The Mother-in-Law

The Mother-in-Law

By: Sally Hepworth

The Deets:

347 pages

Thriller/Murder Mystery

Published: January 29th, 2019

Review: 291205291205291205unknown-e1529329215790.png

From the Cover:

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.


Ok. Time for some honesty here. I read this book approximately 3 months ago and am just now getting around to writing a review. A lot has happened since I’ve read this book (I got engaged (!!), got accepted to medical school (!!), and now coronavirus is wreaking havoc on the world). I guess you can say 2020 is off to a cracking start. But back to the book…

This is the best book if you’re looking for a distraction. It will suck you in and the whodunnit mystery is enough to keep even the seasoned thriller readers guessing. It kept me company on a transatlantic flight and I was able to finish it in one sitting.

I liked how there were two points of view (the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law) to guide the plot. Unlike many of the fictional stories out there describing harrowing mother-in-law relationships, this one is just different. Lucy (the DIL) wants so desperately to earn the respect and love of Diana (the MIL), but no amount of effort or time helps her cause. There are many players involved in the story and it’s easy to choose sides; just be careful which side you choose because motives are not always what they seem.

I thought the character development was superb and none of the characters were boring or one-dimensional. Just take the matriarch Diana for example. On the one hand she is the wealthy altruist who works incredibly hard to help refugees find stable housing and jobs. On the other hand, she is a harsh mother who refuses to help her own children, financially or otherwise–much to their obvious displeasure. You can see how this might brew some animosity among family members. Was Diana’s death a suicide, or was it a murder? You’ll just have to read to find out.

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