The Wrong Mother by Sophie Hannah

This must be fantastic cover day at A Passion for Books.

I read such a variety of views of The Wrong Mother by Sophie Hannah (2009) on blogs that I had to read the book for myself. I find myself falling firmly in the "didn't enjoy this book" category. The cover is actually my favorite part of the book, which is really a sad comment.

My biggest complaint is that the story shifts to so many different points of view that I didn't feel like any one character received decent development.

--There's harried mother Sally Thorning, who had a one-week affair with a man a year ago. A man who now has a dead wife and child, and--wait--the man shown on t.v. as the grieving widower/father isn't the man with whom she had an affair. And Sally is a look-alike for the dead woman.

--There's the Geraldine we think we know as seen through the horrific snips from her diary. She's the dead woman, who police believe killed her daughter, Lucy, before killing herself.

A snip from the diary as found at Kindle locations 593-601:

I have a rule that I've made for myself, and that I stick to come what may: whatever I feel inside, however I feel like behaving towards Lucy, I do the opposite. So when she cried after I'd closed her door, I went back into her room, stroked her hair and said, "What's the matter, love?" because what I really wanted to do was drag her out of her bed and shake her until her teeth fall out.

--DC Simon Waterhouse (policeman), veteran enough to realize that something more is happening with the murder investigation than a simple murder/suicide.

--Charlie Zailer (policewoman), Simon's former associate and love interest.

--DC Colin Sellers (policeman). . . . You get the idea.

Just too many perspectives and not enough depth in any one to hold my attention. Way before the story's end, I really didn't care what happened to Geraldine and Lucy, which isn't like me at all, particularly not when a young child is involved.

My overall personal rating of The Wrong Mother is a C-.


Anonymous said…
I do remember seeing this cover some months ago and thinking how cool it was. The premise too sounds intriguing. Too bad all that promise didn't follow through.
There's even a nice twist in the mystery, too, but I just couldn't get my mind around all of the different points of view in such a (relatively) short book.

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