Friday, June 28, 2024

Book Review: The Mother

By Sara Steven

Sarah Westfield is unhappily married to perfect husband Nick. Handsome, devoted and kind, he should be the ideal man for her, but Sarah knows their marriage is the biggest mistake she’s ever made…and she wants out.

But then Nick offers her one last chance to make their marriage work – a baby.

Sarah is horrified – a baby would tie herself to this man forever…wouldn’t it? Or could it be exactly what she needs?

So Sarah agrees.

A terrible mother?

When the baby arrives, Sarah struggles with motherhood and her resentment towards Nick only grows. Sarah feels more trapped than ever, but she loves her precious daughter...doesn’t she?

And then baby Kaya goes missing...

And everything Sarah has ever believed in comes crashing down around her… (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

I’ve read two other books by Valerie Keogh and enjoyed them immensely, so I’d anticipated another great psychological thriller experience while reading The Mother. I can honestly say that what I imagined I’d get is exactly what I bargained for. The best thrillers leave the reader unsure of who the true culprit is, and for most of the book I really wasn’t sure. The majority of the characters wonder if Sarah had something to do with Kaya’s disappearance. It made me question that theory, too. Given how unhappy Sarah is with Nick and how trapped she feels, maybe she planned it all along, in an effort to rid herself of the thrust-upon family she never truly felt ready for. 

And then there’s Nick. He seemed too perfect and too attentive, especially after the distance Sarah tries to put between them. But when Kaya goes missing, he is the most distraught, while Sarah doesn’t display much emotion at all. Is she keeping it together for Nick, or is Nick putting on a show for the authorities, in an effort to downplay his potential involvement? Lastly, Sarah’s best friend Jade has a sudden change of heart towards the whole scenario, which made me question whether she might have had something to do with it. She’s spent years as Sarah’s confidante, listening to Sarah complain about the relationship she’s been stuck in. Maybe she decided it was time to stir up some chaos in order to change the status quo. 

Step by step, it was tough to decipher what the true motives were and what really happened to baby Kaya, until it is eventually revealed by way of hidden secrets and a ton of lies. Two detectives fight like mad to get to the bottom of things, with the revelation reaching a tight crescendo into possible destruction. But who can the detectives trust? And will it be too late? The unknown kept me guessing and kept me reading–I literally read The Mother in nearly two days because I couldn’t put it down. I had to know what happened to baby Kaya, and whodunnit in general. It was a slow burn psychological ride with plenty of twists to keep thrill seekers like me on the hook!

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Valerie Keogh is the internationally bestselling author of several psychological thrillers and crime series, most recently published by Bloodhound. She originally comes from Dublin but now livesin Wiltshire and worked as a nurse for many years. Her first thriller for Boldwood will be published in August 2022.

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