Either you can understand why there would be a thriller titled The Mother-in-law or you hard #cantrelate. Right? For purposes of seeming unbiased….I plead the 5th. #JustKidding #Maybe
What is The Mother-In-Law about?
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.
Characters and storyline
I found the plot of this book really intriguing. Diana, Lucy’s mother in law has committed suicide, but then it seems perhaps that is not the case. The book is told from Lucy’s POV (point of view) in the past and present, as well as Diana’s in the past.
I really enjoyed Diana’s character….she was really interesting and she had an interesting past. My only complaint is that she’s dead. I would have loved her to kind of redeem herself. The other characters I didn’t really care for either way….they were there, providing insight into Diana. Everybody seemingly having a bit of a motive to be responsible for Diana’s death…if it was indeed murder.
I really appreciated the narration, the alternate timelines and gaining an understanding of Diana’s relationship with everybody. Lucy’s perception of her mother-in-law and her experience with her, was insightful. I enjoyed delving into the dynamics of Lucy and Diana’s relationship…as well as those of Lucy’s husband, father in law and sister in law. What I found so interesting was how we can have different feelings and perceptions about the same scenario, but when told from two POV’s you realise both parties are entitled to feel aggrieved. Neither party knows what the other’s motivation is….all they have are assumptions and their feelings. This rings true in real life as well.
This was an audiobook, and I didn’t realise the narration was going to be in an Australian accent, but I got used to it. I love the more ‘posh’ accent the narrator gives Diana and it’s so spot on as to how I imagine her. The narrator really brought a lot of personality to the characters I felt.
Was this riveting thriller? No it wasn’t, but it was interesting enough to keep me ‘turning the pages’. I’d probably classify this as more of a domestic thriller if there is such a thing. I didn’t see the end coming and I liked that surprise.
I’m not sure if reading the book yields the same experience as the audiobook. I think the audiobook experience gave it that extra bit of oomph in my opinion. The Mother-In-Law has a goodreads rating of 3.99 stars, and I myself rate it at 4 stars. Like i said, this is not your jaw dropping, psychological thriller….I was really in it more for the complex characters, relationships and the story.