The Mother-in-Law

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 23 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

The Mother-In-Law is an incredible and heartbreaking book about family and misunderstanding and the strength of love.  I was expecting a book about an evil mother-in-law.  This is not, and the result is so much more powerful of a book.  I really admired the lead character, Lucy.  But even with all the differences between her and her mother-in-law (and trust me, there were plenty), I also really liked the mother-in-law Diana. The story takes place starting when Diana is found dead of apparent suicide.  And then it goes between the present, and how Lucy and her family is dealing with the death, and the past starting from the very beginning when Lucy first met her mother-in-law.  This is definitely one of those books that sticks with you the day after you’ve completed it.
Was this review helpful?
There is no easy way to be the Mother-in-law or Daughter-in-law. Diana and Lucy are completely different women drawn together by one factor, Ollie. It's no secret that Diana and Lucy had a complicated past and relationship. When Diana's death turns from suicide to homicide that strained relationship is put into light. A confused grieving family faced with a mystery and one question, who killed Diana?
     A page turning book sure to please any thriller fan. Every chapter uncovers a bit more of the mystery and you will constantly try to solve it and be thrown off by another character. I loved the writing style of this book. Similar to "The Last Mrs. Parrish," short but deep chapters from perspectives of the main characters in both the past and present. An enjoyable read and a perfect spring release to take on your upcoming vacation!
Was this review helpful?
"The Mother-in-Law" by Sally Hepworth 

My first time reading that author.

3.5 stars.
I liked it but it's not my favorite book this year.  It's not at all what I thought it would be.  I thought it would have been more thriller.  It's mainly about family drama,  complicated relationships...  A bit slow.  

It is well written, interesting story, good characters.  Just not the "Oh no, no way!" moment you get reading a thriller/crime/mystery.

Thank you to NetGalley and St Martin's Press for the ARC of this book.  This is my honest review.  All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
I really loved this book. So much more than a thriller of who did it. 
A family in dysfunction. 
A love story that's real. Moth erhood. It's all there.
Was this review helpful?
What a compelling, twisty read based on perhaps the most complicated relationship, in-laws. I had never read a Sally Hepworth book but I will definitely be reading more. This story is told through Lucy and Diana's points of view, in both the past and the present which produces a wonderful unfurling of the story and these women's lives.  The characters are multidimensional -- especially Diana who I am still trying to figure out!  The novel moves along quickly -- I got sucked into this book and finished it in two days. While I wouldn't classify this book as a thriller, I would definitely call it a fascinating domestic mystery. If you enjoy difficult, complicated family relationships (at least in a novel), this book is for you! 

Sincere thanks to NetGalley, St. Martin's Press, and the author, Sally Hepworth for providing a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
3.5 stars!

When Diana, Lucy's mother in law, is found dead in her house of suspected suicide, Lucy experiences a strange bunch of emotions. Her personal relationship with Diana has always been volatile, while Diana still gives off this perfect image to everyone else. They quickly find out that this wasn't actually suicide, but murder. Who would actually want Diana dead?
This book was an enjoyable read. My attention was drawn in due to the story & the complicated relationships between family members. I felt bad for Diana, though. The book being written in different perspectives (Diana's and Lucy's in the past & present) helped you to understand that there truly are two sides to every story. Diana had so many good intentions, but wasn't good at executing it, leading to a lot of misunderstanding. I liked that I didn't see the end coming, and appreciated with how it all wrapped up in a nice little bow.
Was this review helpful?
At its core, The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth is a simple story about simple people: Lucy and her mother-in-law Diana. What unfolds is a complex story about how familial relationships are built and borne, and how they change over time. 

Hepworth writes of an Australian woman named Lucy who marries into a traditional family. Her husband, Ollie, is the hardworking son of a hardworking couple, Tom and Diana. His sister Nettie and her husband Patrick complete the family. 

Over the years, Lucy and Ollie have children, change careers, and grow into their own family unit while the shadow of Diana casts a pallor over them. 

The plot is pretty straightforward, and pretty true to the ‘evil mother-in-law’ form: Lucy and Diana do not get along in the way that mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law often do. Through a series of vignettes, we see how their relationship was doomed from the start – how Lucy tries too hard to impress Diana at their first meeting; how Diana accidentally insults Lucy while she’s shopping for a wedding dress; and how the two rarely see eye-to-eye on how to raise their children. 

Hepworth throws a wrench into the story when we find out that Diana has died. She left a suicide note, but there’s evidence that she suffocated. Of course, because we know the relationship was flawed – and because her husband, her sister-in-law and her husband all immediately turn toward her when the police tell them – we’re automatically supposed to believe it was Lucy. 

As Hepworth unveils the story, we find out that everyone had a motive to murder Diana. Though she paints herself as the ideal mother, a pillar of society, and the head of a charity that supports refugees, in private, Diana was a complicated woman because of what life has done to her and how she responded to its every twist and turn. 

She’s a proud woman who hates to waste money. Ollie needs a loan for his business. 

She’s a proud mother who prides herself on the way she raised her children to be self-sufficient and to help themselves. Nettie is struggling with fertility issues and Patrick isn’t exactly trustworthy. 

She believes that her way is the best way, because her road was tougher and she was forced to grow up quicker. Lucy constantly feels like she’s being invalidated as a wife and mother because she never measures up to Diana’s standards. 

She turned her life into one of service to others. When she’s filled that purpose and it doesn’t prove useful anymore, she contemplates ending it all. Did she commit suicide after all? 

When I first read the blurb for The Mother-in-Law, I thought it would be pretty cut and dry. I thought for sure that Lucy had killed Diana, and that we’d spend the story figuring out which barb pushed her into committing the crime. 

I expected one-dimensional characters who fit neat tropes, but in almost every case, the characters were complex. At times I agreed with Lucy; at times I thought Diana was right. By the time I got to the end, I saw all the characters in a different light. 

I think one of Hepworth’s triumphs with The Mother-in-Law is to highlight the fact that who we are in public may not be who we are in private. Sometimes we bend, sometimes we break, sometimes we change and sometimes we stay the same, but ultimately, we all have layers that need to be pushed back to find out who we truly are. 

 The Mother-in-Law is a quick read, but if you’re like me, you won’t be able to put it down until you’ve found out how it all plays out. 

*I received an Advanced Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
My, my, my, what a hidden gem this was! When I first heard of this book, called The Mother-In-Law, which is in the category of Mystery / Thriller, I admit that I started to form an opinion of what this was probably about… Well I was completely wrong, and in a good way. 

Lucy lost her mother at a young age, and is desperately trying to please Diana, her future mother-in-law. The fact that she does not succeed is not a surprise. However, Diana turns up dead, with a suicide note, but then suspicions immediately arise that this might not have been a suicide, and pretty much anyone could be to blame.

The book switches between present day and the past, and is told from both Lucy’s and Diana’s POV. What is so great about this is that by providing Diana’s perspective, we learn where she is coming from and why she does the things that she does, and why Lucy’s assumptions about Diana are mostly incorrect.

As I was becoming attached to these characters, Hepworth does not let us forget there is a murder to be solved.  And just as I started to think that I knew what had happened, then no, wait, there is a twist, then nope, another one, wait, oh no no no, NOOO!! Oh man, that was rude. But well done Hepworth, well done. But still rude.

This was ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars for me, and it was my first book by this author, won’t be my last. I highly recommend this one, but note that it is a family drama and you have all that comes with it, so be warned, it also gets a little tough with the topic of suicide. Release date is 4/23/19, please go pick up a copy, this is really good!

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an electronic arc to review.  All opinions above are my own.
Was this review helpful?
i am going to just 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.
Was this review helpful?
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 ***
Was this review helpful?
When I first saw the title “The Mother-in-Law” I fully expected this book to be about an evil mother-in-law who causes all kinds of problems in the life of her sweet and innocent daughter-in-law. Well I was pleasantly surprised to see that this book was more family drama than anything else since I enjoy books about complicated family dynamics. The most compelling part of the book for me was getting to know Diana, the mother-in-law. There’s more to her than we think and I liked understanding what drove her and her decisions. I liked that the book really focused on the relationship between Diana and her daughter-in-law, Lucy, through the use of their dual perspectives. But other than the drama between daughter-in-law and mother-in-law, there wasn’t really much else that grabbed my attention. The cause of Diana’s death just wasn’t that suspenseful and the ending felt a little rushed. It’s an entertaining and fast read and I’d recommend it if you prefer family drama rather than a page-turning thriller. 3.5 /5

Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
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!

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an ARC to read and review!

Expected Date of Publication:   April 23, 2019.
Was this review helpful?
The writing was what really drew me in for this book. I love books told from multiple perspectives because I feel like you get to the meat of the characters and learn why they do the things they do. The book is told from the mother-in-law’s and daughter-in-law’s point of view. To be honest, I preferred the DIL as I felt the MIL was too harsh on her and her kids. Though I understood where she was coming from in some aspects I felt that she unfairly judged her DIL with other people she was interacting with in her charity. The ending I will say is a bit shocking as who I thought did it was not it. That alone deserves an award as nowadays it’s hard to find domestic thrillers that don’t give it all away too early. I would recommend this book to anyone that wants a quick domestic thriller and knows the story picks up after the first 30%.
Was this review helpful?
Rating:   3.5 stars rounded down to 3 stars

As I read the book blurb for Sally Hepworth’s new book, I thought that this would be a twisty thriller.   For me it landed more solidly in the genre of Women’s Fiction with a mystery thrown in.   This was a well-told story, but not really what I was expecting to read.   

The story is told in dual timelines.  Lucy narrates her story which traces her arrival as the daughter-in-law in the Goodwin family.   This storyline is pretty much told as it happens currently, with some of Lucy’s earlier memories of how she was introduced to the family also included.  The book open with the arrival of the police at Lucy and her husband Ollie’s front door.   Diane is Lucy’s mother-in-law, and she narrates her own story which goes back about 35 years before the start of Lucy’s narration.  

The police arrive to tell Lucy and Ollie that Diane has been found dead.   Eventually a suicide note is found, but there are traces of poison in her body and signs of strangulation.   There are no traces of cancer in her body as was stated in her suicide note.  Was Diane murdered?   What does Lucy know that she’s not sharing?  

From the discovery of Diane’s body, we go back and forth to see how Diane developed into someone who was seemingly cold and unapproachable, and how Lucy interpreted her mother-in-law’s actions.   They both seemed stuck in their own perceptions of each other which in turn informed how they acted and reacted as Lucy and Ollie’s family grew with the addition of three children in fairly quick succession.   Diane works tirelessly for the women in the refugee community, but incongruously is uncomfortable helping her own family. 

Other characters in the book; Tom, the beloved, warm and funny husband and father; Nettie, Ollie’s sister who is struggling with fertility issues; and Patrick, Nettie’s husband; weave in and out of the story.   This is a story of the whole family that happens to be narrated by Lucy and Diane.   

For me, the story had too much angst.   I didn’t really like Lucy.  She seemed a bit flat, and too clingy.  But then, I’ve never been a mother of three young children.  Maybe getting through the day as best as you can, as messy as it is, really is the best that can be expected.  I just wanted Lucy to move on already.  I came to appreciate and understand Diane as her story developed.   She was someone that was clearly stuck in her own box, which made her life more solitary than it needed to be.

Bottom line, this is a mystery, but it isn’t a thriller.   We do learn what happened to Diane, but about two-thirds of the way through I was wishing that that story was done already.   However, if you’re looking for ‘Women’s Fiction’ with a mystery angle, this could be the perfect book for you.  

‘Thank-You’ to NetGalley; the publisher, St Martin’s Press; and the author, Sally Hepworth; for providing a free e-ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
The Mother-in-law is a fine domestic thriller that also touches on some hot button social topics.

Lucy’s mother-in-law, Diana, is not her favorite person though she adores her father-in-law, Tom. Diana is not demonstrative, even toward her two children, Ollie and Nettie. She is more concerned with her work with poor immigrants. When Diana dies, Lucy, and much of the family, is clearly the focus of the police’s inquiries.

The Mother-in-law was a good domestic thriller. However, I guessed the killer before I was 10% into the book. I sped through the rest of it to see if I was right and was irrational upset when I was. The killer seemed obvious to me but you may want a mystery that is easy to solve while on a vacation or relaxing before bed so 3 stars.

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Sally Hepworth, Author of “The Mother-in-Law” has written a captivating, intriguing, and suspenseful novel. The Genres for this Novel are Fiction, Mystery, and Suspense.  Someone always has something to say about their Mother-in-Law.  Various comedy shows portray the Mother-in-Law/ Daughter-in-Law relationships in humor, satire, and intense dislike. “Monster-in-Law”, a movie, with Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez is one romantic comedy where the Mother-In-Law will do anything to destroy her son’s relationship.

Sally Hepworth has taken a unique approach to the “Mother-in Law” in her novel. Diana, the Mother-in-Law has been found dead. One of the questions asked is it suicide or murder? The author describes her characters as complex, complicated, greedy, and dysfunctional. Lucy has certainly tried to please her mother-in-law, and has wanted some positive feedback. Nothing does seem good enough.

Both Lucy and Diane “tell” their stories. The other members of the family do as well.  I appreciate that Sally Hepworth discusses the importance of family, love and hope, with a sense of humor. I would highly recommend this unpredictable novel to readers, who enjoy a suspenseful mystery.
Was this review helpful?
Lucy and Diana were a mismatch from the start; the only-only-thing they had in common was their love for Ollie.  Told in their alternating voices and moving back and forth in time, this is both a domestic drama about the two women and a mystery as someone has murdered Diana.  Diana herself is a mystery to Lucy, who finds her cold and unwelcoming and yet a puddle for her grandchildren.  Lucy doesn't know about Diana's charity work with immigrant women or that Ollie was born out of wedlock and that Diana was disowned by her parents as a result.  Who killed Diana?  Who put the pillow over her face?  Hepworth will keep you guessing.  Both Lucy and Diana are wholly realistic and sympathetic characters and this is a highly readable (gulpable!) novel.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  An excellent read.
Was this review helpful?
This is my second Sally Hepworth book and both have been amazing reads. It was a close 5-star read.

A perfect book to show how money can ruin lives.

Would I recommend this book for a teenage reader? No, as it has many adult situations (not sexual) that might be too much. This would make a perfect book club book. I wish I was in one just to have some animated discussions in the plot.

I received a complimentary copy from St. Martins Press through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.
Was this review helpful?
This is an interesting book told mainly through Lucy, the daughter-in-law and Diana, the mother-in-law's eyes. Lucy only wants to be accepted and approved of by her mother-in-law. Now Diana is dead. The book is told through flashbacks of the past for both Lucy and Diana as well as the present for Lucy. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through Netgallery. This is my honest and voluntarily given review. Both Lucy and Diana are well developed complex characters. This makes a very interesting read and mystery. I really liked this read. It was very compelling.
Was this review helpful?
Fractured relationships, complicated Mother-in-law, suicide or murder and family secrets. 

The Mother-In-Law is a compelling, multilayered, clever, and suspenseful domestic mystery that felt more like contemporary fiction that explores more the dynamics within the character than the mystery involving a suspicious death. There is a lot to explore and think about here with the depth to these characters.

The story is told in the POV of the mother-in-law Diana and her daughter-in-law, Lucy. We see more of their deeper thoughts through their POV and as we come to understand them and their relationship. Diana is one of the most interesting characters I have read about with a lot to her then what you see on the surface. She made for a great character to explore and talk about.

I devoured this one as fast as I could and was completely drawn into the lives of these characters. I turned those pages as fast as I could and then slowly took in all the depth and layers to the characters. 

The Mother-In-Law is a great choice for group reads as it really is a great thought-provoking story that brought out some different views of the characters and their dynamics. For me, that is what makes a story so well layered is the many things it leaves you to think, explore and discuss and the Mother-in-Law sure did that for us. With each comment, it gave me something else to think about. I highly recommend! 

Thank you to NetGalley and St Martin's Press for my copy to read and review
Was this review helpful?