Title: The Mothers
Author: Sarah J. Naughton
Publication Date: 9th January 2020 (eBook only – Paperback follows in April 2020)
About the book:
They meet at their NCT Group. The only thing they have in common is they’re all pregnant.
Three years later, they are all good friends. Aren’t they?
One Missing Husband.
Now the police have come knocking. Someone knows something.
And the trouble with secrets is that someone always tells.For fans of Big Little Lies, The Rumour and I Invited Her In, this is first class psychological suspense from the critically acclaimed Sarah J Naughton.
What I Thought:
Five very different women all attended the same NCT Group during their pregnancies. Despite that being the only thing they had in common over the years they carry on meeting regularly until the morning after one of their usual meetups Bella wakes up to find her husband missing.
The Mothers is told from multiple points of view, with each of the five women in The Mothers Club getting their own chapters, alongside chapters from the point of view of Iona, the Detective Inspector investigating the disappearance and a number of throwback chapters detailing some of The Mothers Club meetups over the years. While each chapter is headed with the name of the character whose viewpoint we’re following and the timeframe the chapter covers ensuring each viewpoint change was clear the book still felt confused to me.
Much of the early part of the story is told from the point of view of the detective, with flashbacks to The Mothers Club meetings over the years. I had really mixed feelings about these chapters, I love a police procedural, and if you’re a regular visitor to SWB you’ll know that to be the case but The Mothers doesn’t fully embrace this genre. If I’m honest I didn’t really understand the relevance of a lot of the Iona’s chapters. It felt to me that an unusual amount of her chapters were spent with her being concerned about how Maya saw her, or if Maya was sleeping with her Detective Sergeant. I kept expecting something about Maya to become crucial to the plot but it never does, instead I was left thinking that so much emphasis was put on Iona’s sexuality to show how diverse the author could be. It all just felt a little forced and given too much focus given the lack of any relevance to the main plot. Perhaps it’s the sort of sub-plot that works better in a series where I’ve developed a bit of a connection to a central character and care about them, in this case I just wanted to get on with discovering what had happened to the husband.
The second half of the book transitions into what feels more like a character driven psychological thriller with chapters from the point of view of each of the mothers revealing more and more of the plot along the way. I felt like in this second half of the book it began to show its strengths. The chapters written from the mothers’ points of view certainly felt more intriguing as more of the plot was revealed, the tension slowly building. The very last chapter in particular was an interesting reveal and I was pleased to see my suspicions were proven correct. What let it down for me was the fact I just didn’t really like any of the characters, none of them really came across in any sort of positive way to me. Additionally the more I discovered about Ewan the less I really cared about what had happened to him.
I won’t lie, I was disappointed by this one. I really wanted to love it, I included it in my Most Anticipated Adult Reads Of 2020 post but it just didn’t quite hit the right notes for me. I felt it was a little confused about what it wanted to be: a police procedural style crime novel or a character driven psychological thriller. For me it never hit the highs of either style of book, and crucially at the areas where it leaned more towards the latter I just didn’t like the characters enough to really care…
Sarah J. Naughton on Goodreads
More Sarah J. Naughton on SWB
About The Author
Sarah worked as an advertising copywriter for ten years before her first book was published in 2013. A supernatural thriller for teens, The Hanged Man Rises was shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards. A second thriller for teens, The Blood List came out the following year, after which Sarah moved onto psychological thrillers for adults. Tattletale was followed by Amazon bestseller, The Other Couple, and The Mothers is due out in 2020. She also writes ghost stories.
Sarah lives in London with her husband and two sons.
Connect With Sarah
Website // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram
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