The Mother’s Fault,
by Nicole Trope
Publication: Bookouture; October 15, 2021
I am cooking spaghetti, his favourite, while he plays in the garden. But when I look up, he’s gone. I call the police, my hands shaking so much that I hit the wrong digits twice. ‘My son is missing.’
When the police turn up, I’m trapped in the web of my lies.
I have hidden the truth from eight-year-old Riley, my little boy who loves climbing trees and always has scraped knees. I have hidden my secret from everyone.
Riley knows his father is dead but he has no idea why. He doesn’t know his dad’s real name, and there are no pictures in the house. Not a single person knows what happened eight years ago.
I love my son more than anything but the truth is, I have always feared for him. When the first gift arrived in our mailbox, wrapped in blue paper with silver stars, I realised I was right to be afraid.
Now, I can see the question in the detectives’ eyes. Am I a mother with a missing child or a mother with a lot to hide? I need them to save my son – but how much can I tell them without losing him forever?
O.k., so this book was a bit exhausting honestly! So much happens and it seems to go on forever, but here goes. Beverly is a single mom to her eight-year-old son Riley and has just broken up with the seemingly wonderful Ethan because she felt they were getting too close. So you realize pretty early that she has some serious secrets. Then someone starts leaving gifts in the mailbox for Riley, that grow each day in value. Beverly thinks that it’s Ethan trying to buy his way back into their lives. Then we realize that her elderly neighbor Sam has an uninvited house guest living with him and Riley has gotten too good to be true new teacher at school. Then Riley goes missing.
What I loved about this book is the endless number of times I was completely surprised. I can’t count how many times I said out loud, “what the hell?” From the variety of points of view in this novel, it slowly became more and more clear what the big secrets were, but when I thought I knew what was going on, I was completely wrong.
What I disliked was the pacing. It took me days to get into this book, whereas, I usually start and finish a book in a few hours. The first 40-50% is painfully slow, however, I had seen such good reviews I decided to stick it out and see what all of the fuss was about.
Once things started getting more exciting, I found myself more addicted to continuing the book but, in the end, it ended up feeling like a B-rated Lifetime movie. The premise was silly, the surprises started getting silly, and the perfect ending made no sense after everything else.
Now, I am not hating on you if you like to indulge in the B-rated Lifetime movies and if so, you will enjoy this book. For me, the best I can give this is 3 stars because it was too slow and too far-fetched.
*Thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.