Monday, September 30, 2019

The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth

3 Star

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...

Kathryn - 3 Star

I am a big fan of Sally Hepworth. It began with The Secrets of Midwives and I've read everything she's written since.  I like that she puts challenges into relationships that seem like they should be fairly simple to solve- but never are.

I enjoyed The Mother in Law simply because I was still doubting my assumptions right until the very end.  Though one could assume certain things is valid, but that didn't take away from the suspense for me. 

Poor Lucy is so desperate for a mother figure and I felt so much empathy for her because Diana is very much surface supportive of the relationship even though she obviously is devoted to Oliver - in a slightly distant sort of way.  The frustrating thing is that in hearing both sides there are missteps and misunderstandings that could likely have been cleared up if Oliver had sat them down or they'd gone to some therapy on how to communicate.  Diana obviously is not an unkind person, she devotes much of her life to helping others.  But she's tough on her daughter as well as Lucy. The mother daughter bond seemed to be fractured for her also.   

Once you get into the history of Diana there is a lot of clarity about her upbringing that helps to show us why she is the way she is but it doesn't help make the end any better, except maybe for the reader! 

On the whole the suspense was there for this book but I did find it more frustrating that their problems could have been solved with a bit more listening- hindsight indeed.  I enjoyed it but it's not my favourite from this author.

Thank you to St Martin's Press for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

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Monday, September 16, 2019

My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

3.5 Star

When Korede's dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what's expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This'll be the third boyfriend Ayoola's dispatched in, quote, self-defence and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away. She should probably go to the police for the good of the menfolk of Nigeria, but she loves her sister and, as they say, family always comes first. Until, that is, Ayoola starts dating the doctor where Korede works as a nurse. Korede's long been in love with him, and isn't prepared to see him wind up with a knife in his back: but to save one would mean sacrificing the other... 

Madison- 3.5 Star

This book catches your eye, with a provocative title and stunning cover art. It is a unique, quirky and quick read. 

Despite the title, this book is not a gripping thriller but rather a character study focusing on issues of family, loyalty and societal expectations of beauty. Braithwaite examines how our society treats those it deems beautiful through the character of the younger sister Ayoola. 
Everything is easier for Ayoola because of her looks, and her life has always been consequence free. 

The difficulty I had with this novel is that the younger sister Ayoola seemed unbelievably obtuse and cruel, and therefore I struggled to picture this character existing in real-life.  I did find the author was successful in demonstrating the complicated bond between family. 

The older sister, Korede was written in such a way that you could deeply feel for her plight, especially if you understand the bond that siblings can have, but at the same time her complacency in her sister’s behaviour is frustrating. It is an intriguing take on codependency and rivalry amongst family. 

Overall, I did enjoy this novel but I would not rave about it.

All opinions are our own.

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