I’d planned to just read a few chapters of this book before launching into Lost in Space on Netflix last Saturday night (hee hee, see what I did there? Not on purpose incidentally, but… #whatevs). I probably should know myself better as once I started I kept reading until the end, needing to know what had happened to baby Midas.
The Perfect Mother
by Aimee Molloy
Published by Sphere
on May 1st 2018
Source: Hachette Australia
Genres: Psychological Thriller, Thriller / Suspense
ISBN: 9780751570335, B0764B4T1Q
They call themselves the May Mothers—a collection of new moms who gave birth in the same month. Twice a week, with strollers in tow, they get together in Prospect Park, seeking refuge from the isolation of new motherhood; sharing the fears, joys, and anxieties of their new child-centered lives.
When the group’s members agree to meet for drinks at a hip local bar, they have in mind a casual evening of fun, a brief break from their daily routine. But on this sultry Fourth of July night during the hottest summer in Brooklyn’s history, something goes terrifyingly wrong: one of the babies is abducted from his crib. Winnie, a single mom, was reluctant to leave six-week-old Midas with a babysitter, but the May Mothers insisted that everything would be fine. Now Midas is missing, the police are asking disturbing questions, and Winnie’s very private life has become fodder for a ravenous media.
Though none of the other members in the group are close to the reserved Winnie, three of them will go to increasingly risky lengths to help her find her son. And as the police bungle the investigation and the media begin to scrutinize the mothers in the days that follow, damaging secrets are exposed, marriages are tested, and friendships are formed and fractured.
The way Molloy has written this book kinda gives away one of the twists. Kinda. Particularly if you read a lot and pay some attention to point of view and the use of first person vs third person (ie. a writer using “I” and writing from inside a character’s head or using their name but still knowing what they’re thinking).
However, that didn’t detract from the intrigue of this novel. It may have made it a little more disjointed in retrospect but at the time I wasn’t entirely sure who I was listening to… so it kinda made sense.
Though Winnie is (in many ways) the central character, we’re mostly in the heads of her three ‘mommy’s group’ friends and I think that’s the allure of this book. It’s as much about Nell – her return to work and her past secrets; Collette and her career and relationships; and Francie and her obsession with finding out what happened to Midas, as it is the baby’s mother.
We’re given a number of suspects and of course it could be any of the lead characters we’ve come to know and love. And then there are the other members of the ‘May Mothers’ who all have their secrets.
As does Winnie and – in many ways – we know her the least and mostly through the eyes of others. And in that respect the book was a very pleasant surprise. I’d just finished a book about a new mother who was suspected of suffering from postpartum psychosis and obsessed with the fact she didn’t believe her child was hers. So another book about a traumatised mother made me anxious. I didn’t need to worry though as the book doesn’t belabour the crazy mother thing too much. Rather, just enough.
Although… of interest to many will (of course) be the lies we tell others and the secrets we keep.
Following the birth of their babies, the May Mothers all receive a handy hint for new mommies. Which is as patronising and eye roll-worthy as one would expect. Because we’re in a few of the women’s heads we know (however) they all believe they’re doing a worse job than other mothers. We know they believe they’re wondering how others manage to keep it together when they themselves are faking it. Big time. And as the women get to know each other better the raw honest truth slowly starts surface.
This is an enjoyable read and well worth the deferral of my Saturday night plans.
The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy was published in Australia by Hachette and is now available.
3.5 – 4 stars from me.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.