The Mother’s Promise by Sally Hepworth– 368 pages
ARC courtesy of Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press
Alice and her daughter Zoe have been a family of two all their lives. Zoe has always struggled with crippling social anxiety and her mother has been her constant and fierce protector. With no family to speak of, and the identity of Zoe’s father shrouded in mystery, their team of two works—until it doesn’t. Until Alice gets sick and is given a grim prognosis. Desperate to find stability for Zoe, Alice reaches out to two women who are practically strangers, but who are her only hope: Kate, her oncology nurse, and Sonja, a social worker. As the four of them come together, a chain of events is set into motion and all four of them must confront their sharpest fears and secrets—secrets about abandonment, abuse, estrangement, and the deepest longing for family.
My Review: 3.5 stars
The Mother’s Promise shares the medical and emotional struggles of four women, while at the same time showing their power and strength. I applaud Hepworth for not choosing to make each chapter a separate first person POV for each character. That seems to be a writing trend lately, which I do enjoy, however I found not having it was both welcoming and refreshing.
I’ve enjoyed Hepworth’s previous novels, especially The Things We Keep, as they bring on tough subjects but do so with a light hand. In this book, there were just too many awful issues both physically and emotionally for me to fully embrace. Some of the bad ones: cancer, abuse, debilitating anxiety, rape, infertility, divorce, abandonment, fostering, bullying and OCD. The good ones: friendship, strong women and kindness. You can see the imbalance there yet this author is skilled at taking harsh realities and making them readable and fit into the chick lit or women’s fiction category.
All these women came into their own with the help and trust of the others. That in itself was a beautiful sentiment. I was able to foresee a few twists that happened which I’m not sure were necessary to the plot or not. Overall, this was an emotional book that many women will enjoy as long as their tissues are handy.
Quotes I liked:
Happiness was something you shred, chatted about, asked after. Suffering was something you had to do behind closed doors, in silence, all alone.”
-“I’m a single mother, what’s your superpower?”
-“For the first time in ages she felt like someone knew she existed. More than that, someone cared.”
-“It’s scary being scared. But what’s scarier that being scared, is being alone.”