‘The Mother-in-Law’ by Sally Hepworth

I know a lot of you have already read this book (especially since in Australia – where it’s also set – it was published earlier this year) and if I can believe Goodreads, many of you want to read it in the (near?) future. I only saw very few bad ratings/reviews, everybody seems to be liking it, so I was very excited to get to it myself!

I got this book from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.



Since it seemed to be a very popular and widely loved book, I decided to read it after I saw it on NetGalley. I admit, the title had my attention even before I saw any reviews. You know, I’m the lucky girl (NOT) who got TWO mothers-in-law with her partner… (well, we’re not yet married, so technically, it’s mothers-in-law-to-be… but come on, how does that sound…) Because his parents are divorced and his father remarried. I tell you, it’s no picnic! Anyways, I really wanted to give a chance to this book.


It took me a little time to warm up to this novel, but after the first few chapters, I noticed it was hard to abandon it, I cared about the characters and the story. The information is slowly, gradually portioned, at just the right time and pace, and I was hooked!

This story was a wonderful portrayal of Diana (the mother-in-law in the title) and I loved the way it was told from her and Lucy’s (daughter-in-law) altering points of view. No event was really retold, but from little remarks and self-analyzing thoughts it was possible to learn the motivations behind both of their acts (which the other many times completely misunderstood), and every little thing got a subtle explanation, without the two-sided storytelling ever getting forced. It was perfectly crafted! The only thing I should say here on the possibly negative side is that the two women’s writing style didn’t differ a bit – and I prefer when I can instantly tell who’s talking in case I’m reading several POVs. Luckily it’s not confusing at all, all chapters start with the name of the narrator, and honestly, the two think so differently than it’s all obvious when you see what they’re saying. Still, it would’ve been nice to see a little difference in the style. But really, this is just a minor detail, and it in no way took away from my enjoyment of the book.

Now, though I didn’t agree with Diana’s decisions most of the time, I understood where she came from. This book is all about showing her personality and motivations (among others’, but I felt like hers were the center), and it does it beautifully, subtly. I started out thinking she’s too strict, too… sticking to her principles. Then I got to learn more about her, and then Lucy got to learn about her more, and I started to more and more understand Diana, always a half step ahead of Lucy, but along with her. At the end of the day, I think Diana’s tragedy was that she communicated terribly bad, leaving people no way to understand her motives, to get to really know her, or to openly talk and debate about things. Which was at first infuriating, but then I realized that these little misunderstandings, forgotten thank-you-s, ignored explanations are things that happen to all of us. Some less, some more, but everyone’s affected. Too many times the problem is the lack of communication, and the lack of willingness to listen to the other and understand their motives, even if we don’t agree with them. Expectations, unfortunately, are almost always higher than the willingness to accept and understand. On all sides.

For me the ending wasn’t a surprise at all, but I feel like the point of this story wasn’t really all about that. The journey there was the most important. After the ‘big reveal’ it was wrapped up bit abruptly, but I’ll let that slide, because I enjoyed the book so much along the way.

Let’s Give It A Grade!

  1. Story: 5/5
  2. Characters: 5/5
  3. Style: 4/5
  4. The Subjective Factor: 5/5
  • GPA: 4.75


It’s an interesting and attention-piquing mystery with clues and suspense all along the way, but what I loved the most about it was how it conveyed so many emotions that moves a woman throughout a lifetime. Women, women with different personalities and fates, but at the end of the day similar women nonetheless were the motivators of this story, and I loved every bit of it!

Recommend to:

You, if you fancy a good mystery with real, strong female characters.

Drink tip:



This was my first Sally Hepworth book, and I’m for sure down to read the others she’s written!

Have you already read this book? I’m dying to hear your thoughts!!

Have a great day!

Hugs πŸ™‚

4 thoughts on “‘The Mother-in-Law’ by Sally Hepworth

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