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The Mother-in-Law


The Mother-in-Law

Every girl wants to impress her future mother-in-law, and Lucy is no different when she meets her boyfriend Ollie's mother, Diana. Since she started dating Ollie, it's apparent that he adores his mum. And why wouldn't he? Diana is a paragon of virtue, after all. She is a strong, take-charge lady, has an impeccable work ethic, and spends her time helping refugee women who have come to Australia from foreign lands. She also keeps a spotless house and is devoted to her husband, Tom, and her adult children, Ollie and Nettie.

Rather than be intimidated by Diana's sterling qualities and altruistic accomplishments, Lucy is sure she'll be able to develop a warm, close bond with her. But she couldn't be more wrong. Diana turns out to be cold, distant and doesn't appear at all interested in a true relationship with the girl her son will marry.

"As the story progresses, we find out that no one is without their secrets…and oh, what secrets they are! THE MOTHER-IN-LAW is an engrossing read from start to finish."

Although they get off to a rocky start, Lucy still hopes that the situation will improve. After all, she lost her own mother when she was just 13, and she'd welcome an emotionally intimate relationship with an older woman who's willing to take on the role of the mother she's been missing all this time.

As the years pass, and Lucy and Ollie's children come along, Lucy gives up on her dream of being someone who plays an important part in Diana's life. It couldn't be more clear that she's simply not the woman Diana would have chosen for her darling son, and she never will be.

When Diana, who's suffering from advanced-stage breast cancer, commits suicide, no one can believe it. Surely this woman who met every challenge head on wouldn't have bailed on life as long as there was breath in her body. When the coroner can't find any sign of cancer during an autopsy, everyone begins to wonder how well they really knew Diana. Had she lied to them? Had a mistake been made? And why would an incredibly rich woman like Diana suddenly disinherit her children and leave everything to charity? Diana might have a been a thorn in Lucy's side while she was alive, but she's proving to cause even more problems for her harried daughter-in-law after her death.

THE MOTHER-IN-LAW is a twisting, turning tale of what happens when two very different people must interact with one another due to outside circumstances. Ollie fell in love with Lucy, so Lucy and Diana must find a way to deal with each other. Told from the alternating points of view of Lucy and Diana, Sally Hepworth’s novel allows us to look at the inner workings of their hearts and minds and understand things about them that they never seem able to convey to one another.

Additionally, we come to know Ollie's jovial dad, who made the fortune that supports the uber-rich family; his younger sister, who's constantly surrounded by an air of discontent; and her husband, who seems to enjoy the finer things in life just a little too much. As the story progresses, we find out that no one is without their secrets…and oh, what secrets they are! THE MOTHER-IN-LAW is an engrossing read from start to finish.

Reviewed by Amie Taylor on April 23, 2019

The Mother-in-Law
by Sally Hepworth