Diana is content with simplicity, but indulges Tom who wants the big audacious house. The bottom line is, Diana loves her husband just for being him, and he's the only one who can crack that rather hard and remote facade to her softness below the surface. Diana has a challenging early history that informed the person she is today. She is passionate about her charity where she helps immigrants with baby clothes and trying to help them find jobs with the skills and certifications they've earned in their birth country. To her own children and their spouses, Diana is a hard nut to crack when they ask her for money. The usual response is a measured lecture about trying to make it on their own, and how they will become stronger people because of it. Then the kids try to get it from their father, who will sometimes comply. Diana and Tom's eldest child Ollie married Lucy. Lucy lost her own mother when she was thirteen. Therefore, when she marries Ollie Lucy's hoping Diana can become a mother-like presence in her life. However, Lucy soon learns it will be a dicey relationship to navigate. Like the incident on Lucy's wedding day when Diana produces a celtic knot necklace signifying strength. She gives it to Lucy for "something borrowed", but makes it abundantly clear that something borrowed means she wants it back after the wedding. Lucy is a stay at home mom to her three kids, a very dedicated wife to Ollie, and a wonderful daughter-in-law to Diana. Even though Diana can be a bit harsh and cold at times, Lucy always does the right thing and her loving nature shines through. Theirs was actually a beautiful relationship to watch grow. Diana also has a daughter Nettie who struggles with infertility issues and has a cheating husband. But, the fact that Diana is found dead at the beginning of the book is the predicate that this story builds upon. The chapters are narrated in dueling fashion by Diana and Lucy, weaving the past and present to the story's conclusion. There is a question as to whether Diana committed suicide, or if it was murder. This was a wonderfully written book about a sometimes difficult but strong, sensible, hard-working woman and her family, with a murder mystery lurking in the background.*As I alluded to at the beginning of my review, the character of Diana reminded me of my own mother, who my brother and I revere and feel lucky to have had for a mother. She lived through the Great Depression and admired FDR for helping our country get through it. At one point when her father was very sick and couldn't work (there was no disability payment system back then), she handed in her weekly paycheck to carry the family, and felt proud to do it. These experiences probably informed her values of personal responsibility which she imparted to my brother and I. We never got an allowance and had to get jobs as soon as we were old enough. When I was sixteen she arranged a part-time job via a neighbor in a local 5 and dime store. When I got my first paycheck it was $42. She told me that I had to give her $10 board out of it. I also had to buy my own clothes and anything else I wanted from then on. When I got married I had to save for the wedding myself along with my future husband, and still had to pay my regular board, which by that time had increased to $200 a month (I had now graduated college and was working a full-time job). I remember being totally surprised upon hearing my supervisor at work talk about buying her daughter's wedding dress. I never even knew that that was a common practice, as I purchased everything myself. My brother got a paper route as a youth when he wanted to purchase an electric guitar and amplifier. It's not like today with my own son who only works a summer job so he can be fully invested in his school work. Once I worked that part-time job in the variety store, I worked it continuously for 7 years throughout high school and college until I got my full-time job. I've always felt confident in the quality of my work and the satisfaction of making it on my own. I look around and see what I have and my husband and I know that we did it together without help. We also travelled the lonely and expensive road of infertility problems and no one in the family helped us financially, even though there were several that had the money to do so. So, I can relate to a lot of issues in this book, and it may seem like tough love, but I do agree a lot with Diana because I know from experience that self-sufficiency builds a stronger person. Thank you to St. Martin's Press who provided an advance reader copy via NetGalley.
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    So lately there seems to be many "mother-in-law" books that have overtaken the psychological thriller genre. Some more successful than others. However, Sally Hepworth does something different here. Most definitely it wasn't what I was expecting. This is NOT a psychological thriller but there is a mystery to solve. Lucie and Ollie meet and fall in love. Ollie decides it's time for Lucie to meet his parents and Lucie wants nothing more than to impress them. Having lost her own mother at a young ag So lately there seems to be many "mother-in-law" books that have overtaken the psychological thriller genre. Some more successful than others. However, Sally Hepworth does something different here. Most definitely it wasn't what I was expecting. This is NOT a psychological thriller but there is a mystery to solve. Lucie and Ollie meet and fall in love. Ollie decides it's time for Lucie to meet his parents and Lucie wants nothing more than to impress them. Having lost her own mother at a young age she is eager to have a mother-in-law to turn to for advice and friendship. Once she meets Diana she finds out that their relationship is going to be anything but friendly when she receives Diana's frosty, at best, reception. Lucie is at a loss as to how to win this woman over. Fast forward 5 years and the unthinkable happens. Diana has been found dead by apparent suicide but was it really suicide? You'll have to read it to find out. I enjoyed the heck out of this book and had trouble putting it down. It was just so compulsively readable. Why this book differs from those other mother-in-law books is that both of these women are likable people and only want whats best for those they love. I especially adored Diana. This book was a perfect example of miscommunication between people. That sometimes the things we don't say actually say more than we think. A reminder as to why we should tell the people we love how we feel about them more often. Let people know that you appreciate them. I'm going to try to do that more in my own life because, let's face it, we are only here a brief time and we really do need to make the best of it. "I worked hard for everything I ever cared about. And nothing that I have ever cared about cost a single cent." That quote says it all. 💖Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Berit☀️✨
    January 1, 1970
    Sally Hepworth completely sucked me in with this compulsive engaging addictive story! This book took a hold of me and did not let go until the last page was turned! This was an intense twisty story full of complex characters and complicated relationships. I absolutely love books that dig deeply into the psychology of the characters, and oh boy did this book do that! Perhaps there is no relationship more tenuous than that of mother-in-law and daughter-in-law. My own mother in law unfortunately pa Sally Hepworth completely sucked me in with this compulsive engaging addictive story! This book took a hold of me and did not let go until the last page was turned! This was an intense twisty story full of complex characters and complicated relationships. I absolutely love books that dig deeply into the psychology of the characters, and oh boy did this book do that! Perhaps there is no relationship more tenuous than that of mother-in-law and daughter-in-law. My own mother in law unfortunately passed away a year ago, and I will be forever grateful that she really stayed out of our business, LOL! Someday I will have my own daughter in law, a relationship I am looking forward to because I trust my son’s taste in a significant other. Although I am imagining it will be a tricky relationship I am up for the challenge! What is that saying;”adaughter is a daughter for all of her life, but a son is a son until he takes a wife.” This story is told from duel points of view, mother-in-law Diana and daughter-in-law Lucy. I felt this was a extremely impactful way to tell the story, you could really see how much misunderstanding there was between these two women. They both truly sought the approval of the other, and neither really knew how to go about it. Most interesting indeed! The book starts out with the apparent suicide of Diana. As the book progresses we get a look at events leading up to the tragedy. As well as the present day investigation. As things begin to unfold and secrets begin to be revealed we really find out how truly complicated it all was. As the past is revealed Diana becomes a more and more sympathetic character. You truly do need to understand where someone’s coming from to fully appreciate their current actions. I liked Lucy from the very beginning and I enjoyed delving deep into her immediate family dynamics. Her relationship with Oliver and the kids was so relatable. Tom, Diana‘s husband and the father in law was a jovial likable character, who sometimes should’ve perhaps had Diana‘s back a little more! Always much easier to be good cop then bad cop! This book will feed your appetite for domestic Drama with a glimpse into this family‘s conflict. I just think there is something so alluring about a domestic thriller, it just is always so intriguing to read a story about family dynamics.. What is so brilliant about this story, is this family could be any of ours! It is so familiar and there is something comforting about that, making the story just that much more! Strongly recommended to anybody who enjoys a story with complicated characters, complex relationships, twists, turns, and a well structured compelling plot!*** many thanks to St. Martin’s Press for my copy of this book ***
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  • Lindsay - Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    4+ stars! A twisty, addictive, suspense-filled family drama!Lucy yearns to connect with her mother-in-law Diana. Having lost her own mother, she craves a maternal connection. However, Diana has always kept Lucy an arm’s length away - always being kind and available, but never quite embracing her with warmth and welcome into the family. The police knock on Lucy’s door one evening to inform her and her husband, Ollie, that Diana was found dead in her home, a suicide note tucked into her desk drawe 4+ stars! A twisty, addictive, suspense-filled family drama!Lucy yearns to connect with her mother-in-law Diana. Having lost her own mother, she craves a maternal connection. However, Diana has always kept Lucy an arm’s length away - always being kind and available, but never quite embracing her with warmth and welcome into the family. The police knock on Lucy’s door one evening to inform her and her husband, Ollie, that Diana was found dead in her home, a suicide note tucked into her desk drawer. Left in devastating shock, Lucy and Ollie, along with Ollie’s sister and husband are left to pick up the pieces of their mother’s life. Diana was a wealthy and well-respected community figure who lived alone, having lost her loving husband years prior. As the days progress, several details come to light surrounding Diana’s death. The police come back to question Lucy and Ollie. Everything Lucy thought she knew about her husband and his family is challenged. Was Diana’s death truly a suicide? Did someone want Diana dead? I loved the pace and flow of this novel. It is narrated by several characters, all of which held an intricate perspective to the story. It was an engrossing, truly addictive journey that I hungrily devoured, my mind flip flopping between possibilities of scenarios of what actually happened. This book kept me on my toes, my suspicions thrown all over the place, flipping those pages as fast as possible. I am a big fan of the author, Sally Hepworth’s, writing. I’ve read and enjoyed several of her books and look forward to what she has in the future. This was a Traveling Sister read that we all enjoyed. To find this review, please visit our blog at: https://twosisterslostinacoulee.com/2...Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an ARC to read and review!Expected Date of Publication: April 23, 2019.
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  • Holly B
    January 1, 1970
    Relationships can be complicated, especially when it involves the "Mother-in-law".  A  twisted family situation and a hidden motive lead to murder. The MIL is Diana and my opinion of  her changed so many times throughout the book and she certainly surprised me in the end.The first chapter was intense and sets the stage for a compelling read. We get the POV of Diana and Lucy (the daughter in law).  Their relationship is complicated and Lucy has many insecurities when it comes to Diana. The autho Relationships can be complicated, especially when it involves the "Mother-in-law".  A  twisted family situation and a hidden motive lead to murder. The MIL is Diana and my opinion of  her changed so many times throughout the book and she certainly surprised me in the end.The first chapter was intense and sets the stage for a compelling read. We get the POV of Diana and Lucy (the daughter in law).  Their relationship is complicated and Lucy has many insecurities when it comes to Diana. The author explores the roles of all the family members into the mix that led to much pondering on my part. Who is at fault here?A  shocker was exposed as the mystery unraveled and all the pieces fell in place. It had me to retracing the previous events to see more clearly how it had led to utter devastation and murder. I had almost all the characters as suspects at some point.I enjoyed this twisted family drama  and never saw the last piece of the puzzle until it was added.  I really enjoyed the beginning of the book and all the suspense it created, the rest of the story was more about the family dynamics. You should keep in mind that this is a women'ts fiction with some suspense, but more family drama. I did enjoy it and I  thought it was a thought provoking story, ~ A solid read with a side of family drama and a whodunit element. Thanks to the NG and the publisher for my copy to read/reviewOut April 23,2019
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  • Christina - Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    3, I was expecting a thriller but this is definitely more contemporary fiction with a mystery but I still enjoyed it stars!!Full review along with a recipe for a lightened up chicken parm featured on my blog Recipe & a Read!When Lucy meets the love of her life Oliver “Ollie” she doesn’t just see a future with him, she sees one with the family she’s never had. She has a loving and doting father, but having lost her mother when she was young she has long yearned for the mother-daughter relatio 3, I was expecting a thriller but this is definitely more contemporary fiction with a mystery but I still enjoyed it stars!!Full review along with a recipe for a lightened up chicken parm featured on my blog Recipe & a Read!When Lucy meets the love of her life Oliver “Ollie” she doesn’t just see a future with him, she sees one with the family she’s never had. She has a loving and doting father, but having lost her mother when she was young she has long yearned for the mother-daughter relationship she was denied. What she doesn’t expect from Ollie’s mother Diana is a cold aloofness that seems to seep out of her new mother-in-law. As they navigate their new relationship together, the space between them only grows until things go from bad to worse and Lucy wants nothing to do with Diana.We laugh and I find myself impressed with the speed in which Ollie came around. I wonder if it’s because, in the back of his mind, he knows that we will never have to starve. He knows that at some point a huge amount of money will be coming our way, more money than we could possibly know how to spend. And to access it, all we need to do is wait for someone to die.Police to come to your door with good news. They certainly don’t come knocking at dinner time with good news. These are the thoughts running through Lucy’s head as she sees the police cruiser pull up outside her home. But her kids are safe, her husband is safe – what could they possibly have to tell her? As the police break the news to Lucy and Ollie that Diana has passed under circumstances that point to her ending her own life questions begin mounting one on top of the other. Who puts their suicide note in a closed drawer before ending their life? Why isn’t he poison Diana supposedly used in her system and where is the missing throw pillow?She was my mother but as it turns out… I didn’t really know her at all.So full disclosure up front, this read was a bit middle of the road for me. It wasn’t bad by any means but it also didn’t knock my socks off either. I’ll start with what I really enjoyed. Hepworth’s writing is truly phenomenal. I loved the way each character was developed and I felt like, while at times slow, the forward progression was consistent and made sense. There’s no left-field drama thrown in for the sake of sensationalism. This was much more of a character study than I had previously anticipated and I enjoyed that we’re given both Lucy and Diana’s point of view. Diana was the strongest character and by far my favorite of this read. By giving us her point of view, she becomes less a villain and more a misunderstood and flawed human – which anyone can find connection to.When discussing this read with my fellow Traveling Sisters we realized that this book is billed as a mystery/thriller whereas what it actually is, is contemporary fiction with a mystery thrown in. I think anticipating this to be faster paced left me a little let down. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, and while the final twist was a real shocker that I didn’t anticipate it still felt like it lulled quite a bit throughout the read. If you follow my reviews than you already know that family dramas are not generally my favorite, so while I knew this was about a family I expected more thrill and less drama but got the opposite.I could have written more, but in the end, there’s really only two pieces of wisdom worth leaving behind. I worked hard for everything I ever cared about. And nothing I ever cared about cost a single cent. I really can’t overstate how much I loved Diana’s character and for a book that didn’t feel like it had many high moments (but it didn’t have many, if any, low moments either) she’s definitely one of my favorite characters I’ve ever read. I would’ve like a little more oomph but I can see why so many readers are loving this book. There’s a subtle, layered complexity in-between the lines of this read that I really enjoyed and was consistently impressed and surprised by. I also would be remiss to mention that I absolutely, whole heartily adore my own mother-in-law so not all in-law relationships are fraught!Traveling Sisters read
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  • Mackenzie - PhDiva Books
    January 1, 1970
    Gripping and haunting — there’s a poetry to the story told in The Mother-in Law that is so captivating and suspenseful, you will think about it for days after reading it.Over 24-hours after finishing Sally Hepworth’s The Mother-In-Law, there are still so many nuances I’m left turning over in my mind and unpacking. This is a thought-provoking novel of domestic suspense. I hate to compare it to other authors, though there are a few I see, because Hepworth to me has a truly unique voice and a story Gripping and haunting — there’s a poetry to the story told in The Mother-in Law that is so captivating and suspenseful, you will think about it for days after reading it.Over 24-hours after finishing Sally Hepworth’s The Mother-In-Law, there are still so many nuances I’m left turning over in my mind and unpacking. This is a thought-provoking novel of domestic suspense. I hate to compare it to other authors, though there are a few I see, because Hepworth to me has a truly unique voice and a story that needs to be told.What this book made me think about the most are the things we don’t say that sometimes can have the biggest impact of all.Full review closer to publication date 4/23/2019
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  • James
    January 1, 1970
    I read one of Sally Hepworth's earlier novels last year and immediately connected with her writing style and storytelling approach. I marked the rest of her books as TBR, then saw The Mother-in-Law available via NetGalley. I was lucky enough to be approved for an ARC earlier this week and began reading it right away. What an emotional and angst-ridden tale about the relationship between several family members who can feel all too real and all too fake at the exact same time. I truly enjoyed this I read one of Sally Hepworth's earlier novels last year and immediately connected with her writing style and storytelling approach. I marked the rest of her books as TBR, then saw The Mother-in-Law available via NetGalley. I was lucky enough to be approved for an ARC earlier this week and began reading it right away. What an emotional and angst-ridden tale about the relationship between several family members who can feel all too real and all too fake at the exact same time. I truly enjoyed this book and give it 4.5 stars. Let's get into some specifics...Lucy lost her mother when she was young. Although her father was wonderful, she never felt that connection with an older female who could guide her through becoming a mother, caring for a family, or securing your own position in the world as a strong, intelligent woman. When she meets Ollie, and he wants to introduce her to his family, Lucy is nervous but hopeful it fills a hole that's been growing for far too long. Unfortunately, when Lucy meets his mother, Diana, it becomes quite clear that won't happen.Diana had a difficult childhood and was essentially almost forced to give Ollie up as a baby. When she was kicked out, Diana learned how to build something from nothing and to care for her family when she didn't even have a place to live. She used that savvy experience to become a major player in an organization that helps young women trying to escape from difficult circumstances in their own country and move to America for a better life. Diana also developed a thick skin and an attitude that no one should be given a handout without working for it in return.Although the story alternates chapters from Lucy's and Diana's viewpoints throughout the decade they know one another, there are other characters who help show what each woman is truly made of. Diana's husband, Tom, is the complete opposite of her; he's a lovable, genuine, and thoughtful husband and father who gets sick. Ollie's sister and her husband are desperate for a baby and go to the extremes to make it happen with or without their family's support and money. Ollie's best friend becomes his business partner and wreaks havoc on a complex family relationship. Then there's the 3 young children Ollie and Lucy have during that first decade. Throw in Diana's untimely death, mysterious circumstances that make it look like a suicide but also a murder... and you've got quite a psychological exploration of what it means to be a parent and an in-law.This book explores that fine line of how you say things without coming across as insensitive or rude, how you determine when to let a mistake happen so a new parent learns on her own how to care for the child, and how you deal with making a decision when you and your spouse are on opposite sides of how to best support your children. At times, Diana was truly a horrific witch of a human being. You come to realize she kinda knows the way she's behaving is wrong, but it's been ingrained in her. When she softens, you want to root for her. You want to believe she will turn that corner and do the right thing. Then she goes in the opposite direction, unlike Lucy, who is nearly consistent almost the entire time. She sucks it up when Diana is rude or distant. She does all the things she doesn't want to do just so she doesn't look like she's being difficult. Until something bad happens, then Lucy blows up.While 90% of me sides with Lucy, I do understand Diana's approach. And it works in many circumstances; however, there comes a time when you let someone try to help themselves for only so long before it becomes too late. If you have an excess of money, and your children need it, don't hold on to it forever if they have put years into helping themselves only to fail for reasons out of their control. Eventually, Diana begins to see the light, but it's too late. Too much has been set in action, and her death is imminent. Was she murdered by one of these people who felt she went too far? Did she commit suicide because she felt guilty? Was it a freak and unexpected accident? You'll have to read the book to find out, but I believe it's worth it.I couldn't put the novel down. If I did, within 15 minutes, I kept telling myself 'just one more chapter.' Hepworth is brilliant at displaying angst, love, pain, and despair in a family who needs a little therapy to heal and forgive. It's down-to-earth, regular actions and words that remind you of your own world (not the drama necessarily, but the way people relate to one another) feel comfortable yet push you just enough to question how you think about a situation. I adored this book and would love to give it a full 5-stars, but there were a few items I thought could have been a bit more tidy to be absolutely perfect. The ending is 'ten years' in the future which is great, but I would love to have seen some of the immediate drama after Diana's death. We get a lot, but once the true reason she died is discovered, there's a bit of a windy wrap-up without a clear enough focus on everyone's reactions to the truth. I don't want to spoil this surprise, but ultimately, if you're gonna throw a curveball at us, give us a few reactions from the rest of the people involved so we sense a complete and thorough emotional see-saw when learning what happened to your family member.That said, it's a high recommendation from me... can't wait to see what others think when it comes out in early 2019.
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  • Meredith B. (readingwithmere)
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars...rounded up! I could have written more, but in the end, there's really only two pieces of wisdom worth leaving behind. I worked hard for everything I ever cared about. And nothing I ever cared about cost a single cent. Lucy is married to Ollie and Lucy has the typical mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship that you hear about...or maybe she has it worse? Diana is constantly taking jabs at Lucy and making comments about her parenting and home making skills. This drives Lucy nuts an 4.5 stars...rounded up! I could have written more, but in the end, there's really only two pieces of wisdom worth leaving behind. I worked hard for everything I ever cared about. And nothing I ever cared about cost a single cent. Lucy is married to Ollie and Lucy has the typical mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship that you hear about...or maybe she has it worse? Diana is constantly taking jabs at Lucy and making comments about her parenting and home making skills. This drives Lucy nuts and she cannot figure out how in the world to please Diana. Luckily, she's not the only child-in-law, her brother-in-law feels the same way. But what family doesn't have their issues?One day Ollie gets a phone call that Diana is dead and they found a suicide note in her desk drawer. Why in the world would Diana want to kill herself? She had plenty of money, a nice place to live and wonderful kids/grandchildren. The police think that someone has set her up and all of the kids are now wondering which one of them did it. What was the motive? Inheritance? Guilt? Anger? The only person who knows is the one that did it....This story was very relatable to me (not the suicide/death part) but the mother-in-law part. To get real personal - I do not have a relationship with my MIL and at this point neither does my husband (so more extreme then Lucy and Ollie). Lucy tries so hard with her MIL and tries to get her to like her but its nothing but criticism from Diana. She can't dress right, she can't talk right, etc. I can definitely relate to this sadly. Imagine one of the people you are hoping will accept you for the last ten years just criticize you to your core. Think the worst things you already think about yourself and imagine your MIL calling you 2 days before Christmas and telling you that's how she thinks of you. That happened to me. As bad as Diana was at times to her kids/spouses at least there were some times when she cared. However, I do think it was therapeutic, for me personally, to read this and realize maybe i'm not the only one that goes through this, even though it feels like it. This story was told from two perspectives - the past and the present. I think the author did a great job linking the two together and making the story work. I wouldn't say this is a blow your socks off who-dun-it, but there definitely was a suspense aspect to this book. I almost felt like I was a distant relative watching the family go through everything and let me tell you they go through A LOT in this book. I also loved how satisfied I felt at the end. I really felt like Hepworth made the story come full circle in the 340 pages. I like that better than making my own extension of what happened or trying to imagine it once I close the book.I really enjoyed Sally's THE FAMILY NEXT DOOR last year and I enjoyed this one as well! This came out about a month ago so go pick it up - it is definitely a good summer read!!Thank you to St. Martin's Press for my finished copy of this book!
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  • Norma * Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    Clever, impactful & irresistible!This book was nothing like I imagined it to be…..it was so much more than your typical “evil” mother-in-law tale!! Loved it!! THE MOTHER-IN-LAW by SALLY HEPWORTH is a gripping, captivating, thought-provoking, and fabulous mystery/thriller that I was immediately drawn into and devoured quickly. The story was so darn entertaining and absolutely un-put-down-able!!!! SALLY HEPWORTH delivers quite the unexpected, clever, engaging, complex and well-written story he Clever, impactful & irresistible!This book was nothing like I imagined it to be…..it was so much more than your typical “evil” mother-in-law tale!! Loved it!! THE MOTHER-IN-LAW by SALLY HEPWORTH is a gripping, captivating, thought-provoking, and fabulous mystery/thriller that I was immediately drawn into and devoured quickly. The story was so darn entertaining and absolutely un-put-down-able!!!! SALLY HEPWORTH delivers quite the unexpected, clever, engaging, complex and well-written story here told in alternating chapters between the past and the present in both Diana (mother-in-law) and Lucy’s perspectives. The storyline was brilliantly plotted, flowed seamlessly and the characterizations were absolutely spot-on. The dynamics between these characters totally fascinated and entertained me. And it was so interesting to hear from both sides as each of them had their own interpretations of what they actually meant or how they felt or thought about certain scenarios. The mystery itself here was done so well and not rushed at all. It was another one of those books where the fantastic storytelling guides and entertains you without any shocking unrealistic scenes. The storyline is full of twists and turns and so subtlety interspersed that totally snuck up on me in the end. I love it when an author is so talented to shock you with her writing style alone which just makes that pivotal moment much more shocking in its own right. Brilliant!!Norma’s Stats:Cover: That cover is absolutely striking with its bright & welcoming design which definitely caught my eye and definitely enticed me into wanting to read this book. Title: Simple, impactful and fabulous! Writing/Prose: Well-written, fluid, witty, beautiful and engaging.Plot: Engrossing, clever, unique, thought-provoking, believable, interesting, heartfelt, fast-paced, and entertaining.Ending: Whoa! Absolutely loved it and totally took me by surprise! Overall: This was an all around fabulous book with such a creative and refreshing storyline that was definitely very satisfying and well worth reading! Would highly recommend!Thank you so much to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press & Sally Hepworth for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a review.Review can also be found on our blog:https://twosisterslostinacoulee.com/
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  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for a digital galley in exchange for an honest review. Although I am a single lady, it doesn't mean that I haven't heard my share of "mother in law" stories. Some women just cannot cut the cord even after their precious sons get married. For the heck of it I decided to do an internet search on mother in laws. My sweet baby Jesus! There are tons of mother in law stories not to mention a definitive list of the worst mother in laws in HISTORY. Br 3.5 stars Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for a digital galley in exchange for an honest review. Although I am a single lady, it doesn't mean that I haven't heard my share of "mother in law" stories. Some women just cannot cut the cord even after their precious sons get married. For the heck of it I decided to do an internet search on mother in laws. My sweet baby Jesus! There are tons of mother in law stories not to mention a definitive list of the worst mother in laws in HISTORY. Bring your popcorn because if you're anything like me, you'll head down a very dark hole on Saturday night. The story begins with two police officers arriving at Lucy's home to inform her husband, Ollie, that his mother is dead, an apparent suicide that might be more. As the story moves from the present into Lucy and Diana's tense past, it seems clear that more than one person would be happy to have Diana dead. I read this novel in one sitting, but would certainly put forward that the book could be called "Mother" as Diana( in my opinion) had an even more aggressive relationship with Ollie and his sister, Antoinette. The more that I read about the highs and lows of Diana's past, I begin to wonder how reliable Lucy's narrative really was as the secrets start to unravel. Although I had an inkling of what the big reveal was going to be, I was still hooked enough to keep the pages turning. The Mother-in-Law was my first Sally Hepworth read, but it surely will not be my last.Goodreads Review: 14/04/19Publication Date: 23/04/19
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  • Mackey
    January 1, 1970
    With two Mother-in-Laws under my belt, which honestly was two too many, and being one myself, I felt I was ready to tackle Sally Hepworth's latest novel, The Mother-in-Law. I was, after all, an experienced pro. I was not, however, at all prepared for the multi-layered, character driven drama that unfolded before me - not even close! When Lucy first met her Mother-in-Law, Diana, she immediately knew she was not going to be the wife that Diana had hoped for her son. Diana was one of those mothers/ With two Mother-in-Laws under my belt, which honestly was two too many, and being one myself, I felt I was ready to tackle Sally Hepworth's latest novel, The Mother-in-Law. I was, after all, an experienced pro. I was not, however, at all prepared for the multi-layered, character driven drama that unfolded before me - not even close! When Lucy first met her Mother-in-Law, Diana, she immediately knew she was not going to be the wife that Diana had hoped for her son. Diana was one of those mothers/wives who was perfect in every way: immaculate home, perfect spouse, marvelous and adored mother, a planner, a doer, someone who made things happen in life for those she loved. If she didn't love you - well, therein was the issue. But Lucy tried and she tried hard. When Diana is discovered dead, Lucy is perhaps the one most shocked, especially when it is indicated that Diana was already dying from cancer. You see, Lucy knows better. Lucy knows a lot of secrets about Diana and this family. As the investigation continues and the secrets are revealed, the layers that covered this perfect family begin to crack and we see that not was not as perfectly pretty as it appeared - but are they ever?I absolutely adore Hepworth and her dramas. I don't always like each and every book, some are not always five star hits for me, but each of her books leave me emotionally charged and the characters that she builds stay with me forever. The Mother-in-Law is definitely a winner! There are so many twists and turns and layers to this story that just when you think you have it all figured out - and you probably will figure the "whodunnit - a new discovery is revealed and you find yourself back at square one. While there is the underlying mystery of Diana's death in the novel, The Mother-in-Law truly is a family drama at its core. It's about relationships that grow, alter, are amended and die. It's about family - those that work and those that are dysfunctional. Mother's relationships with their children are complicated; when they become adults it is even more so. When they marry... well, complicated doesn't even scratch the surface for many. And yet, The Mother-in-Law does scratch that surface and what it reveals will leave you stunned. "With jaw-dropping discoveries, and realistic consequences, this novel is not to be missed. " --Library Journal, starred reviewMany thanks to #Netgalley @StMartinsPress and @SallyHepworth for copy of #TheMotherinLaw available April 23 at Amazon and your local booksellers.
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  • Marialyce
    January 1, 1970
    I have asked myself this question a few times in the past. What is it that makes me dislike a book while so many others have voiced their acclaim and praise for this book? Was it the setting, the writing, or the characters, or could it be a combination of all three?In the book, The Mother In Law, I am going to say it was most definitely the characters, particularly that of Diana, the erstwhile mother in law of the story. She was to me a vile woman so intent on making sure her children were not s I have asked myself this question a few times in the past. What is it that makes me dislike a book while so many others have voiced their acclaim and praise for this book? Was it the setting, the writing, or the characters, or could it be a combination of all three?In the book, The Mother In Law, I am going to say it was most definitely the characters, particularly that of Diana, the erstwhile mother in law of the story. She was to me a vile woman so intent on making sure her children were not spoiled by both her husband and herself, that she literally abandons her children when they hit upon hard times and desperation. You see this couple had plenty of money. However, both her time, her effort, and her money went to outsiders. Diana was definitely opposed to the old adage of charity begins at home. I surely can understand wanting one's children to grow up with a strong sense of independence, but when her own flesh and blood begs for money for her fertility treatments and is refused, my heart broke. At this point she took away all her daughter's hope. How despicable is that?At any rate, when Diana mysteriously dies, leaving a suicide note saying she couldn't deal with her cancer, (which incidentally she never had), the mystery is on to discover the why of her death and her daughter in law, who Diana has also treated deplorably, comes to the forefront as being sympathetic and eventually wanting to know what happened. Why this young woman, Lucy would ever want to help this woman who treated her with little respect was not understandable to me.? The rest of the children, especially her grandchildren really could have cared less.( I was definitely with them here). Diana had a loving husband who had the backbone of a jellyfish. He allows her shallow treatment of her children to proceed never seeming to take a stance in defense of his own progeny. (another turn off for me).Diana’s death starts in motion a story of a cold woman who came from poor beginnings. I think the author was trying to create in the reader's mind a feeling of empathy for Diana coming from nothing and achieving the status of being a pillar of the community. Too bad that pillar could not or would not support those who should have been close to her. In this, at least to me, she failed miserably. Do I dislike all vile characters I asked myself? I did read John Boyne’s Ladder To The Sky with the vilest of the vile characters, Maurice, and still managed to love the book. So, I have to say perhaps it was a combination of the characters and the writing which made this story a total turn off for me. Maybe it also has something to do with me being a mother of four, who would do anything possible to secure my children's happiness. Is that not what parents do? Aren't they the ones who want only the best for their offspring? Thankfully, I read this book with my book partner, Jan. We were both somewhat in a tizzy over this book and shared the self same level of dislike for it. As in all things, you can't please everyone all the time and surely for Jan and I, this was an example of that phrase. Guess you can tell by now why I rated this book so low.
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  • Natasha Niezgoda
    January 1, 1970
    FREAKING YES!!! Top 10 Thrillers of the Year for sure! Also, LOVING the fact that the more I recommend this book to friends, the more I fall in love with it!Synopsis: Lucy is surprised to find two police officers at her door. They’ve come to inform her that her mother-in-law, Diana, passed. However, her death isn’t clean cut. There’s suspicion that what appears to be a suicide might actually be a homicide. And as the investigation proceeds, the “who-done-it” motive unravel. Review: Holy crap! Th FREAKING YES!!! Top 10 Thrillers of the Year for sure! Also, LOVING the fact that the more I recommend this book to friends, the more I fall in love with it!Synopsis: Lucy is surprised to find two police officers at her door. They’ve come to inform her that her mother-in-law, Diana, passed. However, her death isn’t clean cut. There’s suspicion that what appears to be a suicide might actually be a homicide. And as the investigation proceeds, the “who-done-it” motive unravel. Review: Holy crap! This is not your classic mother-in-law story whatsoever. It’s full of deception, greed, callousness, rage, and guilt. The dysfunction that comes out of this family seems to anchor on who Diana was as a person and mother, and yet her very purpose in life was to equip her children (and others) to lead non-dysfunctional, self-fulfilling lives. It’s a really interesting satire that plays out. I loved the dual perspective approach that Sally Hepworth took. The story was told from both Lucy and Diana’s points-of-view through past and present events. It built a very strong foundation for the tension and relationships within the book. And speaking of relationships, man-oh-man Hepworth’s character development is on point! I had deep visceral feelings toward Diana - hate, disappointment, and even empathy/understanding. Hepworth made me "feel" and perform a slight introspective too, which took me by surprise for a thriller. The twists were appropriate. And I say that because there wasn’t anything “shocking” in this story that seemed farfetched. This story read so realistically that that’s what made it impactful. I would highly recommend this book. It was gripping, clever, well-paced, and tight!
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