New Release Book Review: The Mother-In-Law by Sally Hepworth

The Mother-In-Law…

About the Book:

‘Someone once told me that you have two families in your life – the one you are born into and the one you choose. Yes, you may get to choose your partner, but you don’t choose your mother-in-law. The cackling mercenaries of fate determine it all.’

A twisty, compelling new novel about one woman’s complicated relationship with her mother-in-law that ends in death…

From the moment Lucy met her husband’s mother, Diana, she was kept at arm’s length. Diana was exquisitely polite, and properly friendly, but Lucy knew that she was not what Diana envisioned. But who could fault Diana? She was a pillar of the community, an advocate for social justice who helped female refugees assimilate to their new country. Diana was happily married to Tom, and lived in wedded bliss for decades. Lucy wanted so much to please her new mother-in-law.

That was five years ago.

Now, Diana has been found dead, a suicide note near her body. Diana claims that she no longer wanted to live because of a battle with cancer.

But the autopsy finds no cancer.

The autopsy does find traces of poison and suffocation.

Who could possibly want Diana dead?

Why was her will changed at the eleventh hour to disinherit both of her adult children and their spouses?

With Lucy’s secrets getting deeper and her relationship with her mother-in-law growing more complex as the pages turn, this new novel from Sally Hepworth is sure to add to her growing legion of fans.

My Thoughts:

What a twisting, compelling, insightful and addictive novel The Mother-In-Law turned out to be! Full of pockets of grey, nothing is as it seems and no one is truly good or bad. By telling the story from the perspectives of both the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law, Sally very much shows us that there is always two sides to every story.

‘If you ask me, everyone is a little too interested in their children’s happiness. Ask anyone what they wish for their kids and they’ll all say they want them to be happy. Happy! Not empathetic contributing members of society. Not humble, wise and tolerant. Not strong in the face of adversity or grateful in the face of misfortune. I, on the other hand, have always wanted hardship for my kids. Real, honest hardship. Challenges big enough to make them empathetic and wise. Take the pregnant refugee girls I deal with every day. They’ve been through unimaginable hardships, and here they are working hard, contributing and grateful. What more could you want for your kids?’

With clever wit and a plausible plot, Sally walks us through a myriad of family dynamics that were entirely relatable. There is a high level of suspense sustained throughout, not only with regards to how Diana died, but also about the secrets various family members were harbouring and the past grievances that were yet to be revealed. The chapters are delivered in short bursts, solidifying this novel as a real ‘page-turner’. Highly recommended!

‘It occurs to me that only a mother-in-law and a daughter-in-law can have an all-out war without anyone so much as raising their voice. The funny thing is, if any of the menfolk were here, they wouldn’t have a clue that anything other than a pleasant conversation was going on. If Ollie were here, he’d probably comment on “what a nice afternoon that was with Mum.” In that way, menfolk are really quite simple, bless them.’


I received two copies of this novel for review. Thanks is extended to Pan Macmillan Australia and St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley for each providing me with a copy of The Mother-In-Law.

About the Author:

Sally Hepworth has lived around the world, spending extended periods in Singapore, the UK and Canada, where she worked in event management and human resources. She is the author of The Secrets of Midwives, The Things We Keep, The Mother’s Promise and The Family Next Door.

Sally lives in Melbourne, Australia, with her husband and children.

The Mother-In-Law

Published by Macmillan Australia and St. Martin’s Press (US)

Released in Australia on 29th January 2019

Released in US on 23rd April 2019

13 thoughts on “New Release Book Review: The Mother-In-Law by Sally Hepworth

      • I know, you are always careful about spoilers. But I try to avoid other reviews until I’ve read the book myself and formed my opinions, so if I know I’m going to read it soon, I just make a note of the URL for later. (I’m going to an author talk for this one soon too… Sally lives in Beaumaris so they always have an event for her new books, this will be the second one I’ve been to.)

        Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t go to many. Melbourne is in the grip of an infrastructure catchup and there are road works and train upgrades all over the place. Getting into the city, (usually half an hour or so by car or train) is just too hard at the moment. So I go to local things but not much else.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Oooooh the mother/daughter-in-law relationship is so interesting, and can be written/read in so many different ways – this one sounds great!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: The Mother-in-Law, by Sally Hepworth | ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

  3. I have two of her books – The Secrets of Midwives and The Mother’s Promise, a shame they’re not ones on my coffee table to-read pile. I have a list of all the books in order I want to read next year, OH NO, I just realised that’s like another coffee table pile, damn, I’m scrapping that list. Lol.
    Ooooh, about the mother-in-law, I think that will be an interesting read.

    Liked by 1 person

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