Mother, Mother

by Koren Zailckas

Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel Debut Books of the Month Family Drama Modern and Classic Literary Fiction Relationship Stories

LoveReading View on Mother, Mother

March 2014 Debut of the Month.

A very sad and convincing book of a dysfunctional family. A dark piece of fiction which is murder mystery, psychological suspense and human drama all rolled into a tale with plenty of disturbing plots. We, the reader, cannot understand what is true, what imagined, what made up as we follow three children growing up in a sick, twisted environment. The mother’s case in particular is very well handled. Highly recommended.

Sarah Broadhurst

Mother, Mother Synopsis

An electrifying debut novel about what happens when the one who should love you the most becomes your worst enemy. Sure to appeal to fans of GONE GIRL, WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN and ROOM Meet the Hurst Family. Meet Violet Hurst -16 years old, beautiful and brilliant. So why is she being accused of being a danger to herself and others? Meet her brother Will Hurst - the smartest and sweetest twelve-year old boy around. But does he really need all that medication he is being told to take? Meet oldest sister Rose - the one who got away. She disappeared one night in her final year of school, never to be heard from again. And then meet their mother - Josephine. Perhaps it will then all start to make sense...

Mother, Mother Reader Reviews

 In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

  • Melanie Chadwick - 'What an absorbing and disturbing book, I loved it...Great writing, and a debut novel – amazing!' Read full review >
  • Jenny Grange - 'The writing is taut and easy to follow once you have identified the characters and begin to hear their “voice” in their respective chapters.' Read full review >
  • Annette Woolfson - 'Wow! That was one tense, horrifying read – a tale of a not-so-perfect family...I found this book totally engrossing and ended up thanking my lucky stars for my own parents.' Read full review >
  • Michelle McKernan - 'Brilliant! I couldn't put it down and raced through it to find out what was going on. The author kept the pace up all the way through and made me feel real empathy for the main character.' Read full review >
  • Cathy Petersen - 'A slow burning story of obsession and its destructive power within a family that is full of menace and increasing tension very well executed.' Read full review >
  • Victoria Halliday - 'Riveting tale of family life gone wrong when a mother's obsession with her children is taken too far...Highly recommended!' Read full review >
  • Magda North - 'Amazing. This feverish-read-it-all-in-one sitting novel reminded me both of Gone Girl and We Need to Talk About Kevin.' Read full review >
  • Suzanne Bellingham - 'I loved this book.  A real page turner, gripping, shocking, thought provoking yet real. The mother of all books relating to dominant psychotic matriarchs with a love that not only drives people away but is terrifying.' Read full review >
  • Andrea Dean - 'On the whole the book is easy to read with short chapters reminiscent of James Patterson is hard to put down without finishing completely to discover what happens to the characters.' Read full review >
  • Jan Kirkcaldy - 'Oh dear – could there really be such a mother in the world?  As I read this fascinating yet somewhat scary book I sincerely hoped not.' Read full review >
  • Gill Wilmott - 'The further I got into the book the more involved I became with the characters and the more time I put routine chores aside and curled up with it!I would unreservedly recommend this book.' Read full review >
  • Steph Harding - 'The ending is shocking and a nail biting read. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more by this author. A great debut – couldn’t be better.' Read full review >
  • Alex Hetherington - 'For fans of Gone Girl, this is an enthralling tale, where the mysteries all center from within the Hurst family. There are many mysteries left unturned but all of them come back to the mother.' Read full review >
  • Elena Robertson - 'This book is a thrilling roller coaster ride of emotions and a look inside the lives of a family dysfunctional to the core.' Read full review >
  • Maxine Broadbent - 'Please read this book.  It is fabulous.  The story of Violet, her younger brother Will and missing elder sister Rose, all struggling with an alcoholic father and a dominating mother is brilliant.' Read full review >
  • Caroline Mathews - 'A page-turning psychological thriller that is uncomfortable to read but utterly mesmerising.' Read full review >
  • Carla Senior - 'I really enjoyed this book and found it quite compelling. It was interesting to see the different perspectives that Will and Violet had on the other family members.' Read full review >
  • Marta Sloma - 'And the Award for the Dysfunctional Family of the Year goes to… The Hursts!' Read full review >
  • Nicola Foster - 'Mother, Mother is an enthralling story of secrets and lies, featuring the most severely dysfunctional family unit I have ever read about.' Read full review >
  • Francesca Ashurst - ' I doubt that I have ever encountered a character as twisted as Josephine. The scariest aspect though is how terrifyingly ‘normal’ she appears and how easily I was drawn into her world.' Read full review >
  • Debbie Patrick - 'Mother, Mother is the terrifying and page-turning story of a mother’s love gone too far, and the introduction of a commanding new voice in fiction.' Read full review >
  • Rosemary Williams - ' was disappointed to find that although it was quite a good plot I felt that too much was given away early on and I had guessed most of the outcome quite quickly.' Read full review >
  • Jennifer Stoddart - 'For me this psychological thriller, didn’t….' Read full review >
  • Judi Davies - 'Mother Mother is a tense and terrifying psychological thriller..' Read full review >

Mother, Mother Press Reviews

Praise for SMASHED:


'Beautifully written, oddly affecting...
India Knight, The Sunday Times

'One of the most original and brutally honest memoirs I've read in a long while. Koren is a writer's writer - and she wipes the floor with any of her contemporaries'
Helen Walsh, author of Brass

'It is a testament to Zailckas's hard, fast, clever writing that Smashed grips from beginning to end'
The Guardian

'Well and fiercely written'
Hilary Mantel, The Sunday Telegraph

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780007547401
Publication date: 13/03/2014
Publisher: Harper an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780007547388
Publication date: 16/01/2014
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780007547401
Publication date: 13th March 2014
Author: Koren Zailckas
Publisher: Harper an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 364 pages
Genres: Reader Reviewed Books, Debuts of the Month, Family Drama, Literary Fiction, Relationship Stories,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),

About Koren Zailckas

Koren Zailckas is an internationally bestselling writer, and has contributed to the Guardian, U.S. News & World Report, Glamour, Jane and Seventeen magazine. She currently lives with her family in the Catskills mountains of New York.   Author photo © Eamon Hamilton    

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