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The Perfect Mother

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Member Reviews

Brilliant book, I totally loved it. It shows the pressures of motherhood wrapped up in a great little mystery. I finished it in one weekend, it was that good
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A good psychological thriller about a group of mothers and a missing child. Sometimes difficult to keep track of the characters and whose point of view we were in at times. Overall an okay read.
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“I remember walking into the bar, spotting them, tired eyes rimmed in kohl liner, black circles tempered under too much concealer, lips shimmering with the lipstick they hadn’t worn in months.”

The May Mothers, all tarted up (with questionable appeal) for a night out on their own – babies left at home with partners, or in the case of the single mother, a sitter. What could possibly go wrong? The Goodreads blurb reveals the answer to that—the single mother’s baby is abducted.

The May Mothers are a group of women who met when pregnant and decided to form a little group when they realised their babies were all due in May. That part I understand. What I didn’t quite understand were the emails circulated periodically, such as: 

“TO: May Mothers
FROM: Your friends at the Village	
DATE: July 4
SUBJECT: Today’s advice
This seventh week, you baby should start to master muscle control—kicking, wiggling, and holding her head up, nice and strong. . . ”

These “emails” kept annoying me. The babies could range more than four weeks in age, so each baby’s progress would be different. This may be a petty gripe, but I think the email correspondence could have been designed better. 

The story opens with a prologue in the first person by a woman talking about having her baby in spite of the father’s anger.

“He was angry, insisting I’d tricked him. Demanding I get rid of the baby. ‘This will ruin everything,’ he said. ‘My marriage. My reputation. You can’t do this to me. I won’t let you.”

Well, too bad for him. Of course we don’t know who he is and we don’t know who she is either. Never mind—it’s a mystery, isn’t it?

Then we meet the mothers in the park fourteen months later, where they’re playing with their toddlers and reminiscing about how worried they were the year before, not knowing how to manage their new families.

The story moves along, visiting each woman and her newborn (and the father!) as they struggle with all the usual new parent woes—lack of sleep, juggling bills, jobs, commitments. 

I found it hard to keep track of the characters. We have one narrator speaking in the first person now and then while the others are observed in the third person. Of course, we aren’t told who the narrator is, but even with the others, I often backtracked since I didn’t have a strong mental image of who was who.

Molloy’s a good writer and the dialogue and descriptions of the women were excellent, but they mostly didn’t stick. Might be just me! 

“Francie. If our group had a mascot, someone to glue themselves in feathers and lead our team in three cheers for motherhood, it was her. Miss Eager-to-Be-Liked, to not screw anything up, so plump with hope and rich Southern carbs. . . 

“Colette, everyone’s girl crush, our trusted friend. One of the pretty ones, with her auburn shampoo-commercial hair, her Colorado-bred effortlessness and unmedicated home birth—the perfect female, topped in powdered sugar.”

The Mothers are determined to find the kidnapper and follow up all kinds of leads, thanks to Google and image searches, and one’s talent at hacking. This means they discover more about each other, as well. Plus, they drive the police nuts with their pressure.

I quite enjoyed the first three-quarters or so of the book, with its suspicions and reveals, and was curious to find out what happened. But by the end I seemed to lose interest and then it took a sudden turn into melodrama. 

I have to say, I could see a film or series version of this, along the lines of Liane Moriarty's wonderfully successful Big Little Lies. That would keep the people straight for me! :)

Thanks to NetGalley and Hachette Australia for the preview copy from which I’ve quoted. I see the author has another book out next year, and I’m sure it will be worth a look.
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I have been there myself. I was a first time mum once. A long time ago. Now I am older and wiser. Now I am jaded and sageful. Now I can smile and wave away first-time-mums agonies and shenanigans. They are crazy. They are mumzillas... But

Losing a child is unspoken nightmare. Losing a child and being blamed for it... 

We, as mums, are trying our best. We do everything and more for our little ones. We fail some and we win some. We loose sleep and gain weight. But we never stop being human. And we never turn into our babies robot-servants. We are still who we are (and we have to constantly remind ourselves and people around as of this fact).

But, everything can be turned upside down. Everything has an angle. Everything has a story. And if a story sells... Nightmare that started when a baby disappers from his cot expands into armagedon when story breaks on the news. It gets even worse when the mum in question turns out to be TV star from bygone years. Add to the mix a girls night out, deleted 'nanny' app on the phone, lost key and an ex-boyfriend. You will get a warped coils of crazyness...

And crazy it is. All of it. It is so crazy it can definitely be true. It is so serious, so multi-layered that only a crazy human can make it up... But why? And where is the baby?

Meanwhile, a number of stories reveal themselves along the way. All the members of the May Mommies club come out. Or do they?

I guess, you will have to read for yourself. Don't forget to hug your baby and kiss him or her a zillion times while reading this story. And thank your lucky stars. And spit over your left shoulder..

Amazing, engrossing read. I flew through it in a couple of days. Could not put the book down. Congratulations on the novel debut.
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Another good psych thriller. I always find thrillers about parents & kids extra gripping being a mother myself. The one negative thing I would day is sometimes it was hard to keep track of all the different POV.
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My official rating for this is a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

The Perfect Mother is Aimee Molloy’s debut novel and I’d say she did pretty damn well. I don’t read mysteries as often as I would love to, and within that, I have also never read a domestic suspense novel. So, I was feeling both apprehensive and excited!

This was a really interesting book! Not only did it have some really interesting commentary about motherhood, what makes a mother and how mothers should act within society’s eyes. I really enjoyed that commentary, it was one of my favourite aspects of the book and what made it so enjoyable to read. It was really interesting (I’m so sorry I keep using that word ughhh!) to see how harshly mothers are judged by not only their husbands and the general public, but by other mothers too.

As for the mystery/suspense aspect of the novel, I did also find it quite intriguing. I found that I really enjoyed the idea of a domestic mystery. I thought that it was really cool for the mystery to be centred around a mothers group. It gave the story a different feeling and in a weird way made it feel more normal and more like this could happen to anyone. You really started to understand the characters and feel for them as the story went on and by the end, I was really enjoying myself, despite the subject matter/ type of mystery.

The author, Aimee Molloy has great writing and writes really interesting characters. She also clearly has a great mind for mystery. I can’t wait to see what she writes next!
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EXCERPT: Why? Why did she do that? Hadn't she learned her lesson? One impulsive decision can destroy an entire life. If anyone should know that, it's her. 

ABOUT THIS BOOK: An addictive psychological thriller about a group of women whose lives become unexpectedly connected when one of their newborns goes missing.

They call themselves the May Mothers—a collection of new moms who gave birth in the same month. Twice a week, with strollers in tow, they get together in Prospect Park, seeking refuge from the isolation of new motherhood; sharing the fears, joys, and anxieties of their new child-centered lives.

When the group’s members agree to meet for drinks at a hip local bar, they have in mind a casual evening of fun, a brief break from their daily routine. But on this sultry Fourth of July night during the hottest summer in Brooklyn’s history, something goes terrifyingly wrong: one of the babies is abducted from his crib. Winnie, a single mom, was reluctant to leave six-week-old Midas with a babysitter, but the May Mothers insisted that everything would be fine. Now Midas is missing, the police are asking disturbing questions, and Winnie’s very private life has become fodder for a ravenous media.

Though none of the other members in the group are close to the reserved Winnie, three of them will go to increasingly risky lengths to help her find her son. And as the police bungle the investigation and the media begin to scrutinize the mothers in the days that follow, damaging secrets are exposed, marriages are tested, and friendships are formed and fractured. 

MY THOUGHTS: First time motherhood is one of, if not the most, difficult jobs in the world. Where is the training? Expectations are so high. The reality is harsh. New mums tend to band together in mutual support, and why not? They can relate to one another's experiences, give advice, provide a shoulder to lean on, cry on, or someone to laugh with, all in the quest to be the perfect mother. But what happens when one of those mums is not who she seems, has an agenda of her own, when one of these mothers lies, betrays the others to fulfill her own needs?

This is a compelling read that kept me turning the pages. Told from multiple points of view, which sometimes got a bit messy as it was not always immediately obvious whose point of view it was, the author explores the dynamics of a group of women and one 'token' man, most of whom are concealing a secret of some sort, who inadvertently become involved in the abduction of a baby. 

There are a lot of current issues used to great effect in The Perfect Mother. Firstly the Internet, a wonderful research tool that can easily put information into the wrong hands. Then there is the issue of media sensationalism and manipulation. It is not always about the truth, but often what is going to attract the most viewers or readers that prevails. Molloy cleverly uses these modern phenomenon to enhance the tension in her plot. 

Although a previously published author, this is Molloy's first novel. I can't wait for her second. 

Thank you to Hachette Australia via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. 

Please refer to my profile page or the 'about' page on for an explanation of my rating system. 

This review and others are also published on my blog
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The Perfect Mother had me on the edge of my chair from start to finish. Nothing was as it seemed, everybody seemed to have something to hide and right to the end I was second-guessing the identity of the kidnapper and possible killer of baby Midas. Beautifully written, this story touches on so many issues other than just the kidnapping of a baby. Post natal depression is up there, but so are all the stress and life complications associated with introducing a new baby into a relationship. Add in the unwelcome commentaries on how you’re living your life, the pressures of well meaning family and friends, work commitments and you have an exceptionally complex story. With all the issues faced by each of the May Mothers I really had no idea which one was the culprit. This has been an utterly gripping story.
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The Perfect Mother is a page-turning psychological thriller about a mothers group called the May Mothers that get together regularly to talk about their experiences raising a newborn baby. But when one of their own has her young baby kidnapped while the group is having a rare night out together, they are quick to rally around her and try do everything they can to help Winnie get her baby Midas back.

This book was well-paced and difficult to put down, and while with most of this genre I usually guess exactly what is what, with the Perfect Mother Molloy had more than a few surprises in store for me as I read. I found the characters engaging, flawed and very relatable as a young mother myself, I could see little bits of myself in all of them. I found the reflection on the pressures society places on mothers to be perfect, and do everything 'just so' particularly relevant. And how often mothers feel the need to present ourselves with this perfect image even to other mothers, who are likely struggling just as much as we are.

And through it all, that bond of friendship that has been created in that May Mothers group shines as they learn more about each others darkest secrets, and work together to solve this mystery.

4 out of 5 stars.

* This eBook ARC was provided by Hachette Australia through NetGalley for an honest review.
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This title was included on the May 18 Librarians' Choice top 10 list
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This is a brilliant psychological thriller which plays on the greatest (supposedly irrational) fear of every new mother - what if someone stole my baby?

The May Mothers are a group of Brooklyn women who all gave birth in the month of May. They meet regularly for coffees and in the park, and one night when their babies are a few weeks old, decide to have an evening out together, leaving their husbands with the babies. Winnie, a beautiful, remote single mother, is convinced to join them when one of the others recommends a nanny. The night takes a few strange turns and ends in horror when Winnie’s baby Midas is kidnapped from his crib.

You can't talk about a child being abducted while the parents were off having a good time without the name of Madeleine McCann springing to mind, and some off the parallels are very uncomfortable, including the way the women are pilloried by the press for enjoying themselves. Everyone is an amateur detective with a theory, and the book definitely should make you question whether you have the right to make judgements when you don't have the complete picture.

There are several red herrings scattered throughout the book which caused me to be truly surprised when the big reveal came. I'd be very surprised if this doesn't get made into a movie: it's sort of Gone Girl meets Big Little Lies and is just as clever as both. Five stars for a riveting read I really couldn't put down!
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This wasn’t one that I personally enjoyed, but I can see the market. For me it felt like this title just took the concept of the unreliable narrator to a whole new level. There were so many red herrings throughout, and it felt like none of the characters were ever truly likeable. I went in with high expectations, but finished feeling let down.
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The Perfect Mother follows a group of mothers who band together to solve a crime when a member of their group has their baby abducted. It's a psychological thriller, but it fell short for me.

Although the writing wasn't bad, I feel like it wasn't utilised in a way that kept the mystery going. Multiple perspectives were executed poorly and it took me over half the book to even get each mother straight in my mind which made it confusing to follow. I think the big reveal was supposed to be shocking but I'd already figured it out so by the time I'd reached it in the story I found the whole thing to be underwhelming and glaringly obvious.

This book wasn't awful, it was an okay read. However, it definitely does not hold a candle to some of the other mysteries I've read recently and I don't think that I can give it anymore than two stars.
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This book really should come with a WARNING! Do not even think about picking it up if you have any work, chores, kids, pets or other things demanding your attention any time soon, because it is utterly addictive and un-putdownable. Luckily I read it on my day off, or I doubt I could have gone to work without having to have the book surgically removed from my hands. As it was, I got nothing done until I could find out what was going on, and had to come up with some pretty inventive excuses as to why I was holed up in a dark house on a beautiful sunny day, surrounded by mess and one very peeved off ignored dog.

Anyway, let’s talk about The Perfect Mother. It’s a long time since I was a first-time mother of a newborn, but I remember it well. The mixture of utter bliss and terror, the absence of a manual to operate this little creature that had suddenly taken over our lives. We did not have a website to sign up for support but formed out own little group of new mums in our small town, meeting regularly to hang out and discuss our babies. I could picture it all so well, and it brought back quite a few memories. In Molloy’s book, the mothers all have one thing in common – each and every one of them gave birth in May, thus their group’s name of “The May Mothers”. They meet regularly in the local park, comparing notes, sharing food, supporting each other. Friendships are forged. Secrets are exchanged. There is even a father in the group, nicknamed Token (for “token male”) by the women, who all secretly think he is gay but no one is game to ask. Spring turns to summer, and a heatwave sends all the new mums a little bit crazy. Someone suggests a night out at a local bar for some “time out” from their babies, and it seems like a good idea at the time. Except that on the night, something goes terribly wrong, and one of the newborns disappears out of his cot whilst being looked after by the babysitter. 

Molloy tells her story through multiple POVs, letting different new mothers share their most innermost thoughts, fears and theories about baby Midas’ disappearance and their role in the event. It’s a style that is often difficult to pull off, as there is usually at least one character who is less engaging than the rest, or the different POVs serve to make the story disjointed. Have no fear, because this is not the case here! Molloy is a master at characterisation, and I could relate to each and every character in her story. Feisty and confident Nell, who faces having to go back to work when her infant is only ten weeks old. Francie, the Southern girl with the crying baby that never sleeps. Collette, trying so hard to juggle a writing assignment with the demands of her new baby. And the beautiful mysterious Winnie, baby Midas’ mother – BTW where was she in the hours her baby went missing? And what is she hiding? 

Each and every one of the women has secrets, which are gradually revealed layer by layer, like slowly unwrapping a mystery gift in a pass-the-parcel game. Simply ingenious! I also liked the author’s take on the role internet, social media and TV play in the book, turning the baby’s disappearance into a media circus with fingers pointed at the mothers themselves for daring to enjoy a single night out away from their babies. The whole story certainly sucked me in, and you would have had to forcefully wrench the book out of my hands to stop me from reading!

The Perfect Mother is the perfect binge read, a page-turner to be consumed in day, a weekend, a journey. Make sure to put some time away for it, as it will demand your full attention. Brimming with interesting plucky characters embodying modern motherhood, it’s a tense and addictive mystery, revealing its secrets deliciously slowly, like the many layers of a Russian doll, until you find out the hidden answers inside. Molloy’s book was one of the most compulsive and entertaining reads so far this year, and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes a clever domestic thriller brimming with intrigue.
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A big thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

This mystery follows a group called the May Mothers. The story focuses on the disappearance of new-born baby Midas; the son of mother Winnie. It focuses on the public reaction to the disappearance and how it affects not only the wider community but also the small-knit community of mothers; the May Mothers. 

This mystery was different to many other mysteries that I have read. It was a well-written commentary on motherhood and the perceptions of mothers in the wider community. I thought the reveal was not mind-blowing like I thought it would be, however, the topics brought to light through the reveal were intriguing. 

The characters were all complex and once I was reading, hours would fly by because I wouldn't want to stop. The characters really pulled me into the story and made this an immersive reading experience. 

I liked that this mystery had more substance to it compared to others that I have read. 

I highly recommend this book! It will be published on the 1st of May 2018 in the U.S I believe.
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DNF @ 61%

I was so excited to read this book because the synopsis sounded amazing and Abby over at Crimebythebook had a glowing review for it and usually I love the books she loves but sadly that wasn't the case with this one.

The story follows the 'May Mothers', a group of mothers who gave birth in May. They have arranged to go out one night to let loose and one of their babies goes missing.

I wanted lots of intrigue but I mostly couldn't keep track of who was the focus - this could be from the layout of the e-arc I received though.
I found I couldn't really connect with the characters and that made me really sad. I haven't read many psychological thrillers recently so I was excited to jump back in with this one but unfortunately it just didn't get there for me.

Aimee Molloy's writing style is great though and if she publishes anything else I'll definitely pick it up!
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