Cover Image: Mother Knows Best

Mother Knows Best

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
“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.”
-
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.
-
Thank you @netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
-
“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.”
-
“I feel like I’m on the edge of a mountain, waiting for the ground to fall out from under me.”
-
“It’s a good thing nature won’t allow women to give up, because otherwise no one would be born.”
Was this review helpful?
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
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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!
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you Netgalley for sending me this arc. I will be reviewing this book in the near future with an honest rating and review.
Was this review helpful?
2.5 stars, I think! I find this book a bit hard to rate and I am finding it even more difficult to pin down my thoughts on it. 

I feel that quite a lot of the story is given away in the plot summary, I went into it knowing so much of what was already going to happen before it happened! I absolutely don’t hold this against the author or the book itself! 

So many of the characters are unsettling, I think the author did a great job of writing their actions that aligned so well with their motivations. Often times, such wicked ones. I struggle with unlikable characters as well as murky morals, but I know many people enjoy that in their thrillers! 

Thanks so much for a copy of this book!
Was this review helpful?
Aah, it’s been a while since I’ve let myself indulge in a family thriller, especially one with such modern twists and turns! I was first attracted to Peikoff’s novel by the idea of triple shared parenthood, of how modern technological advance may wreak havoc with our rather gentle and fragile emotions. And Peikoff did not disappoint. Thank you to Crooked Lane Books, Meryl L. Moss Media Relations and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Modern technology is rapidly advancing. Yes, that is a very trite message but it remains true. We’re quickly finding answers to questions we didn’t dare ask before and it means that our idea of who we are, and what our relationships to each other mean, is also changing. What I really appreciated about Mother Knows Best is that the horror of the story is enver, truly, related to the science itself. There are no botched operations, suffering test objects or other clinical horrors. Instead, the thrills come from human behavior and human responses to technology and science. In that sense, Mother Knows Best follows in the footsteps of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Science is what it is. It is how we as humans respond, how we think of ourselves and what we do, that can become horrible as a consequence. Peikoff doesn’t go as far in this direction as I would’ve liked, but I think it was the right direction to steer this novel in. I do want to note that the dismissal of adoption and the hammering on about how there can only be one mother was a bit unnecessary in my eyes.

Mother Knows Best’ story is told by different narrators, all female. There is Claire, a mother desperate to have a healthy baby of her own and willing to go as far as it takes to make it happen. There is Jillian, the femme fatale of the novel. My only gripe, really, with Mother Knows Best is her characterization as the attractive and cunning ‘young scientist’ who, of course, sees seduction as the main way to achieve her goals. She is very much a trope, a character we recognize from page one, and Peikoff only very rarely shows us a deeper side to her. The final narrator is Abby, the daughter, who doesn’t know why her life is as weird as it is, but has inherited her parents’ desire for answers. Alongside these three women we have Robert Nash, our main scientist, and Ethan Abrams, our overly ethical father. It’s an interesting cast with many interlinking connections.

I hadn’t read anything by Keira Peikoff before so this was my first introduction to her. I found her crafting of the little details very interesting and she managed to make pretty complicated science sound straightforward. I’d actually have liked it if she’d gone into the nitty-gritty of it a little bit more, adding to the complexity and danger of her plot. As with many thrillers, especially ones that centre around family tragedy, the ending of Mother Knows Best is not as hard-hitting as you’d hope for. I saw another reviewer, OutlawPoet, note that while they found the book interesting it wasn’t necessarily exciting and this has stuck with me. I’m intrigued by most of Peikoff’s plot, don’t get me wrong. There are twists and turns aplenty but there is no true moment of ‘heart plummeting to your feet’ dread and the twists become rather outlandish and dramatic towards the end. It means that Mother Knows Best was a fun reading experience, but not one that left me particularly inspired.

Mother Knows Best is an interesting read that will fly by. It is also slightly predictable, aside from its fascinating premise. I'd definitely recommend it for those looking for something slightly different.
Was this review helpful?
This was not what I expected when I first read an excerpt at BookishFirst. 

I have been on a thriller streak lately, so I was excited to read this book based on the first few chapters.  The book is about a woman named Claire, her daughter Abby and a woman named Jillian. 

Claire is a reporter and author and has lost her only child, Colton, to a genetic disease.  Claire and her husband Ethan's marriage is strained and Ethan convinces Claire to try for another baby. They meet up with a renowned fertility expert, Dr. Nash and his assistant Jillian.  Claire has heard through an online support group that Dr. Nash has been secretly isolating the diseased genes and transplanting eggs into a healthy mitochondrial sac, thereby helping parents who are carriers for a genetic disorder have a healthy baby.  The technology is not yet tested on humans, as the altering of human genes is illegal. 

Claire secretly goes behind Ethan's back and convinces Dr. Nash to allow her to be a test subject.  When Claire gets pregnant, and Ethan finds out the truth, that Claire and Jillian both contributed to the baby Claire is carrying, he is angry and kicks her out.   Claire is on her own.

This book goes back and forward in time, through the time of the pregnancy and IVF treatments and to the present, with Claire raising her daughter Abby.  This has romance, suspense, and some intrigue as well.  I would recommend this book. 

Thanks to #NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
Was this review helpful?
Although this book’s premise is a little out of the box for me, it didn’t matter one bit! It’s so well-written that I was quite intrigued about the fictional scientific aspect of a child having 3 parents. I found this book to be a great thriller overall! 

There are great twists in the end, making this one fast and fun read! 

Thank you to NetGalley, Kira Peikoff and Crooked Lane Books!
Was this review helpful?
This book gave me all the feels. It was not the same old type of story you see in psychological thrillers so I loved that about this. 3 people are genetically the girls parents and only one goes to prison for the illegal science experiment so when she gets out of prison ten years later of course she wants revenge and the daughter that is partially hers. What a wild ride. I definitely recommend. Thanks NetGalley.
Was this review helpful?
Claire lost her son to a genetic disorder. Now her husband wants to try for another child but Claire cannot imagine bringing another child into the world only to have them suffer the same genetic disorder. She finds a potential solution but it means challenging science in a way that is against many people’s thinking, including her husband’s. 

This is a very intriguing story. It is about the potential human impacts to the characters because of the experiment but is more of a psychological thriller and throws in a crazy character who is driven to serve her own interests. I enjoyed the book but felt it left a few items unfinished. The book is an excellent thriller and you will stay up late reading it!
Was this review helpful?
3.0-3.5 Stars

To what lengths would you go to prevent a potentially deadly condition from being passed down to your future child? 

Claire Abrams has experienced the worst kind of loss when her only son Colton died due to a mitochondrial mutation. As mitochondrial DNA is only passed down from mother to child, Claire has to live with the knowledge that she is to blame for her son's short life. When her husband mentions he wants to try getting pregnant again, Claire goes behind his back and continues taking birth control pills...that is until she discovers Dr. Robert Nash. 

Nash is a renowned fertility doctor, known by many for his advanced research into embryonic gene modification. Specifically, he and a trusty, young scientist, Jillian have developed an ex-vivo (outside the uterus) method to creating a baby made from 3 parents. The third "parent" only giving mitochondrial DNA, thereby removing the risk of Claire passing down the genes that ultimately killed Colton. Little did Claire know, the baby Dr. Nash implanted inside of her has the mitochondrial DNA from his lab assistant, Jillian. 
Overall, I think Kira Peikoff wrote a compelling psychological thriller. She deftly weaves the past with present day (10 years after the birth of Abby, the "lab baby"), giving just enough information to keep the story moving. She made me consider in what circumstances "playing God" may be justified, if given the opportunity. However, without giving anything away, I think Abby is the reason why my rating isn't 4 stars. For being only 10 years old, her ability to uncover and understand complex DNA sequencing is a bit....unrealistic.

Thank you NetGalley and Penguin Random House for the ARC of this book!
Was this review helpful?
This book started off really strong and was well on its way to getting a 4 or 5 star rating from me. But from the halfway point onward it went downhill pretty quickly and never got better. I think that this had a really interesting premise and I greatly enjoyed the general plot but I found the mental health representation in this to be very poorly done and that left a bad taste in my mouth about the book as a whole. Also the synopsis basically gives the entire plot, there really weren't any big twists so while this was a bit suspenseful at times, it doesn't feel like a thriller to me.
Was this review helpful?
You're desperate for a child after your son dies due to a genetic defect in mitochondrial DNA. What lengths would you go through and what would you endure to get a healthy baby? Claire is willing to do anything...

Claire finally talks her husband, Ethan, into IVF under the treatment of Dr. Robert Nash, a fertility specialist with one of the highest success rates. She, however, doesn't tell her husband about the secret agreement she enters into with Nash and his assistant and lover, Dr. Jillian Hendricks. The upshot: they obtain an egg from Claire, use Jillian's mitochondria along with the healthy nucleus from Claire, and fertilize it, reimplant it, and VOILA.  Claire gets pregnant. The only problem is that genetic engineering is illegal and is banned in the USA. When Claire tells Ethan about having the procedure, he reports Nash and Hendricks, kicks Claire out, and she goes on the run -- to Nash. Eleven years later, Claire, Nash and the child, Abby, are living under false names. Guess who shows up to reclaim the daughter she feels is partly hers -- yes, Jillian. NO SPOILERS.

The science is real and written to be easily understood but believe me when I say that you will have to suspend a lot of disbelief with regard to the domestic drama in this book. It was a very fast read and a medical thriller is one of my favorite types of novels. My issue was that I didn't really care for the narrative style using 3 points of view. I also found the characters really hard to like and root for. In fact, I really didn't want the totally predicable ending I got, but c'est la vie. The stereotypical portrayal of good and evil is just too pat and the behavior exhibited by all of these unlikeable people put me off. As far as the topic of whether or not genetic manipulation is moral or ethical, I'll leave you to make your own conclusions. This subject would make for a lively book group discussion. 

I've read all of this author's books because I like the genre and the science part but I've always come away with a disappointed feeling that I can't help but think is due to the wrap up and the way that I'm never sure that the characters got what they deserved. The crazy part of me always sort of roots for the one who is portrayed as not have any redeeming qualities when, in fact, there are usually some mitigating circumstances (or people) that conspired to bring them to that point. So, yes, I do think one of them got very short shrift. But, it's not my book and I'll leave that there.

Will I read another by this author? Yes. I can separate myself from some of the plot points and enjoy the science and I do love delving into those moral and ethical quandaries and questions.

Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for this e-book ARC to read and review. I can't wait to read more reviews and reactions to this novel.
Was this review helpful?
This was a very entertaining thriller! I found the end to be a little unrealistic and too neat, so enjoyed the first 2/3 much better. Still a fun page turner.
Was this review helpful?