Cover Image: Mother Knows Best

Mother Knows Best

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I received my copy of 'Mother Knows Best' as an ebook ARC copy via NetGalley and the publisher.

Well, I'll start off by saying I didn't really think I was going to like this very much when I first started reading it yesterday, but here we are. I finished it, it's done, and I'll be honest, it wasn't what I was expecting.

This was a great modern twist on a psychological thriller. I think this could have been written with a little more suspense, but I realize that that really wasn't the point of the story. This story challenges you to think outside the box a little bit and to really explore your moral beliefs when it comes to science and all the amazing things it can do.

I don't want to give too much away, so I'll stop right here. 
Thanks again to NetGalley and the Publisher, this was a refreshing (and crazy) read!
Was this review helpful?
4.5 stars!

I was extremely excited to receive this ARC, given the rave reviews I had read earlier, and I'm glad to say; THE HYPE IS WELL DESERVED!

This was a fascinating, well thought out slow burning thriller. I loved the attention to detail the author showed, and how she explained complex phenomena in simple terms. 

While I'm proud to say I guessed the major plot twist of the book, it did not tone down my enthusiasm in the least. It was an absolute pleasure to read, and I can't wait for even more of the author's work!
Was this review helpful?
After the death of their son Colton, Claire's husband Ethan wants to be a father again. Claire is terrified that she will pass the same genetic mutation that killed Colton onto another baby. Claire discovers Dr. Robert Nash and his assistant Jillian, fertility specialists who has identified a way to manipulate the genetic material using hybrid eggs from two women. Although the process has never been tested on humans; the tree of them secretly work together to create the first genetically altered baby with three parents. When Ethan discovers what happened, he reports their illegal activity resulting in Robert fleeing with a now pregnant Claire and leaving Jillian to take the fall. Ten years later Jillian is out of prison and she will stop at nothing to get back the man and child that should have been hers.

Mother Knows Best is a mystery/thriller told from alternate POV's and transitioning from before Abby to after Abby, the genetically altered daughter of Claire and Jillian. From Abby's perspective we see a girl who believes her parents are overly protective and a mother who appears to have some mental health issues. The story unfolds quickly as Abby is contacted via a DNA mapping site by a “relative” after completing a DNA project she did for school. As Abby’s desire to find a relative clashes with Claire’s mental unhinging results in mass chaos for everyone. The story is somewhat predictable but it does have a few twists and turns along the way. The storyline is entertaining which makes this a quick easy read, prefect for curling up with over a relaxing weekend.
Was this review helpful?
REVIEW

It was the cover of the book that originally caught my attention, the long red-haired plait, coupled with the title “Mother Knows Best” just made me curious. Then I read the blurb which had me even more curious! The genre is a bit different to my usual ones that I read but something about this book just held my attention.

The book begins by introducing Abby with her cool, glacier ice eyes, freckled nose and shiny red hair. The redness of Abby’s hair upsets her mother Claire, even more so since a stranger once made an offhand comment of, Are you sure she is your daughter? Since then it has obviously played on Claire’s mind. Then Claire goes on to describe their annual trip to the Natural History Museum. They go every year as a way to remember Colton, who was Claire’s son who sadly died due to a hereditary genetic condition. To be honest Claire has never really gotten over the loss of her son Colton, who would have been twenty one. They don’t go on outings to busy or crowded places normally, as Abby’s parents, Claire and Michael have a secret that they don’t want any one to discover. If found out it could mean prison for Claire and Michael, then who would care for Abby. Usually Abby isn’t overly excited for the Natural History Museum but this year she can’t seem to get there quick enough. When Abby reminds them of the school project Map DNA and that she has spoken someone online who is related to them via the site, both parents panic.

The book then goes back to the past to tell us the story of how Abby’s birth came about. Originally Claire was married to Colton’s father Ethan, after losing Colton they decide to try for another baby via IVF. Though Ethan disagrees with the genetic research and experiments that Dr Robert Nash does, he eventually gives in to Claire choosing him to help them. Though unbeknownst to Ethan a deal is struck between, Dr Robert Nash, Jillian Hendricks his scientific researcher and mum to be Claire. What the trio decide to do is unheard of, in fact some would say should never be done, no matter what the circumstance. Dr Nash creates a child using the genetics of one father, Ethan and two mothers, Claire and Gillian. Dr Nash and Jillian remove the hereditary part of the gene from which Colton died. Ethan is totally oblivious to the genetic engineering that is happening. Ethan simply thinks that eggs are being tested and the best one is being used in the IVF. Everything seems to be going well with Claire’s pregnancy until, Ethan finds Claire secretly messaging Dr Nash and jumps to the wrong conclusion thinking his wife has been having an affair with him. Which isn’t true as Dr Nash and Jillian Hendricks are in a relationship, though Jillian see’s more of a future in it than the Dr does. Claire ends up telling Ethan the whole truth about the experimental genetic experiment and being in the medical field he reports what has happened. In a panic as she flees from her home, Claire calls Dr Nash to warn him and Jillian but they are arrested. A date for the trial is set and things don’t look good for the scientific geniuses. When Claire becomes ill, once again she calls on Dr Nash and after some squabbling with Jillian he goes to Claire’s aid. Time goes on in the hideaway home that Claire and Dr Nash are in and just as he should return for his court date Claire goes into labour so he stays with her. Leaving Jillian Hendricks to take to the stand in court alone. Jillian is sent to prison, though she vows she will find Claire, Dr Nash and the baby the three of them created.

There comes a point in the book that Michael and Claire have to explain and reveal the details of the experimental genetic procedure to Abby. They had always planned on telling the unique child but perhaps when she was much older herself. Things take a drastic turn for the worse and Abby ends up reaching and receiving help from an unlikely source.

Jillian is the “evil genius” character in the book that I guess you could say causes all the trouble and strife. It is her scientific ambition and the way she urges on Dr Nash that is a decisive factor within the genetic engineering done. Then you also kind of feel sorry for her, she loves Dr Nash and though she agrees he should go help Claire, she truly trusts he will return to her and they will continue with their relationship until the trial. Jillian expects them to stand united in court, to end up being lauded as the first geniuses to come up with the techniques of ruling out hereditary conditions. Jillian is even expecting Dr Nash to come rushing into the court to rescue her at the last minute, but instead he stays hidden away with Claire and their genetically engineered baby. Jillian see’s Claire as having everything. In her mind Claire has taken both her man and their baby! I think Claire and Jillian were both desperate, and slightly flawed by life characters. In other circumstances they perhaps could even have been friends.

As a woman that has lost a child via late term miscarriage, I felt I could to an extent identify with Claire and Ethan’s desperation for another child, yet at the same time being afraid it could all happen again. The way they couldn’t bear thinking about losing another child. Would I have gone as far with all the genetic engineering behind the back of the father, I don’t think so. Though unless you are in that exact position how can you really know? I think perhaps if Claire had been honest with Ethan he may have eventually come around to the idea of the genetic engineering and interference as he looked at it.

The book is revealed with alternating sections of past that covers creating Abby, and the present with Claire and Michael worried as to who this relative is that Abby has contacted, could it be that Jillian is back for revenge? All this makes for a thrilling read and keeps you on the edge of your seat. All the careful secrecy, staying hidden away and it’s a school project that brings their secret out into the open. However just when you think it’s all over, there’s another super twist in the whole genetic engineering experiment revealed, as well as the past and present coming crashing together. This book really kept you guessing right to the end. I had a couple of times I wondered if I would read all way to the end of the book but after the first third of it, I really didn’t want to put it down. It’s also one of those books where you wonder if it’s ever really happened. Is there already an “Abby” out there some-where. The book also had me thinking about any possible side effects or problems the genetically engineered children would or could suffer in their future lives.

My immediate thoughts upon finishing this book were that I found this book to be such an interesting look at genetics and what can happen when someone is so desperate for a healthy child that ethical lines become blurred. I loved the brilliant twist in part four.
A lot of people/characters in the book eventually end up having to rethink their stance on the ethics and practices of genetic engineering. It is extremely easy to judge and make a decision when there are no parental emotions involved. 

So to sum up if you like a thought provoking read, then this one should be on your “to read” list
Was this review helpful?
Bestselling author, Kira Peikoff is a great storyteller with an amazing imagination. Not only does she have a degree in Journalism, but also holds a masters in Bioethics, which makes her perfect to pen edge-of-the-seat medical thrillers. Mother Knows Best is an excellent, nail-biting thriller with building suspense starting in the first chapter and not ending until the dénouement. 

Claire Abrams has a genetic mutation which she passed on to her first child who died when he was eight years old. Claire and her professor husband want another child, but Claire isn’t willing to try because of her genetic mutation. However, Claire meets with Robert Nash, a rogue, but brilliant, doctor who is famous for helping women conceive, and although it’s unprecedented, and illegal, talks him into using his expertise and his assistant, Jillian’s breakthrough experiments and research results to help Claire conceive with part of Claire’s eggs and addition of a mother’s egg that doesn’t have the genetic mutation. The way Peikoff explains it in the book, it makes sense and seems very plausible. The problem is that Claire’s husband finds out and exposes what has happened; Dr. Nash disappears and Jillian is arrested and serves time in prison. Claire and her husband break up, Claire disappears, and she has the baby. The baby grows up with parents that stay out of the limelight so they won’t be discovered, but Jillian is bitter, and tries to ruin Claire’s and her baby’s life.

Peikoff is one of the best medical thriller authors in modern fiction, partly because her writing is excellent and easy-to-follow, and partly because she thinks up bizarre medical scenarios and makes them seem like something that could actually happen. Her previous novels are worth reading, and after reading Mother Knows Best, most readers will want to pick up everything she has written. Highly recommended, this is a great novel.

Special thanks to NetGalley for supplying a review copy of this book.
Was this review helpful?
4 big old stars for Mother Knows Best!
I didn’t do too much digging on this book before I started reading and I’m grateful to past-me for that.
It is written from the perspectives of 3 main female characters, which I loved because I think it’s a great way to really get to know them all personally.
Jillian’s character was executed perfectly, just when you thought she couldn’t be any more manipulative and psychotic- she was!
There were some great twists that kept me reading and reading late in to the night. 
I believe the characters all got the justice that they deserved which is nice for a change!
I also really liked the way the author was able to make the science behind 3-parent babies simple for those of us who aren’t scientifically inclined at all. I didn’t get lost in any of the science talk, it all made sense to me. 
Superb writing.
Was this review helpful?
Mother Knows Best 
⭐️⭐️

One child, one father and two mothers. What? That’s exactly what I thought.
.
.
Claire had a son die at age 8 from a genetic disorder that she carries in her DNA. Ethan, Claire’s husband wants to have another child. But Claire doesn’t want to risk going through the death of a child again. She enlists the help of a fertility doctor named Rob and his assistant Jillian to create an embryo free of this genetic problem. But Jillian wants Rob to love her and will do what she has to to keep him from falling for anyone else. This is where you can tell it’s going to end badly. 
.
.
Well, I won’t say anymore because you can sense what’s going to happen and I don’t want to give it away.  While the story is fiction I can see this sort of thing happening in the future. 
.
For me this book was a very slow read. I kept putting it down and at one point not wanting to finish it. But I pushed through out of curiosity to see if I was right on how it ended. It does flash back and forth between characters and also past and present time. With this being a “psychological” thriller I thought it lacked the thriller aspect. Was hoping for so much more from this book. 
.
I received this digital copy from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I have to say I really enjoyed this book. It's like Rapunzel but with science and a well planned out revenge plot. I have to give Peiloff props for the amount of research she must've put into this book. Every single scientific fact or mention seemed to be carefully thought out and it was easy to follow. Even as a science nerd, I find it hard to understand some scientific terms and ideas and this scientific terms in this book weren't hard to follow at all. As for the plot, I was reluctant to put this book down. The reviews aren't kidding when they say it's a fast read! It's an action packed one too, but well paced enough that you aren't over or underwhelmed. by it all. 

The characters were fleshed out and felt real. I felt for Claire the entire novel. I can't even begin to imagine how hard it is to lose and kid and then get another one only to know someone to know someone wants to take that one away from you. Abby acted like an actual eleven year old (although I have no idea why she has a facebook. What is up with writers thinking that's what we have? No one I know has one). Jillian is honestly a psychopath. I wanted to punch her for trying to mess up everything Claire and Rob had to work for after being thrown out of their previous lives. 

Overall a good book. Would definitely recommend to my thriller/fiction loving friends.
Was this review helpful?
Frankenbabies and Crazies! 

Mother Knows Best is a psychological thriller about a controversial scientific experiment that involves genetically modifying an embryo to eliminate genetic mutations by creating a three-parent baby. 

After burying her 8-year-old son who died of mitochondrial disease, Claire Abrams vows not to have another child. She doesn't want to pass on the disease that killed so many in her family. That is until she hears of Dr. Robert Nash, who is experimenting with the possibility of eliminating genetic illness by creating a baby who has 3 genetic parents. But this experiment spins out of control, destroying a once happy family. Fast forward to 11 years after the experiment--a psychopath is on the loose, and Claire might lose the child she fought so hard to conceive.

Mother Knows Best is a quick and easy read. I found the idea of a genetically modified child with three parents intriguing. When the scientific implications are pushed to the backburner, the novel becomes a generic thriller and loses the extra something that the beginning of the plot provides. It gets a little convoluted, especially towards the end when things get way out of control. Everything wraps up too easily and neatly for my taste. This becomes less about science and more about crazies, which, while entertaining, sacrifices the potential of the premise.

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Claire Abrams lost her son due to a genetic mutation and had a mental breakdown which caused her to believe he was still alive. When she recovered her husband, Ethan desperately wanted to try again and Claire tells him she agrees while secretly taking birth control. He anxiously waits while she takes pregnancy tests monthly and the lie is slowly killing their marriage but she is unwilling to take pass on the mutation and watch another child die and refuses to consider adopting another child. 
While on a chat board she learns of a possible solution and tells Ethan she has reconsidered IVF but only if they can use a specific fertility doctor who works with a brilliant young research assistant named Jillian. 
I won't say much more without spoiling it and I know page turner is way over used but I could not wait to see wait was going to happen next. Jillian reminded me of the character from You who built a whole fantasy life with their love interest who had absolutely no idea they felt that way or had an entirely different view of the relationship. 
I really loved this book and devoured it in an afternoon. One of my favorite books this year. 

Thanks to #netgalley and the publisher for the advance copy in exchange for my opinion.
Was this review helpful?
This was a really good mystery novel, I was on the edge of my seat when reading it, the characters were great and the world built was fascinating and suspenseful.
Was this review helpful?
3.5 stars (rounded up to 4 for Goodreads purposes)

So, this one drew me in with the absolutely mind-boggling blurb. A kid with three genetic parents, two of whom are on the run, who doesn't know about her own unconventional origin story? Genetic modification is such a slippery slope and has fascinated me since I learned what in-vitro fertilization was. So I snatched this from NetGalley (thank you!) and devoured it in two days.

In the end, though, I have mixed reactions. I'll start with what I liked!

The basic concept is fascinating, and that's where the book really shines. Claire (hey it's my name) and Ethan had a child who died at age 8 from mitochondriosis (I think I messed up the name, sorry). They want to have another kid, but Claire is terrified that kid will suffer like her first kid Colton did. They agree to try IVF, but Claire goes behind Ethan's back and gets her doctor, Nash, to do this wild experiment on her. He takes her embryo, combines it with an embryo from his fellow doctor Jillian, as well as sperm from Ethan, then sticks this Frankenegg into Claire. Then she gives birth to a child who doesn't have the genetic disease that Colton did. Bingo, healthy baby, just happens to have three parents. The only problem is that this is highly illegal...and Ethan is staunchly against it. Yikes.

There's a good mix of basic scientific explanation, so the reader understands the basic concept of what's going on, without getting bogged down in the details. As somebody who came from just finishing all 800+ pages of Neil Stephenson's "Seveneves," I was ready for a break from hardcore sci-fi. The concept of how the genetic mods worked in this story was really neat. Basically, the damaged part of the embryo is the outside - the shell, to oversimplify. 

The different perspectives worked really nicely. I think Claire's were the best, especially when they were in the past, chronicling how she got Dr. Nash to do the egg-switch thing. The ones from Abby, her daughter, were pretty childish which worked well because Abby is a fifth-grader. So that seemed accurate. I wasn't really a fan of Jillian's POV, and this is where we get into what I didn't like so much. 

Jillian didn't feel as fleshed-out as the other characters. I think she deserved a LOT more sympathy than what she got. She genuinely just wants to focus on her research. She's on the verge of a breakthrough, and she wants to see it through. This research will then help thousands of moms like Claire. What's wrong with that? In the fourth part of the book, she turns into the villain. I agree that the things she does in that section aren't acceptable. But they also felt out-of-character. I mean, Jillian has every right to be angry. She took the fall for something she wasn't solely responsible for. (That's not a spoiler; it's in the blurb.) I would've liked to see more sympathy for her. It's like, just because Jillian isn't doing it because she desperately wants a child, it's made out to be a bad thing. Whereas Claire, who's doing it because she wants a healthy kid, is the good guy. It's okay to focus on your research instead!

I wasn't a fan of the fourth part of the book. And this is ultimately what gets the book a 3-star rating instead of a 4- or 5-star from me. Honestly, everything wrapped up too neatly. This part is going to have SPOILERS.  The plot twist about Jillian using Nash's sperm is genius, and I was excited that I called it early on. However, having Abby turn out to be Nash and Claire's genetic child is just really convenient. It sends the message that your kid has to be your genetic kid in order to be your real kid. And Colton's look-alike, Charlie, is Ethan and Claire's genetic child...who doesn't end up getting raised by Claire and Nash. I would've liked to see a less cleanly-cut division of genes. What does it mean to raise a kid that DOESN'T have any of your genes? For Nash, how does it feel to raise a kid who comes from three parents...none of whom are him? Of course Abby is happy that the dad who raised her is also her genetic dad, and I'm happy for her that it turned out that way. But it missed the opportunity to explore questions of what it really means to be somebody's dad/daughter. Since that was pretty much the main theme of this book, I was disappointed that everything worked out so neatly in this regard. 

Complaints aside, this was a really fun book to read and it kept me hooked. It's a great thriller and raises some interesting questions, even if I was ultimately disappointed with how some of them were handled. I would recommend it to anybody interested in the blurb!

Content warning: scenes where Claire undergoes IVF, which were pretty freaky to somebody squeamish about medical things! Graphic childbirth (which is probably an oxymoron because that's just how childbirth is, right?). Fair amount of sex. And astonishingly graphic violent bit near the end that  had me clutching my own ear in commiseration... 

*NetGalley provided me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.*
Was this review helpful?
What happens when science and desperation collide, creating a an explosion that completely changes four lives forever? That’s the plot of “Mother Knows Best,” a great suspense-filled story which will keep readers on the edge of their seats. I know I was really invested in the storyline, absolutely hooked and needing to know how it all turned out.

Claire is devastated after the loss of her son, who died from a rare congenital condition she passed to him. Unwilling to go through the heartache of losing a child again and feeling pressure from her husband to try for another child, Claire decides to reach out to a doctor who is developing a near-impossible - and highly illegal - procedure that would allow her to have a healthy child, guaranteed. But things are more complicated than they first appear, and soon Claire finds herself facing the consequences of her decisions.

The novel flashes backward to show Claire’s story as well as that of Claire and her family in the present day, where her daughter has taken a DNA heritage test and discovered a long-lost relative, which sends her reclusive parents into a panic.

The storyline has some great twists and turns which keep you guessing throughout. Some points of the plot is fairly easy to predict, but figuring out the backstory of how it got there and where the heck it’s going to go is part of the fun. I felt I had to keep reading to see what was going to happen. 

 I also really felt for Claire, who never really meant any harm, but makes some decisions that are very controversial and - frankly - stupid. But you can feel her desperation and her longing through the pages, and I found her to be highly sympathetic. I liked her and that was definitely part of why I kept reading. 

The science part of the book wasn’t too hard to follow. I was worried it would be overwhelming and detract from the “thriller” part of the book, but I was very happy to be wrong. The author makes it easy to understand and doesn’t overwhelm you with technical details and hard-to-understand nuances. I was really glad for that.

The ending was really good. It was an appropriate conclusion to a very intense novel and I would highly recommend this book to anyone that likes a good thriller. I will be looking forward to more from this author!
Was this review helpful?
“Mother Knows Best” is a psychological thriller with many twists and turns that kept me intrigued from the first page. Some parts were predictable, but over all it was a mind bending story with an interesting ethical component..... how far is too far to go to ensure your child is healthy?
Was this review helpful?
A mom has a genetic disorder that has caused her son to die at a young age. She decides to use a donor egg (along with her own - don’t ask, this is fiction, okaaayy?) in order to make a “perfect” child. Lots of ethic questions and a bit of a mystery. A really enjoyable book that I devoured on a Saturday afternoon. Thanks to Netgalley for the advanced copy!
Was this review helpful?
Claire has suffered a terrible loss when her son dies from a genetic mutation.  She would do just about anything to have a healthy child that doesn’t carry the mutated gene.  I really enjoyed the story and the writing.  It was a quick and easy read that still managed to touch on topics that are not only frightening but also not that far from reality in our near future, I’m afraid.  The story took enough turns to keep me interested and I did become attached to several of the characters in the process.  I would definitely recommend this book and look forward to reading more from this author in the future!    ***I received an advanced copy of this book in E book format for review.
Was this review helpful?
This psychological thriller is about a controversial and never before performed scientific experiment - genetically modifying an embryo to eliminate genetic mutations by creating a three-parent baby. 

This was a fast paced read. I was able to guess the end about 1/4 of the way through as well, as it was pretty predictable. The story felt pretty far fetched to me, it was pretty hard to believe. 

The daughter was supposed to be 11, but I think it would have helped the believe-ability to have her portrayed as a mid to late teen based on her characters story-line.
Was this review helpful?
Mother Knows Best is a book about a mother who wants a healthy child. The scientific aspect was a little out of my zone, but loved the thriller aspect. Told in short chapters from each character's POV, which I kinda like. Quick read, because you stay so captivated wanting to know how it all ends. Only drawback, I figured out what was going on, so no surprise for me.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for allowing me an ARC for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Mother Knows Best by Kira Peikoff takes a disturbing and complex premise and turns it into a uniquely twisted and addictive psychological and ethical mindbender.

Claire and her husband Ethan have lost their young son to an inherited mitochondrial mutation that had, presumably, been passed to him through Claire's genetic material.  Desperate for another child, but terrified that she will be repeating history, Claire turns to Dr. Robert Nash, a rogue geneticist, and his assistant, Jillian, and the three proceed to create an embryo with material derived from three parents.  The details are scientifically complex, yet the author is able to successfully craft a tale in a way that is both accessible and feasible.  This is a novel that will have you questioning just how far scientific intervention should morally extend into the fields of genetics and reproduction.  This is an interesting read that I would recommend.

Many thanks to NetGalley, Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, and Crooked Lane Books for this ARC.
Was this review helpful?
I sped through this book. It was highly addictive and was such an original concept. I couldn’t wait to see what happened. 

However, I thought the last part of the book was sloppy and the character’s voices were inconsistent. But that didn’t take away too much from the reading experience for me.
Was this review helpful?