A twisty, compelling novel about one woman’s complicated relationship with her mother-in-law that ends in murder…
From the moment Lucy met her husband’s mother, Diana, she was kept at arm’s length. Diana was exquisitely polite, and properly friendly, but Lucy knew that she was not what Diana envisioned. But who could fault Diana? She was a pillar of the community, an advocate for social justice who helped female refugees assimilate to their new country. Diana was happily married to Tom, and lived in wedded bliss for decades. Lucy wanted so much to please her new mother-in-law.
That was five years ago.
Now, Diana has been found dead, a suicide note near her body. Diana claims that she no longer wanted to live because of a battle with cancer.
But the autopsy finds no cancer.
The autopsy does find traces of poison and suffocation.
Who could possibly want Diana dead?
Why was her will changed at the eleventh hour to disinherit both of her adult children and their spouses?
With Lucy’s secrets getting deeper and her relationship with her mother-in-law growing more complex as the pages turn, this new novel from Sally Hepworth is sure to add to her growing legion of fans.
The Mother In Law starts with a bang – Lucy and Ollie get a knock on the door from the police, to hear Lucy’s mother in law is dead.
Lucy has a very difficult and complicated relationship with her mother in law, and we learn more about the reasons for this as the novel goes on, as we’re taken back to ‘the past’ and back to ‘the present’. I really like the hops between timeframes and the fact they’re so clearly labelled at the start of the chapter, which means it’s not confusing to read.
We also hop between characters’ narratives – starting off with Lucy but also reading Diana’s thoughts. I’m glad it told things from Diana’s side too as it makes her seem much more human, and we see into her thoughts and some of the reasons for the way she acts – though there’s still plenty about her that remains mysterious!
As the book goes on I started to think things had occurred one way, then the other… this kept me guessing as the book definitely has a strong sense of mystery in it, but this is never over-dramatised. It’s a fairly slow burner but I found it fascinating to read about the dynamics between not just Lucy and her mother-in-law, but also her husband, Nettie and Patrick, her other friends and other characters too. In some ways it’s a pyschological thriller but in many ways it’s not – it’s more about the characters with a good helping of tension thrown in, by way of ‘what really happened to Diana?’ It seems like everyone’s a suspect at one point or the other, and this ramps up the suspense, leading to a satisfying conclusion.
I loved delving deeper into the characters and would really recommend The Mother In Law!
Many thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.