Monday, March 08, 2010
Sophie Hannah's The Wrong Mother ~ Reviewed
The Wrong Mother
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics); Original edition (September 29, 2009)
A chilling exploration of a mother's unspeakable betrayal from the author of Little Face
Sally Thorning is watching the news with her husband when she hears an unexpected name-Mark Bretherick. It's a name she shouldn't know, but last year Sally treated herself to a secret vacation-away from her hectic family life-and met a man. After their brief affair, the two planned to never meet again. But now, Mark's wife and daughter are dead-and the safety of Sally's own family is in doubt. Sophie Hannah established herself as a new master of psychological suspense with her previous novel, Little Face. Now with accomplished prose and a plot guaranteed to keep readers guessing, The Wrong Mother is Hannah's most captivating work yet.
The Wrong Mother is a challenging, mind-twisting read.
Several characters come into play and all are sympathetic, yet oddly, not. Hannah has a remarkable ability to make characters very complex. I appreciated the British flavor and found that it intrigued me further. I didn't find this novel to be spooky, though it is definitely disturbing.
Within a literal week's time several lives are altered and the characters' lives are left hanging. Hannah leaves many loose ends which actually worked for me as the tying up would have been forced.
The basic plotline/premise is: Sally, a young mother makes a choice, one out of her attempt to keep sane, that comes back to haunt her. A murder-suicide tragedy of a young daughter and her eerily Sally-look-alike mother is splashed across the television. The interviewed grieving husband/father bears the same name as a man that Sally had spent a week with a year before. The name is the same but the man is very different. Sally begins to unravel with this news and is compelled to find out who this man is, which is the real Mark? The one she'd slept with or the bereaved stranger? And what does it mean for Sally? The police discover more and more information that begins to twist the bizarre situation further. The storylines run parallel and intersect, culminating in a twisted outcome. Bizarre, disturbing, thought-provoking and page turning.
Extra sensitive readers may have trouble with the subject matter and some of the language.
Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer