THE MOTHER-IN-LAW by Sally Hepworth
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Women’s Fiction
Published by St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: April 23, 2019
Review Copy From: St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley
My Rating: 5
Synopsis (via GR)
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.
I wanted to read this book for a few reasons. Not only did the synopsis intrigue me but having a mother-in-law for the past 37 years and becoming a mother-in-law to my son’s wife 5 years ago, I was curious if there would be any similarities to my real life relationships and there were some.
Lucy lost her mother at the age of 13 so when she married Ollie she was hopeful that she would win his mother, Diana, over and have a warm and loving relationship with her. However, Diana was a bit standoffish, some would even say she was “frosty” and as the years went by, the relationship turned volatile at times.
The story alternates between Lucy and Diana’s perspectives both past and present but opens with the discovery of Diana’s body. At first, the police felt it was a suicide but there were items at the scene that might lead in another direction.
The suspense was ongoing throughout the story, which made it hard to put this book down. The characters convincing. Not only was the mystery of Diana’s death gripping, I also found the personal dynamics captivating.
Mothers of sons usually have to walk a fine line so as not to get the evil mother-in-law status, but in this case, Diana’s past had such a bearing on her personality that I felt for her.
In the end, a letter was found in her desk with the following words of wisdom that Lucy, 10 years after her mother-in-law’s death still lives by:
I worked hard for everything I ever cared about. And nothing I ever cared about cost a single cent.
An outstanding read! I am looking forward of reading more books by Ms. Hepworth.