“How far would you go for the perfect family?
When Christopher Harris climbs into his family’s dusty attic, he finds a battered old suitcase containing a letter. Inside the letter is a secret; a secret about his mother that changes everything.
Every mother loves their child. Every child deserves to be loved. But Christopher has grown up so lonely it hurts.
Finally, Christopher thinks he has a chance at happiness. A happiness he will do anything to protect, whatever the cost…
An unputdownable thriller about the lies we tell and the secrets we keep, Mother will hold you breathless until the very last page and leave you reeling. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train, The Sister and Apple Tree Yard.”
I am delighted to welcome you to damppebbles today as it’s my turn, and the final stop, on the Mother blog tour. Mother is the brand new psychological thriller from one of my favourite authors, S.E. Lynes. I absolutely fell head over heels in love with Susie’s debut, Valentina. So much so, I encouraged my own mum who is brand new to the psychological thriller genre to read it. Needless to say, she loved it! It also featured highly on my ‘top books of the year’ list in 2016. If you would like a recap or if you missed it the first time, check out my review of Valentina HERE.
This is S.E. Lynes first release with Bookouture. It is also one of my most eagerly anticipated books of the year. No pressure, huh?! I can’t deny, my expectations were high. I felt nervous, excited and a little apprehensive as I started to read the first page on my Kindle. The prologue is wonderfully violent and immediately appealed to my darker side. However, from there the story takes a more sedate turn. The writing, as I would expect from S.E. Lynes, is excellent. I just wanted something more to happen. I’ll lay my cards on the table as I’m one for 100% honesty in reviews, I really struggled with the first half of this book. Not all psychological thrillers are a thrill-a-minute joyride, I understand that. I have enjoyed the slow build to a shocking conclusion. I have enjoyed a particular character’s torment as their impending comeuppance looms with sharp fangs in the shadows. I just didn’t get that with the first half of Mother. Something, for me, was missing in that first half. However, the second half was a different story altogether, I absolutely loved the second half of this book.
The reader is introduced to a young man by the name of Christopher Harris. Christopher finds out by chance that he is adopted. Something he has secretly known for many years. After all, he doesn’t ‘fit’ with his family. The discovery is made just as departs his Morecambe home for Leeds University. Turning his back on his parents, Margaret and Jack, and their reserved way of life, he heads out into the big wide world with one mission; to find his birth mother. Christopher is a restrained chap so follows the correct procedures in his search, an emotionally charged search which leads him to Liverpool and to the arms of Phyllis, the mother he’s always wanted. Christopher is a new man. He dresses differently, he behaves differently, his life is finally what he has always wanted it to be. But when someone threatens his perfect life, Christopher needs to act. How far will he go to make sure his life remains perfect…?
Christopher doesn’t tell his own story which I thought was an interesting way for the author to tell his tale. The detective in me spent most of the first half trying to work out who the narrator was and I’m pleased to say I got it right fairly early on (but then convinced myself otherwise as the story progressed!). I found the relationship between Christopher and his birth mother, Phyllis, a little odd. Actually, scrap that, it was uncomfortably intense which is why I think I struggled to connect with any of the characters in Mother. I desperately want to talk about the second half of the book but fear in doing so I’ll be dropping spoilers left, right and centre. So I’ll just say the last half of the book is deliciously dark and quite surprising.
Would I recommend this book? I love Lynes’s writing and I would pick up another book by the author in less than a heartbeat. However, I did find the first half quite slow but I’m so glad I persevered as the last half is really rather wonderful. Christopher’s story took a little too long to get going for me. But that’s just me, you may have a totally different experience. I would recommend this book but with a caveat, that being the first half may not grab you as would hope. Stick with it, it’s worth it.
Four stars out of five.
I chose to read and review an eARC of Mother. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.
After graduating from Leeds University, S E Lynes lived in London before moving to Aberdeen to be with her husband. In Aberdeen, she worked as a producer at BBC Radio Scotland before moving with her husband and two young children to Rome. There, she began to write while her children attended nursery. After the birth of her third child and upon her return to the UK, she gained an MA in Creative Writing from Kingston University. She now combines writing with lecturing at Richmond Adult Community College and bringing up her three children. She lives in Teddington. Her first novel, Valentina, published by Blackbird Digital Books, came out in July 2016. Her follow up novel, Mother, is published by Bookouture.