A Book Spy Review: ‘The Perfect Mother’ by Aimee Molloy

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The Perfect mother.jpgAimee Molloy’s exciting new psychological thriller (which is being adapted for film with Scandal‘s Kerry Washington attached to star) follows a group of new mothers and their relationships when one of them discovers their child is missing.

Twice a week, the “May Mothers,” a group of women who all gave birth to their first child within the same month, meet up at Prospect Park to talk, share their feelings, and discuss their children and motherhood in general. But, needing a weekend to blow off steam and let loose without any strollers, diaper bags, or crying children to interrupt them, the group plans a kid-free Fourth of July trip to the bar. 

Nell Mackey, the good-looking, unofficial leader of the group, knows that Winnie Ross — who is much quieter and reserved than the other ladies — won’t go for their night out due to concerns about not being there for her young son, Midas. So, naturally, Nell takes things into her own hands and arranges for her nanny, Alma, to watch Midas. Problem solved. However, after a night of drinking, horror strikes when Alma calls to report that Midas is missing from his crib and is nowhere to be found.

In the aftermath of Midas’ kidnapping, the May Mothers are heavily scrutinized by the media, who puts each woman (author Colette Yates and Francie Givens, who recently moved to New York from down south, round out the group) under the microscope. Their lives are picked apart, and their jobs as mothers are called into question as nearly every decision they’ve made is analyzed by people and talking heads who’ve never met them. The investigating isn’t just external, though, as the ladies quickly go about exploring each other’s lives, revealing more than a few secrets to go with several perfectly-timed twists as Molloy’s superb story unfolds. 

There’s so much to love about this book, which is hard to compare to anything else on store shelves right now. First of all, Molloy’s plot feels honest and real, and most everyone will relate to at least one of the characters. There’s no doubt that being a mom in today’s world bears added stress and pressure thanks, in part, to unfair expectations that are thrown in our faces by reality TV and various sitcoms. The bar isn’t just set high — in most cases, it’s altogether unobtainable, and society looks down on those who are deemed to be parenting the “wrong” way. All of that is explored here, but there’s also so much else going on. . . 

Aside from the parenting stuff and how that relates to the real world, Molloy’s novel is still, at its core, a delicious suspense thriller that dazzles with its ability to shock readers over and over again. Things seem straightforward at first, and many readers will be fooled into thinking they’ve figured everything out way before the final act. But, in splendid Harlan Coben-like fashion, Molloy finds ways to keep readers off-balance and guessing right up until the end.

Aimee Molloy’s The Perfect Mother is sensational. . . raw, honest, and surprisingly refreshing. Fans of Gillian Flynn have got to read this book. 

Book Details

Author: Aimee Molloy
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0062696793
Publisher: Harper
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 8.0/10

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Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

 

 

 

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