Mother Knows Best

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 16 Oct 2019

Member Reviews

This book was definitely a mixture of thriller sci fi for me!! From losing her child from an abnormal gene she passed on to him to meeting a dr. who is offering her an experimental option to having a healthy second child, this book leaves you questioning where are we going wIth science in this day and age and should we be a little frightened of it!!
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Okay, so I will be up front and honest. I hate not being able to give at least a four star review.  However, I just could not get into this story even after trying a couple times. It didn’t pull me in or keep my attention after the first few chapters.
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How far would you go to ensure you had a healthy child when you have a predisposition to a potentially fatal hereditary illness?  And how far would you go to protect your child?
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This was an interesting idea and I enjoyed the story throughout. However the ending felt rushed and a lot of the actions the characters took in the final part made little sense. 

I've rated it 2 stars but would really like to give it 2.5 as it did grip me until the end. 3 stars would be too high though.
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Well written and enthralling thriller. Fast paced, believable characters, and good twists. This would make a great book club book, as others have mentioned, since it elicits so many opinions and thoughts.
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Thanks NetGalley, Kira Peikoff, and Crooked Lane Books!

This is a perfect book for a book-club meeting. I can see how it would definitely spark some controversy from a moral perspective. As a mother, I understands Claire's yearn to make sure her child was healthy. I have to admit that her character some times frustrated me!! There are quite a few twists and turns that you don't see coming. 

Overall, a great read.
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A fast paced, hard-to-put-down psychological thriller. I stayed up way past my bedtime reading, and didn't regret the lack of sleep. Highly recommend this book, as it's  EXTREMELY well written.
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This was highly interesting and suspenseful psychological thriller.  It explores the questions of how fa a mother will go to have a healthy child and how far she will go to keep her safe.  It kept me on the edge of my seat and there were a lot of unexpected twists.  I highly recommend this to fans of the genre and I look forward to reading more by Kira Peikoff.  Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the digital ARC.
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"𝓦𝓮 𝓭𝓸 𝔀𝓱𝓪𝓽 𝔀𝓮 𝓬𝓪𝓷 𝓽𝓸 𝓼𝓾𝓻𝓿𝓲𝓿𝓮 [𝓪𝓷𝓭] 𝔀𝓮'𝓻𝓮 𝓼𝓽𝓻𝓸𝓷𝓰𝓮𝓻 𝓯𝓸𝓻 𝓲𝓽."

TL;DR:
What happens: Claire Abrams is devastated when her son dies of a genetic mutation. Fearing she will pass this on to any other child, she searches out Robert Nash, who helps create the first baby with three genetic parents. Thing go awry, however, when their illegal experiment is leaked and research assistant, Jillian, seeks revenge.
Plot: Really entertaining mix of science and thriller
Writing: Endlessly readable, great pacing, interesting back and forth chapters
Characters: Well-characterized, relatively complex

Pros:
-interesting bio-ethical concept
-super readable writing
-hard to put-down with some good twists

Cons:
-i'm of two minds about J; I like the concept but some of the characterization seemed over-the-top
-nothing really blew my mind- there's nothing to keep me thinking about this book after I put it down.

I received an advance readers copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
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In MOTHER KNOWS BEST, author Kira Peikoff puts a disturbing spin on the classic saying and asks readers to consider not only what it means to be a mother, but what it means to be human --- and how far we can push science to its limits when creating humans. Told from three shocking and compulsively readable points of view, this novel is equal parts gripping thriller, thought-provoking science fiction and emotionally taut family drama.

Claire Abrams wants nothing more than to be a mother. Like many women, not only does she feel her biological clock ticking, she constantly worries that her family will be incomplete until she and her husband, Ethan, can have a baby. But one thing sets Claire apart: she has a genetic mutation that she can pass on to any offspring --- a fact she knows all too well, given that she lost her first child, Colton, to her genes when he was only eight. Now, three years later, she is ready to give up --- until she learns of Robert Nash, a controversial genetic scientist who believes he can isolate the risky parts of her eggs and combine them with the healthy parts of another woman's. There is only one catch: any resulting child will, genetically, have two mothers and one father.

Even worse for Claire, her husband is morally and ethically opposed to genetic experiments on humans, believing all mutations to be a slight against the miracle of life. So when Claire finally meets Dr. Nash and his cunning, brilliant assistant, Jillian Hendricks, she keeps her choices a secret, believing everything will work out if she can just get pregnant. Together, she, Dr. Nash and Jillian steam ahead full force, resulting in the first-ever fetus created from one father and two mothers. But her decision, of course, has disastrous and devastating consequences --- for her family, the law and the future of genetic science.

Flash forward a decade later: Miracle child Abigail knows she is loved by her parents, but she cannot help notice their idiosyncrasies and whispered anxieties. None of them have a smartphone, her mother almost never leaves the house, and they live basically off the grid --- save for one outing to the city each year, when they celebrate the life of her deceased brother. Frustrated by her parents' secrecy, Abigail is delighted when she does a DNA test and uploads her results online, only to learn that she has several distant cousins, including one who is desperate to meet her.

With the past knocking at her door, Claire realizes that the jig is up. The controversial procedure she had done to create Abigail has kept her prisoner in her own home, but now another woman is involved: Abigail's other mother. Desperate to protect her daughter and wild with grief, Claire will stop at nothing to keep her daughter safe --- but then again, neither will her other mother, a woman who has lost years of her life to Abigail's creation and is ready to get back what she feels she deserves.

Alternating timelines and voices, Peikoff guides us through not only the procedure of Abigail's conception, but also the resulting media explosion, Claire's grief, Abigail's confusion and, of course, Jillian's fury. The scientific explanations are riveting and just believable enough, but never get bogged down in academic jargon, making for a fun but poignant exploration of the science of birth and genetics. Peikoff keeps her pacing tight and guides readers through the book at a breakneck speed --- all while debating such serious and controversial ideas as nature vs. nurture, the rights of humans to procreate, and how we can ensure that our children will be healthy without delving too far into the uncanny valley.

MOTHER KNOWS BEST is a fast-paced, intriguing novel with terrific, believable characters. Though it may be light on the science at times, it is never light on the suspense and will make for an enjoyable evening or two for readers of all genres --- especially during spooky season.
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When Claire Abrams buries her eight year old son after he dies of a genetic mitochondrial disease, she vows not to have any more children so she cannot pass on the genetic mutation. That is until she hears of Dr Robert Nash whose pioneering work in genetics means he has found a way to create a baby with three genetic parents - meaning that genetic mutations can be eliminated. 

With the assistance of Dr Nash and his partner, Dr Jillian Hendricks, Claire is able to conceive a healthy baby. But the science isn't exactly legal, and when word leaks out, Claire and Robert must go into hiding to protect the child they've created, leaving Jillian behind to face the full force of the law. 

But ten years have passed, and Jillian is back. And she is determined to make Robert and Claire pay. Jillian wants the man and child who should have been hers, and she will stop at nothing to get them back...
Th story is told from multiple POVs, which I am always a fan of as it gives a more complete and nuanced perspective. I wasn't the hugest fan of Jillian's character as I felt she was a little too over-the-top villain for me, almost a caricature. That having been said, it was a unique premise, and I enjoyed the way the storyline unravelled. 

I could have done without Claire's son's ghost, and there were definitely moments where you had to suspend your disbelief as a reader, but I think the author did a good job of ratcheting up the tension. 

Thank you to NetGalley, who provided me with a free ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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This book was fast paced. Hard to put down. It flowed well and it was very well written. It caught hold of me and had me hooked from the start . I was literally on the edge of my seat reading this book.
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Nothing special. THe premise was definitely interesting but the ending left much to be said. It really fell flat to me but the build up was spectacular., The changing points of view really kept the pace moving.
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Eleven-year-old Abigail has a semi-normal life, except that her parents (especially her mom) are reclusive, she has absolutely no extended family, and she's not allowed to have a smartphone or social media like her friends. She discovers through a DNA mapping site that she actually has a lot of distant relatives and even tries connecting with one, which she thinks will make her parents happy. It has the opposite effect. This sends her mom into an emotional tailspin, and before long, her life begins to unravel. Then she finds out that her parents are not who they claim to be, everything they've been hiding from is revealed, and it turns out that the danger is very real.

I had my ups and downs with this book, and wasn't sure what to rate it, even while writing this review. The writing was clear and concise, and even the science presented in the book wasn't difficult to follow. There were some specific moments in the last third of the book that I anticipated and enjoyed when they came to fruition. And there were a few small twists that I wasn't fully expecting. Outside of that, though, the book was a bit of a miss for me.

I think a lot of what didn't work for me about this book was personal preference, so keep that in mind as I continue. For starters, the book is told in 1st person, present-tense, which I thought was a strange choice, considering the POV changes, and that during the first half of the book, more than half of the story was showing what led up to the present time where the books starts. We see the story from 3 perspectives: Abigail, her mom Claire, and the antagonist Jillian, the threat from the past. The two time periods shown in the book are "present" time--Abigail is 11 and living with her mom and dad-- and the past--the year or so before Abigail was born, right up until the point that she was born. It would have made a lot more sense to me if the book was at least past-tense during the past parts. And I don't understand the reasoning behind 1st person if you want to head-hop as much as this book does. The only good thing I can say about it is that at least each time the perspective changes, it's clearly labeled. But there were still times that, even with this, I would forget who the current "I" was and get confused.

My biggest disappointment was that I was unable to connect with any of the characters. I'm definitely a character reader and writer. An interesting, well-executed plot is important, but I am character-driven. I think the main character was meant to be Claire, but the story was told from Abigail's perspective about as often, and I just couldn't get into the right frame of mind to see things even a little bit from her perspective. Her single biggest driving point is the loss of her first son, due to a terrible genetic disorder, and her strong desire to have another child that is healthy, but her inability to do so, because of her genes. I have never experienced loss to this degree, and I'm not a terribly sentimental person, so I don't think I would react remotely the same way as her if I did. Don't get me wrong--I have 2 kids and I love them and would be devastated if either of them died! And perhaps I'd then discover that I would be the same as her. But in my current life, it's difficult for me to connect with her reaction to her loss, and the fact that it drives literally everything she does.

Abigail's parts were generally my least favorite. For one thing, she didn't come across as 11, but closer to 13 or more. Especially for someone who has been as sheltered as she has, she seems to understand and question a lot more than I'd expect. I get why she was written to be as curious and deceptive as she was, and without it, there would basically be no story, but again, my personal preference here, I didn't like how she acted.

The antagonist is basically a big loon. I mean, Claire has some mental issues, but hers are understandable and addressed. Jillian is just delusional and psychotic, and I don't know if that was on purpose, or if that was just how she had to come across in order to give the story suspense. Whichever the case, by the end, I just rolled my eyes at how stupid she had been.

I don’t regret having read this book. It wasn’t terrible, it just didn’t hook me. Also, it is meant to be suspenseful, but I think that element is terribly done. The synopsis on Amazon, Goodreads, etc. gives away too much and I think the plot should have been structured differently to create more suspense. Too much of the backstory is told too soon, and the entire thing is just too predictable. I would recommend this book for those who enjoy drama and obsessive characters, but not for lovers of suspense novels.
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“If it’s selfish and reckless to sacrifice everything for the sake of my child’s health, then maybe I am unfit to be a mother.”
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What would you do to ensure your child’s health?
When Claire passed on a genetic mutation that kills her little boy her life becomes a nightmare. Now she wants a second chance at motherhood but with no risks involved.
Robert a fertility doctor along with Jill, his apprentice, want to help Claire, they create the world’s first baby with three genetic parents.
When word about the illegal experiment leaks, Robert and Claire escape leaving Jillian to serve prison.
Mother Knows Best it’s an exciting psychological thriller with a very original plot, a page-turner and fast-paced story that kept me engaged until the end.
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Thank you @netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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“No desire compares to the primal need to know of a new life inside you; to want to bear witness to every moment of its existence.”
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“I feel like I’m on the edge of a mountain, waiting for the ground to fall out from under me.”
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“It’s a good thing nature won’t allow women to give up, because otherwise no one would be born.”
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From cover to cover the suspense thriller real have you at the edge of your seats! Do you not miss this it is quite the page turner. Read it by yourself or with your best friend either way you will love it
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Ohhhhhhhh THIS BOOK! LOVED IT. wow. What a story. A fantastic thriller that captures you from the get go and keeps you caught in its grasp until the very end whilst tackling a controversial and contemporary issue. Congratulations to Keira Peikoff on a GEM.
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This story would make an excellent book club read as it deals with a very controversial topic, that of genetically engineering a child with DNA from three parents to avoid a deadly genetic mutation. This has actually occurred in real life - the first time in Mexico in 2016 and more recently in 2019. The child is given mitochondrial DNA from another woman to prevent the inheritance of the fatal disease. This only represents 37 genes out of tens of thousands and I suppose this is considered somewhat mitigating.

The story itself is a page turning mystery/psychological thriller that hooks the reader from the very start. Extremely thought-provoking and worthy of great discussion.
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4 out of 5 stars 

Thank you to Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Claire and her husband Ethan are still devastated over the loss of their son Colton  from a condition caused by Claire's mitochondrial  DNA. Though they have tried to heal from it they are not doing well. Ethan wants another child but Claire is afraid of giving birth to another child destined to die at a young age.. Even though Claire knows it is unfair she is afraid that she could not love a child that is not hers by blood as much. Then one day while on her support board Mito Moms someone mentioned something that makes Claire change her mind as she comes up with a plan to have a biological child after all.  She decides to go to Robert Nash a Doctor working on creating a child with DNA from 3 people.  She gives birth to a miraculous daughter named Abby.

This is  a very well written psychological/medical thriller. It is a quick, easy read and goes along fairly predictable for awhile and then all of the sudden things get INSANE and I mean that in a good way!
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After the death of her eight-year-old son who died of a mitochondrial disease, Claire Adams vows never to have another child--until she learns Dr. Robert Nash is experimenting with the possibility of eliminating genetic diseases by utilizing a controversial procedure that involves genetically modifying an embryo. The result is a baby with three genetic parents. When the experiment goes awry, lives are destroyed. Ten years later, someone from Claire's past returns seeking revenge, forcing Claire to confront secrets she buried years ago.

I rather enjoyed the premise of this one. I found it original, intriguing, and exciting. The author is able to explain complicated scientific procedures in layman's terms, which made the read that much more enjoyable. Unfortunately, as the novel progressed, the scientific implications of this three-parent procedure are pushed aside to make way for a rather common thriller. It's still an entertaining read, but it no longer focuses on the science, which is what made this such a unique and compelling story.

The ending is a bit rushed and wraps up quickly. The final twists are easily foreseen by an experienced thriller reader, but the unruly behavior by just about every character in this novel makes for a spectacularly entertaining read.

In exchange for an honest review, I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.
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