Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Wrong Mother by Sophie Hannah (review #135)

Title: The Wrong Mother
Author: Sophie Hannah
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Publisher: Penguin
Format: Library Loan

I think I have mentioned by now that I joined another book club. It's true. I am officially crazy.
And not just for books. I don't care. I'm going with it.
It's for the love of books so why the hell not. right?!
We met tonight for the first time and it was really, really lovely!
We have picked our 6 books for the next year and are meeting every other month. Much easier than meeting once a month like the Ladies. I don't think I could do two every month.
We are called B.Y.O.B-Bring Your Own Books, Bottle or Bars.
Clever, huh?
We have a graphic designer in our group so she designed our logo above and even made bookmarks for the whole year with our schedule on it.
Impressive indeed.

Our first book was The Wrong Mother by Sophie Hannah.

The response? Well, not so hot. First off, here is a description for you all to get a taste of what it's all about.

Sally Thorning is watching the news with her husband when she hears an unexpected name-Mark Bretherick. It's a name she shouldn't know, but last year Sally treated herself to a secret vacation-away from her hectic family life-and met a man. After their brief affair, the two planned to never meet again. But now, Mark's wife and daughter are dead-and the safety of Sally's own family is in doubt. Sophie Hannah established herself as a new master of psychological suspense with her previous novel, Little Face. Now with accomplished prose and a plot guaranteed to keep readers guessing, The Wrong Mother is Hannah's most captivating work yet.

Sounds pretty thrilling, right? A real page turner?

Well, in some ways it was but in a lot of ways it was not. We mainly agreed that the author had way too much going on with the multiple characters and back and forth story lines. We had a rating scale of 1-5; 5 Great- 1 Not so Great. Overall, the response of 11 of us was low, in the 2s but we had a few 3s. 3 was the final rating of " middle of the road".

I have been curious about Sophie Hannah for a few years now. I attempted to read Little Face, one of her earlier books, and could not get into it. But I blamed it on the fact that I was a new mom and it was all about a baby getting abducted. Not good for the roller coaster of emotions that I was on at that time.

All of her books sound incredibly intriguing, however, this one fell really flat. It appears that she enjoys the complicated topic of mothers and children. She also appears to enjoy putting them in an extreme danger and portraying them, mostly mothers, in a horrible light. Though I have read my fair share of psychological thrillers with plenty of horrific things going on in them, this particular book had a malicious tone to it. I just felt that the author some how just did not like women or mothers, for that matter. That made it hard to read.

There were also many story line threads that did not go anywhere, leaving the reader wonder why they were even mentioned in the first place. I can take a complicated web but it needs to be well executed and come together in the end. This book did not have that.

The police detectives involved in this case are apparently characters that are in her other books and their back story was not well explained. Many of us skimmed their parts because they were wordy and didn't make sense to us.

I haven't quite decided whether or not to continue with Sophie Hannah. This was a good first book club pick because it certainly generated a lot of discussion. Unfortunately it left a sour taste in my mouth for her as an author. I think she has potential to become a good mystery writer but perhaps with a bit more editing and polishing, her books would become easier to read.

Thanks to my new club for being so much fun and lively in their discussion! I look forward to meeting again and discussing our next book!

Next Book Up:
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan

Meet up Time:

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child


Tales of Whimsy said...

Sorry it didn't rock.
The premise sounded promising.
Sounds like a major, "Oh Sh*t!" moment.

Marce said...

Ok, is it bad that I am thrilled you didn't enjoy it either, sigh.

I was so looking forward to finding a new author and was so disappointed I am unsure if I will try her again.

Here is my old review of it. - you responded way back then too ;-)


Jenny said...

Oh no! I loved this book, LOL!! I do agree the storyline was somewhat complicated, but I thought it was good. I'm not sure if I would recommend The Cradle in the Grave if you didn't like this one. =/

Mystica said...

The story sounds intriguing and then when it does not take off from there - thats disappointing.

Ryan said...

I think I'll be passing on this one, there are too many mystery/thrillers out there to waste time on just okay ones.

Marie Cloutier said...

sorry this one didn't work out. it doesn't sound like my cup of tea, either! better luck next time :-)

Lisa said...

Sometimes an author can make a lot of characters and a lot going on really work and other times it really doesn't. I'm never sure whether or not to give the author another chance.

samantha.1020 said...

I liked this one but didn't love it as I had a hard time with some of the main character's choices. And I agree that she didn't portray mothers in a great light. Sorry to hear that your book club didn't enjoy your first book that much :)