Saturday, 6 April 2019

Book Review: The Mother-in-Law (Mystery)

The Mother-in-Law
Sally Hepworth

Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia 
Publication Date: 29th January 2019
Pages: 352
RRP: $29.99
Format read: Trade paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher


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.

From the moment Lucy met Diana, she was kept at arm's length. Diana is exquisitely polite, but Lucy knows, even after marrying Oliver, that they'll never have the closeness she'd been hoping for.

But who could fault Diana? She was a pillar of the community, an advocate for social justice, the matriarch of a loving family. Lucy had wanted so much to please her new mother-in-law.

That was ten years ago. Now, Diana has been found dead, leaving a suicide note. But the autopsy reveals evidence of suffocation. And everyone in the family is hiding something...


In The Mother-in-Law Hepworth navigates the tricky in-law relationship fraught with misunderstandings and anguish.

I loved this story. It was a little depressing but also a fabulous read. Right from the onset we know Diana, the mother-in-law is dead. But did she commit suicide, a note was found, or was it murder? Hepworth keeps you guessing, jumping between the notion of suicide and murder. And if she was murdered, who would have the want to murder her? Everyone, so it seems.

The story is told in both Lucy and Diana’s POV which gives the perfect insight into both women. Lucy lost her mother when she was 13. She wanted nothing more than to be close to Diana. More like mother and daughter than MIL and DIL. However their relationship was strained. Diana and Tom were very well off however she believed that her children, Ollie and Nette, should not be given handouts, they should make their own way in life. This was quite often misunderstood as being mean spirited. Diana was an introvert and didn’t like to make a fuss and her actions were misinterpreted by Lucy.

Hepworth explores many themes beyond the in-law relationship such as being pregnant and single in the 70’s, the plight of refugees starting over in a new country, infertility and the age of entitlement.

The Mother-in-Law is a touching, moving and heartbreaking story of how an ordinary family can fall apart so easily. Hepworth imbues this family saga with mystery to make it a thoroughly compelling read.

My Rating   10/10

Letter 'M' in the 2019 A-Z challenge


Sally Hepworth is the bestselling author of The Secrets of Midwives (2015), The Things We Keep (2016) and The Mother's Promise (2017), and The Family Next Door (Feb 2018). Sally's books have been labelled “enchanting” by The Herald Sun, “smart and engaging” by Publisher’s Weekly, and New York Times bestselling authors Liane Moriarty and Emily Giffin have praised Sally’s novels as “women’s fiction at its finest” and “totally absorbing”.

Sally's novels are available worldwide in English and have been translated into 15 languages.

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

You can connect with the author at the following sites:
Website  ||  Twitter  ||  Facebook  ||  Instagram 





  1. I've only read one of Hepworth's books but I loved it. I think I'd love this one too.

  2. Definitely on my wishlist, thanks for sharing your thoughts