June 5, 2019

The Mother-In-Law by Sally Hepworth

St. Martin's Press | April 2019 | 352 pgs
Source: Library

We've all heard enough stories about the complexity relationship between daughter- and mother-in-laws but I've rarely come across a domestic thriller that features on these two characters. I dived into this book with anticipation and had a pleasant surprise as it wasn't what I'd first expected.  

When Lucy first met Diana, she has the impression that Diana isn't a person who's easily warmed up with. She also knew Diana has earned lots of respect from the community for her voluntary works for the women refugees and helping them to find shelters and so forth, and this makes her wonder Diana's cool attitude towards her. Even after getting married to Oliver and have children, Lucy still finds herself keeping at arm's length no matter how hard she tries to get in her good books. 

Their lukewarm relationship continues until one day the police arrives at their house to inform that Diana has been found dead, leaving a suicide note. Diana had only told them about her cancer until later and they didn't think Diana was the suicidal type, after all she and Lucy's father-in-law were so loving to each other. The autopsy later reveals there is no poison running in her blood although they found a bottle of drug near her body, but they did find signs of bruises and evidence of suffocation so the police thinks it may be a homicide case. But who will want to murder Diana? As the story progresses, the reader will soon learn that everyone in the family has something to hide, including Diana herself. 

This story was narrated between Lucy and Diana and in the past and present. I think I enjoyed reading Diana's flashbacks the most as it shows the other interesting side of her. The present timeline was interesting too, but the complicated relationship gets a bit tiresome at some point although it portrays the differences between Lucy and Diana in terms of their thinking and the generation gap (e.g. the interpretation of one's words/actions are often misunderstood by the other and vice versa). I've to admit I didn't like any of the characters here, but it's fine since I was more interested in reading about the family dynamics and finding out who killed Diana and why. I think the author has done a good job in the characterisation department, whether if it's the two lead characters or the other supporting characters. All in all it was an engrossing read, although the ending left me feeling just sad. 


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12 comments:

  1. I'm curious about this one!

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    1. Jenclair - Hope you'll enjoy it if you get to it, Jenclair.

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  2. Ooooh, this sounds intriguing! I'm a fan of psychological thrillers, and even though am getting a bit burnt out on "family drama" types, this will likely make it onto my #TBR list. Thanks for another great review! :)

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    1. J.P. Choquette - It does seems like domestic thriller is the trend now, isn't it? I tend to be picky when it comes to this genre; so many to choose from! Hope you'll enjoy this when you get to it. And thanks for visiting and commenting! :)

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  3. This does sound interesting, though family drama/thrillers aren't always my favorite. Your review does make me curious, though. :)

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    1. Lark - I do love a good domestic thriller. And all the more it'd get my attention if it's more of a case of character study. :)

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  4. Just finished audio (no review yet) and agree about enjoying Diana's story most. I want to try more by this author.

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    1. Diane - I'm intrigued by her writing in this book and will definitely look out for her other books.

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  5. Absolutely, Melody--your blog is one of my new favorites, so I'll be back soon to read more. :)

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    1. J.P. Choquette - Thank you again! :)

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  6. These types are among the only types of books in which I really don't have to like the characters. This sounds like one I would really like. Thank you for your great review.

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    1. Wendy - I'll be curious of your thoughts if you do read it, Wendy.

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