The Perfect Mother by Nina Darnton
Blurb sent to me from the Publisher:
Being in a country abroad, faced with language and cultural barriers, what is a a mother today when her daughter is involved with a murder investigation. Nina Darnton, seasoned journalist-turned-fiction writer, explores this idea in her upcoming suspense novel, THE PERFECT MOTHER, in which she poses a universal question of motherhood: do you stand by your children unconditionally, or do you risk uncovering the terrifying truth that you may not know who they really are?
The Perfect Mother is a psychological thriller, inspired by the Amanda Knox case, but centered around the mother, Jennifer Lewis. Jennifer adores her daughter who she’s proudly sent her off on a Princeton Junior Year Abroad program in Seville, Spain. When a middle of the night phone call reveals that her daughter is being held on suspicion of murder, Jennifer rushes to her side, convinced of her daughter's innocence. But as she sees the case develop But as she investigates the crime, she experiences a roller-coaster of emotions--incredulity, anger, grief, betrayal--as she begins to wonder if she ever really knew her daughter at all.
Mary Higgins Clark calls The Perfect Mother “a haunting page-turner that will keep you up all night.” All readers who loved the recent works of Gillian Flynn, Mary Kubica, and Kate Atkinson will be excited to learn about this upcoming release.
What a nightmare! I didn't closely follow the Amanda Knox case, but I cannot imagine going through this situation. Of course, I think it is human nature to think of ourselves as "The Perfect Mother." We like to have quality activities for our children, we like to help them clean up their messes, we like to be there for them in every moment of need, and we like to do everything we can to take away any source of pain. We don't want our children to suffer, and we want them to have everything we didn't have when we grew up. In this book, Jennifer Lewis learns the hard way that sometimes giving our children all the answers may not be the answer. Unfortunately, children must learn for themselves at some point. They need to suffer pain so they can appreciate the good times. They need to learn to think for themselves, and learn to stand on their own two feet without their mothers. ( :( This is sad and hard, unfortunately.....I'm definitely not good at it.) This book is written fairly well. Ms. Darnton's writing style pulls you in and definitely grabs your attention. The story line is every parent's worst nightmare, so it holds your attention. The character development is well done. I liked Jennifer at the beginning of the book, but the further I got into the book, the less I liked her. When she gets that first phone call you just feel so bad for her and her family. The reader sees her as "The Perfect Mother" at that point. As the story goes on, you get a glimpse of her shortcomings, and that's ok, because no one is perfect. However, something about her attitude or her character changes. It's not just the imperfections, it's how she handles them, and you begin to see a darker side of her that's not so pretty. Jennifer's husband Mark is an interesting character. It's kind of funny that there were a few times in the book that I related to him more than I did to Jennifer. He works hard and is gone a lot of the time, but he seems more down to earth and connected to reality than Jennifer is. He is better able to see that their daughter, Emma, may not be who they thought she was. And don't get me started on Emma. Wow. (Insert sarcasm) What a winner. She is an extremely unlikable character. I really didn't care if she ended up rotting in jail for the rest of her life. I hoped they'd find her innocent just for her family's sake, but as for her, I didn't like her at all. She is ungrateful, arrogant, indifferent, and manipulative. Overall, I liked this book. It has some good lessons in it, and a huge surprise at the end. I won't tell you what I thought about it because I don't want to ruin anything, but let's just say I hope Jennifer doesn't forget about it. Ahhhh......I want to say more. But I won't. :)
There is profanity in this book, although not a lot. Except there are a couple "f" words. Rape is discussed. Also discussed is a college group that is "intimacy"-related, with a name for that group that is not kid-friendly. "Intimacy" is also discussed, and there is one time that there is a love scene, but there are no details, you just know that they did it. There is also a murder, and it is graphic.
I liked the book, and think it would make for a great book group discussion.
Rating: R (This book is not appropriate for younger readers. Profanity (including a couple "f" words), rape, "intimacy," and murder.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.