Tag: Sally Hepworth

Release Day Review: The Mother-In-Law


Author: Sally Hepworth
Published: TODAY, April 23, 2019
352 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: April 11-20, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Someone once told me that you have two families in your life – the one you are born into and the one you choose. Yes, you may get to choose your partner, but you don’t choose your mother-in-law. The cackling mercenaries of fate determine it all.

From the moment Lucy met Diana, she was kept at arm’s length. Diana is exquisitely polite, but Lucy knows, even after marrying Oliver, that they’ll never have the closeness she’d been hoping for.

But who could fault Diana? She was a pillar of the community, an advocate for social justice, the matriarch of a loving family. Lucy had wanted so much to please her new mother-in-law.

That was ten years ago. Now, Diana has been found dead, leaving a suicide note. But the autopsy reveals evidence of suffocation. And everyone in the family is hiding something…

Jessica’s Review:

We are pulled into this novel of mystery from the first line as we know something has happened: I am folding laundry at my dining room table when the police car pulls up.

The Mother-In-Law does have the mystery of what happened to Diana, but it is more of a women’s contemporary fiction book.  If you are looking for a psychological thriller, this is not it.

Both Diana and Lucy are our narrators and they go between the present and the past over a 10 year time period.  Diana and Lucy never really had a chance to get to know and like each other.  Their personalities just did not mesh. Diana is very guarded with ‘high walls’ that take effort to break down, and with good reasons. I actually liked Diana more than Lucy, as I understood Diana.

This book was a page turner with short chapters.  As the novel progresses, it really began moving and the chapters became even shorter.  The last quarter of the book really moves fast and I stayed up late to finish it.  I had made my decision as to who the guilty party was but I was wrong! Everyone has their secrets in this novel and finding out all these secrets is part of the pull of the novel. 

I am fortunate to get along with my mother-in-law, but not everyone has that. Do you get along with your mother-in-law?   If you don’t would you want to kill yours?  Did Lucy kill Diana? Did Diana kill herself or was it something else entirely?

The Mother-In-Law is recommended. I received a copy of The Mother-In-Law from St. Martin’s Press via a Goodreads giveaway. 

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

The Family Next Door

Author: Sally Hepworth
Published: March 6, 2018
252 pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: February 25- March 6, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

A gripping domestic page-turner full of shocking reveals, perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty, Amanda Prowse and Kerry Fisher.

The small suburb of Pleasant Court lives up to its name. It’s the kind of place where everyone knows their neighbours, and children play in the street.

Isabelle Heatherington doesn’t fit into this picture of family paradise. Husbandless and childless, she soon catches the attention of three Pleasant Court mothers.

But Ange, Fran and Essie have their own secrets to hide. Like the reason behind Ange’s compulsion to control every aspect of her life. Or why Fran won’t let her sweet, gentle husband near her new baby. Or why, three years ago, Essie took her daughter to the park – and returned home without her.

As their obsession with their new neighbour grows, the secrets of these three women begin to spread – and they’ll soon find out that when you look at something too closely, you see things you never wanted to see.

Jessica’s Review:

If you enjoy novels with multiple points of view and short chapters, then The Family Next Door is for you!  We have five points of view from Ange, Fran, Essie, Barbara, and their mysterious new neighbor Isabelle.  Through them, we get to know the people of Pleasant Court… and their many secrets and betrayals.

Family  begins with Essie leaving her newborn in the park alone.  Then we fast forward three years. From this beginning you are pulled in and want to know what happens next.  Life is anything but ordinary and boring at Pleasant Court and everyone has secrets and lies.  You don’t know what will come next and you do not want to put it down!  If you liked the show Desperate Housewives then you will really enjoy this novel!

You don’t know what direction the secrets will take you on this journey and you will constantly wonder what is coming next.  The short chapters with alternating points of view keeps you saying, “Just one more chapter!” until it is way past your bedtime! Some of the secrets and realities are outlandish (like Desperate Housewives was) but still make your jaw drop.

Hepworth wrote Family while pregnant and edited it with her newborn, so naturally she was home a lot and found herself wondering what her neighbors were up to.  This is a novel that will leave you wondering who your neighbors really are and what are their secrets! Because you know they have them…. We all do….

The Family Next Door is highly recommended. Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for providing me an arc copy to read and review!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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The Mother’s Promise

Author: Sally Hepworth
Published: February 21, 2017
Paperback Release: January 30, 2018
368 pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: January 17-24, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description from Amazon:

All their lives, Alice Stanhope and her daughter, Zoe, have been a family of two, living quietly in Northern California. Zoe has always struggled with crippling social anxiety and her mother has been her constant and fierce protector. With no family to speak of, and the identity of Zoe’s father shrouded in mystery, their team of two works―until it doesn’t. Until Alice gets sick and needs to fight for her life.

Desperate to find stability for Zoe, Alice reaches out to two women who are practically strangers but who are her only hope: Kate, a nurse, and Sonja, a social worker. As the four of them come together, a chain of events is set into motion and all four of them must confront their sharpest fears and secrets―secrets about abandonment, abuse, estrangement, and the deepest longing for family. Imbued with heart and humor in even the most dismal moments, The Mother’s Promise is an unforgettable novel about the unbreakable bonds between mothers and daughters and the new ways in which families are forged.

Jessica’s Review:

This is quite a novel. Alice and her teenage daughter Zoe have been on their own for Zoe’s entire life: They have no one else.  Alice then gets sick and they need help. Kate and Sonja come into their lives and no one will be the same again.

You get to know all four ladies through the novel.  You feel the social anxiety that cripples Zoe; you want her to overcome and succeed. You experience everything Alice does with her journey as well as her thoughts and fears; you want her to defy the odds and survive.  You feel the heartache that Kate has gone through multiple times. You want Sonja to get out of the situation she is in.  And when you find out how all of their lives are connected you can’t help but be shocked.

The chapters are short, which make it a quick read and one you don’t want to put down. It goes in an unexpected direction and has a satisfying ending.  Without giving spoilers, I felt the author could have gone in a different direction, but that would have extended the novel exponentially. This direction would have been perfect for the suspense reader in me. I would have loved that route, but the author took the best route for her as this is an emotional roller coaster of women’s fiction.  There is an satisfying ending, but I wanted more.

We see several ways that someone can be alone, whether they are physically alone or not.  Each woman’s story shows the varying ways that one can be alone.  It is a touching novel that will have you emotional and possibly in tears.  You see the bond mothers and daughters have.

The Mother’s Promise is Recommended.

Special thanks to St Martin’s Press for sending me a copy in anticipation of the paperback release, which comes out tomorrow. It was a pleasure to read!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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