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Title: The Mother-in-Law
Author: Sally Hepworth
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publish Date: April 23, 2019
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 4.2
A twisty, compelling new novel about one woman’s complicated relationship with her mother-in-law that ends in death…
From the moment Lucy met her husband’s mother, she knew she wasn’t the wife Diana had envisioned for her perfect son. Exquisitely polite, friendly, and always generous, Diana nonetheless kept Lucy at arm’s length despite her desperate attempts to win her over. And as a pillar in the community, an advocate for female refugees, and a woman happily married for decades, no one had a bad word to say about Diana…except Lucy.
That was five years ago.
Now, Diana is dead, a suicide note found near her body claiming that she longer wanted to live because of the cancer wreaking havoc inside her body.
But the autopsy finds no cancer.
It does find traces of poison, and evidence of suffocation.
Who could possibly want Diana dead? Why was her will changed at the eleventh hour to disinherit both of her children, and their spouses? And what does it mean that Lucy isn’t exactly sad she’s gone?
Fractured relationships and deep family secrets grow more compelling with every page in this twisty, captivating new novel from Sally Hepworth.
Diana, Lucy’s mother-in-law, has died in an apparent suicide. As the police investigate her death, it seems she may have been killed… and everyone in the family is keeping secrets.
Told with alternating points of view, both Lucy and Diana’s stories are told. Lucy and her mother-in-law, Diana, have never been close. While Lucy wishes they could have a better relationship, Diana has always kept her distance. Diana is a woman who believes her adult children should manage their own lives, especially their finances, and not rely on her.
I very much enjoyed getting Diana and Lucy’s viewpoints. It showed miscommunications and misunderstandings, and how there is often more to the story. Diana’s POV shows her background and helps explain why she views things the way she does. Lucy is probably the most likable character in the book, and it was hard for her to have a MIL with a cold and impersonal demeanor. That said, Diana wasn’t intentionally mean, but she did have different priorities than others in her family. Sadly, her family could have used her love and support, and she was not providing that.
I wouldn’t really consider this novel a mystery or thriller. While there is a mystery involving Diana’s death and what happened to her, the majority of the book is family drama. For me, this read as women’s fiction. This is my first Sally Hepworth novel, so I had no idea what to expect. Based on the book blurb, I was expecting something more along the lines of a domestic thriller. It’s an enjoyable novel and I want to read more by Hepworth, but if you’re in the mood for a domestic thriller, look elsewhere.
A compelling read about the complexities of family relationships. Not only MIL/DIL, but other family relationships too. I was drawn into the story, and was curious how things would end.
I received a free eARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.