The Mother-in-Law

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 23 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

Lucy and Diana never had what one would call a warm Mother-in-Law and Daughter-in-Law relationship. Not from Lucy's lack of trying of course, but Diana just never seemed to want much to do with her daughter in law and after awhile Lucy stopped trying. Diana had a rich life, a wife to a wealthy business man she also ran her own charity helping pregnant refugees. She was a woman many looked up to. So many questions arise when she is found murdered. Who would want such a wonderful woman dead, many loved Diana. 

The novel is split between past and present in both Lucy and Diana's prospectives. We get to see events from both their point of views to see how they felt about what was happening at their thoughts and feeling that lead to their decisions. Sally Hepworth does a brilliant job not only bring not only these two women to life but the whole family. As we also meet their husbands as well as Diana's daughter and her husband. And Lucy's three children. 

As we get deeper into the novel the secrets continue to pile around the whole family, leaving you wondering what really happened. There were a few twists the really left me guessing the whole time as to what happened which was wonderful. It isn't often in domestic thrillers that I am truly surprised by the ending and this one got me. 

I would recommend this one to anyone who enjoys domestic thrillers or family dramas. 

Trigger warnings for loss of a family member, talk of cancer, abuse, fertility issues. 

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for the eArc, the opinions and review expressed are entirely my own.
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EXCERPT: I'm being overly dramatic. Even if it's bad news, it may not be that bad. It may not even be our bad news. Perhaps one of the neighbours was burgled? Police always cancassed the area after something like that, didn't they?

Suddenly I look forward to that moment in a few minutes time when I know that everything's fine. I think about how Ollie and I will laugh about how paranoid I was. You won't believe what I thought, I'll say to him, and he'll roll his eyes and smile. Always worrying, he'll say. How do you ever get anything done with all that worrying?

But when I edge forward a few paces, I see that my worrying isn't unnecessary. I see it in the somberness of the policeman's expression, in the downward turn of the corners of his mouth.

The policewoman glances at Edie, then back at Ollie. "Is there somewhere we can talk...privately?"

ABOUT THIS BOOK: 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?

MY THOUGHTS: Not what I was expecting....not at all. And that is both good. And bad.

That's not to say that this isn't a clever book, because it is. I just felt very ambivalent about it. There were parts I found enthralling, and parts where I was tempted to skip pages.

I started off by not liking Diana, at all; and liking Lucy quite a lot. But by the end of the book my feelings for both these characters had done a complete turn about. I didn't like Lucy very much and quite liked Diana. I could see her point, although I did not totally agree with what she did. I felt there could have been a compromise.

Mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationships can be tricky. I have never known quite where I stood with either of my mother-in-laws. I adore my daughter-in-law. But then I would adore anyone who made my son happy. That's not to say we haven't had our moments.....

There were some good, but mostly bad moments in the relationship between Diana and Lucy. But still I felt there was something lacking in this book. Quite what it is, I can't put my finger on, even some time after finishing it. But I enjoyed it more than not, and I would definitely read another by this author.

3.75 slightly perplexed stars

THE AUTHOR: Sally Hepworth is a human resource professional. A graduate of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, Sally started writing novels after the birth of her first child. Sally has lived around the world, spending extended periods in Singapore, the UK, and Canada, and she now writes full-time from her home in Melbourne, where she lives with her husband and three young children.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to St Martin's Press via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth for review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own personal opinions.
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I am a big fan of Sally Hepworth. It began with The Secrets of Midwives and I've read everything she's written since.  I like that she puts challenges into relationships that seem like they should be fairly simple to solve- but never are.

I enjoyed The Mother in Law simply because I was still doubting my assumptions right until the very end.  Though one could assume certain things is valid, but that didn't take away from the suspense for me. 

Poor Lucy is so desperate for a mother figure and I felt so much empathy for her because Diana is very much surface supportive of the relationship even though she obviously is devoted to Oliver - in a slightly distant sort of way.  The frustrating thing is that in hearing both sides there are missteps and misunderstandings that could likely have been cleared up if Oliver had sat them down or they'd gone to some therapy on how to communicate.  Diana obviously is not an unkind person, she devotes much of her life to helping others.  But she's tough on her daughter as well as Lucy. The mother daughter bond seemed to be fractured for her also.   

Once you get into the history of Diana there is a lot of clarity about her upbringing that helps to show us why she is the way she is but it doesn't help make the end any better, except maybe for the reader! 

On the whole the suspense was there for this book but I did find it more frustrating that their problems could have been solved with a bit more listening- hindsight indeed.  I enjoyed it but it's not my favourite from this author.


Thank you to St Martin's Press for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.
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Sally Hepworth is one of my go-to authors for a great read and The Mother-in-Law just strengthens my resolve to read whatever she publishes.

Many of the characters resonated with me, but it is Diana, the mother-in-law who claimed my attention. This is a devouring type of read that will keep you reading until the story is over. In my case, Lucy and Diana stayed in my mind. Well worth reading.
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I think I am drawn to any mystery that includes The Mother-in-law.   I absolutely loved the cover of this book and knew I had to read it.   The story begins with the present day and the police arriving at Lucy and Ollie's house to state that Ollie's mother was found dead.   The suspicion is that she committed suicide but there is an ongoing investigation.   The story moves very slowly and the chapters will go between present day and through the past 10 years.  The characters narrating the story will change mainly between Lucy and her mother-in-law, Diana.   There are many webs that have been weaved over the past 10 years and even some of the history about Diana and her child rearing years will help to bring the story to a full circle and help the mystery unwind.   

I did really enjoy this book.   It is a mystery but not a thriller or even a psychological thriller.   I think the character building is delightful and totally kept me engaged.    I enjoyed understanding how their relationships were built and why each character had the traits that were presented and how they ended up where they are.  The story is easy to predict but it is still enjoyable.    Each character has multiple webs/layers and the storyline becomes complete by the end.     The more I read about Tom and Diana the more compassion had for her unfailing love to Tom.   Each story is so complex that you do begin to see why each character to the path that they ended up on.   

Thank you to Netgalley for the early galley copy.   All opinions are my own.
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This book pleasantly surprised me. I was expecting yet another domestic thriller, and while there were definitely aspects that reminded me of books like The Other Woman & Big Little Lies, this book is a stand-out in this genre. It ended up being a heartfelt story that showed that there are always many, many sides to the truth. There were multiple perspectives which really underscored that you need to see the world from someone else’s point of view, and it was an astounding look at trying to understand one another. 5/5 stars.
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4.5 stars! Really enjoyed this one! Super quick, twisty and surprisingly pulled on the heartstrings! Nothing is as it seems, but heartfelt none the less.
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I have honestly been looking for good books to read and try to be picky about what I take my time to read. I saw this one and it sounded interesting so I decided to go for it. 

It started off interesting and got pretty good. I read it I think in 2 days. I wanted to know what happened. I didn't think things were going to play out the way they did. There were a few twists and turns I didn't see coming. Overall it was a pretty good read.
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A brilliantly crafted story of how two people forced to unite as "family" can misunderstand one another for years—getting in their own ways, as all beautifully flawed humans do—only to find love, friendship, and understanding in spite of unrealized good intentions. Sally Hepworth, long a favorite of mine, is at her all-time best as she deftly navigates the dual points of view of the titular mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law struggling to make sense of her mysterious death. At the core of it all lies a page-turning mystery with a satisfying, if heartbreaking, conclusion. My highest recommendation—perfect for book clubs and readers who love this intersection of family drama and suspense. (With thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for an advance copy to read & honestly review.)
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There is nothing more complicated than a woman's relationship with her mother-in-law.  Diana knew from their first meeting that Lucy was not good enough for her son, Ollie.  And from the first time they met, Lucy knew that her mother-in-law, Diana, was a real piece of work.  She was loved and respected by all, but Lucy.  Nobody could understand why their relationship was rocky from the start.  Now Diana is dead and the police have ruled it a homicide.  Given their rocky relationship, it is no surprise that Lucy is included in the suspect pool, but so is Ollie.  And Ollie's sister and her husband.  Who besides Lucy disliked Diana so much they wanted to see her dead?

I know that I am lucky to adore the woman that I consider my mother-in-law.  I know that the kind of relationship that many women have with their mothers-in-law is one of contention and strife. And full of misunderstanding.   I liked both Diana and Lucy well enough, but I think that is because the author told the story from both of their perspectives.  The way they treated each other was often cringe-worthy, but I also think it goes back to their own insecurities and the way they communicated or did not communicate, with each other.  I did like how the author told the story from alternating viewpoints because I really felt that I got a chance to know them both.  Diana's grief was so deep and complete that it was only Lucy who was objective enough to see that it was beyond the normal. It was really interesting to me that it was Lucy who stepped up to help her when she needed it the most.  When her own kids couldn't see that she needed help.  I wasn't all that shocked by the "whodunit" - in fact, there was one sentence that gave it away fairly early on, but the secrets being kept shocked me more than whodunit - CLICK HERE FOR SPOILERS.

Bottom Line -  It is not unusual for mothers to not get along with their son's wives.  It is not unusual for families to have secrets.  The Mother-In-Law was an excellent book about a family mired in resentment and shrouded in secrecy. 

Details:



The Mother-In-Law by Sally Hepworth
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Pages: 352
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: 4/23/2019
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Thank you to Netgalley for the book in exchange for a review.
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Heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time, The Mother-In-Law was a great read and not what I was expecting. I have been a Sally Hepworth fan for several years now and will read anything she writes. The Mother-In-Law was not a disappointment. I felt for Lucy and Diane. I went into this book expecting to hate Diane (the mother in law) but ended up loving and feeling such sympathy for her. Ms. Hepworth has this magical way of creating such REAL characters. People her readers can relate to and even see themselves in.  I was kept guessing until the very end. Bravo!
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Communication, communication, communication! This is SO important! I felt for the women in this book, it was hard not to! They both went through so many things, and could have learned so much from each other. My heart hurts knowing that it never got to happen.

The blurb is so misleading, it's like book to movie. "That's not how it happened!"

Anyways all I all I really enjoyed this touching, heart gripping story about not feeling like you are good enough.
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Lucy Goodwin’s mother-in-law Diana died. A decade earlier, she’d imagined a mother figure once again in her life to counter the absence left by her mother’s death when she was thirteen. Instead, she met a future mother-in-law who seemed austere, disapproving, and unreachable, often leaving her in tears. Diana allows Lucy rare glimpses into her closely guarded heart and ultra private history. After her death, secrets surface, family dynamics shift, and Lucy and husband Oliver forge a new pathway, professionally and personally. Hepworth’s characters are realistic and compelling, eliciting emotional responses to impossible situations with muddled journeys toward resolution, as in real life. The story elucidates complex relationships, the ethereal nature of personal connections, and the dynamics of marriage and family. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy of this wonderful, well-written story from the publisher through NetGalley.
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This was another spring surprise for me (and tells you how far behind I am on my reviews 😱)...  and wasn’t what I expected, but In a good way. Definitely a great beach read or one last weekend read by the pool (if you are still soaking up the late summer sun like we are in Georgia!!) @sallyhepworth kept me intrigued and needing to know what happened!!! Thanks to @netgalley and @stmartinspress for this spring read (and so sorry for the late review!!) Add this to the top of your TBR!!
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Thank you NetGalley for a copy of The Mother-in-law!

Well this certainly wasn’t like the books I’m used to reading... I really enjoy intense, heart-pounding thrillers and didn’t find this book to be that, however I was still pleasantly surprised at my enjoyment of the book. I’m sure everyone goes through a lot or the same emotions Lucy does towards her mother-in-law but as the book goes on you begin to see the relationship between Lucy and Diana change and, while it wasn’t the incredibly suspenseful thriller I was hoping for, I felt like the moral of the story was a really good one. While Diana’s approach was cold hearted and somewhat aggressive, she really did mean well and as I read on I found myself liking and understanding her more and more. The truth of her death was a little surprising but the ending kind of made me feel satisfied.
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This book explores the complex relationships between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law as well as the mother and daughter relationship.  I felt that it was dramatic and well-written. All in all it was an enjoyable read and I would recommend it as a entertaining read. .I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley. 
 All opinions are my own.
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I thought this book was decently written. There was a lot going on in the book though. You need to keep track of multiple storylines because there were a number of characters. The ending was surprising though and the writing was very easy to read. I would read more by this author and the book is worth reading for sure. I give it a 3.5⭐️.
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This was somewhat different than I thought it would be. There was no cut-and-day villain, although there was a mystery. This book focused heavily on relationships and the motivations behind the behavior of its characters, and that kept my interest throughout.
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This was a typical family drama.  Daughter-in-law marries into rich family.  The family which seems so normal, but wealthy is not so normal after all.  It seems everyone has issues.  The mother-in-law dies in what first appears to be a suicide but is later found to be mysterious circumstances.  She told everyone she had cancer, but the autopsy finds no cancer nor any other poison in her body. The book jumps from past to present so the reader is given snippets of info and background on all family members. I enjoyed this book, lots of twists, bit of a page turner.
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Great read!  I enjoyed this mystery, though it was a little easy to guess (given the tiny cast of characters).  It did also make me think about my own mother-in-law, and the things she hasn't told me or doesn't know how to communicate to me.  It was a thought-provoking, bittersweet, and enjoyable read.

Two things that I didn't enjoy as much:  1)  All the miscommunication that could have been addressed by just TALKING to each other.  Even a 15 second explanation ("someone brought me a raw chicken and other groceries when I was pregnant and it meant everything to me" or "this is why that jewelry is important to me").  But things all fall apart due to all the lack of communication.  I understand that that's the MIL's character (incredibly reserved, a little cold and robotic), but I found it quite frustrating.  2)  Personally, I'm over the format of jumping back and forth in time from different characters' POVs.  I know it's really popular, but in this novel (more so than others I've read), I found the author ripping us away from a scene where I was dying to know the resolution, then she never went back and resolved that scene.  It was jarring and frustrating.   

Apart from that, I did enjoy the book.  I especially liked the way the book wrapped up.  The conclusion of the mystery was so sad, really tragic, but the final chapter was redeeming and a lovely way to finish.  

My thanks to the publisher for providing an ARC via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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