The Wrong Mother by Sophie Hannah

Title:  The Wrong Mother
Author:  Sophie Hannah
Release date:  September 29, 2009
Publisher:  Penguin
Pages:  432
Genre:  Adult fiction, Thriller
Source:  Publisher

Sally Thorning is watching TV one ordinary evening when she hears the name of a man she wanted to forget she’d ever known:  Mark Bretherick.  But the face of Mark Bretherick on the screen is not the same person she met and spent a week with last year.  The Mark that Sally knew had a wife named Geraldine and a daughter named Lucy.  The Mark on TV had a wife named Geraldine and a daughter named Lucy, too, except that he’s on the news explaining that the two of them were found dead.

So, this book was sent to me as a surprise from the publisher, and since I’d heard good things about Sophie Hannah I finally decided to read it.  It’s hard to summarize The Wrong Mother because it’s sort of a complicated book.  I was beyond confused for at least the first fifty pages.  But once I sort of figured out what the mystery was here, it got very interesting very quickly.

Whenever I read a thriller, I find myself wondering why I don’t read them more often.  That was definitely true of The Wrong Mother – the book really had me wanting to read more of these kinds of books.  The plot was engaging and kept me on the edge of my seat.  I was totally in the dark about what was really going on, didn’t guess the truth at all, which is exactly what I require from these kinds of books.

And let’s talk a little about the characters.  They were written very, VERY well in my opinion.  Sally was just so authentic, I believed in her completely.  She was a flawed person, she had made this horrible mistake in her rendezvous with Mark Bretherick, but she was trying so hard to make up for it, trying so hard to be a good mother and a good wife in order to forgive herself for her transgression.  I felt her pain so deeply, I empathized with her desire to go back and erase that week she spent being someone other than herself, and I was so sad for her when the past came creeping back into her life in such a shocking and scary way.  I even sympathized with Geraldine, or at least the diary version of Geraldine, I didn’t think she was a good person by any means, but it was her honesty that got to me.  The fact that she was so upfront about her feelings about being a mother, even with herself, shocked me and made me sort of admire her.  In a weird way, I suppose.

Anyway, what I’m trying to tell you is that this book is GOOD.  It was better than I was expecting, it was more of a literary thriller than I was thinking it would be, so I loved that.  If you are a fan of these types of books (Tana French is the best comparison I can make), definitely pick up Sophie Hannah’s The Wrong Mother.  You won’t be sorry you did!


23 thoughts on “The Wrong Mother by Sophie Hannah”

  1. This sounds so good, even though the cover totally gives me the creeps. Is is super creepy? I found the Tana French books were borderline too creepy for me. (I really don’t like psychopath books.) Thanks!

  2. I actually enjoyed Tana French – minus the whole “doesn’t address the issue at hand” thing. I’m glad this was a satisfying read. Next time I’m in the mood for one of these novels, I’ll have to turn to Sophie Hannah instead.

    1. LOL yeah I understand about Tana French, but I’ve loved both of her books. Definitely try out Sophie Hannah if your’e in the mood for that sort of thing.

  3. I have this book and I’m glad to know that you enjoyed it so much. The cover is pretty grim, but intriguing. It reminds me of that movie, What Lies Beneath. Not sure if the bathtub even plays into the story, but that’s what I thought of immediately. Brrr!

    1. The bathtub definitely plays a role in the story, big time! and yeah I see what you mean about What Lies Beneath. But the stories are totally different. 🙂

  4. Am glad you enjoyed this book and yes your right, Tana French is a good comparison to the author (well because of the way you described the book). I actually reviewed one her her books called The Likeness and i really enjoyed it. You can check it out here.

    This was a great review and you have convinced me that i need to find The Wrong Mother and give it a read. Thanks so much for your review and have a great weekend.

  5. I was very confused when I saw this review as I didn’t recognise the title. I worked out that this book is called The Point of Rescue in the UK. I am a big fan of Sophie Hannah. I loved Little Face and have just finished reading Hurting Distance which was excellent too. I hope to get to this one soon.

    1. Oh, I had no idea it had a different title in the UK! What other books of Hannah’s would you recommend? Should I start with Little Face?

  6. I’m definitely sold on reading this one after reading your review. After I read Shutter Island, I felt the same way. I was thinking to myself why don’t I read more books like this?? So hopefully I will enjoy this one as much as you did!

    1. OOH, I need to read Shutter Island. Although I’ve already seen the movie, so I’m wondering if maybe that would ruin the experience of reading the book? But yeah, I think you’ll love this one if you like these kinds of books. 🙂

  7. I love mysteries — a well-written mystery with complex characters is a totally worthwhile read in my book. I vary them with literary stuff, which I often enjoy, but nothing gives me that ‘I’m so happy to be sitting down reading this’ than something by Laura Lippman, or Carol O’Connell, or Fred Vargas (who’s also a woman — apparently I really like mysteries written by women). Oh, and Dennis Lehane — ADORE Shutter Island, and the Patrick Kenzie mysteries.

    1. I definitely need to try out Laura Lippman and soon. I keep hearing great things about her! And I read a Dennis Lehane book years ago – Mystic River – that I remember loving at the time. I hope you get a chance to read a Sophie Hannah novel soon!

  8. I was reading about this book on Amazon the other day and thought it sounded really good. I’m glad to hear it lives up to what I thought.

  9. This book sounds interesting. I’ve been thinking I should trying reading some mysteries/thrillers lately, this one definitely sounds like it’s worth a read!

  10. Now I’m really kind of interested in reading the book to hear more about Geraldine from her diary and her feelings about being a mother.

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