Book Review: The Wrong Mother

The Wrong Mother by Sophie Hannah

I was totally intrigued by the synopsis on this book:

Sally is watching the news with her husband when she hears a name she ought not to recognise: Mark Bretherick. Last year, a work trip Sally had planned was cancelled at the last minute. Desperate for a break from her busy life juggling work and a young family, Sally didnt tell her husband that the trip had fallen through. Instead, she booked a week off work and treated herself to a secret holiday. All she wanted was a bit of peace some time to herself but it didnt work out that way. Because Sally met a man: Mark Bretherick.

Now, to Sally's shock, Bretherick is on the news. All the details are the same: where he lives, his job, his wife Geraldine and daughter Lucy. Except that the photograph on the TV screen is of a man Sally has never seen before. And Geraldine and Lucy Bretherick are both dead...

That, coupled with a blurb from the most excellent Tana French, and I was eager to read this novel, which started off with a bang, and just kept spinning and spinning until the reader doesn't know which end is up! Hannah combines everyday life of families in England, and the complications and annoyances that go with it, with a sinister plot that leaves two people dead from the outset, and the reader has to keep reading and reading to unravel the mystery and find the real killer.

I found reading this tense and compellingly page-turning, though I did find myself thrown off by the daily foibles and relationships of the police force investigating the crime (until I learned after I read the book that they are recurring characters from Hannah's other works - that makes more sense, then).

The writing was crisp and imminently readable, and an air of tension just permeates the whole novel, and it's such an interesting premise, that even as it slid to a whizzbang finish that will leave the reader a bit twisted about, it was well worth reading. Great recommendation for mystery fans looking for something other than the normal novel - well written, insightful and different!

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