Cover Image: The Mother's Mistake

The Mother's Mistake

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Claire Hughes had a really tough experience three years ago. She has risen above it and now gets a chance to have a very good life with husband Matt and baby daughter Olivia. Claire and Matt have moved into a new home and are blessed with a warm, affectionate marriage.

However, Claire really is not doing well. For starters, they are living in Matt's grandmother's home and his mother will not allow Claire to make it her own. What is worse is that Claire feels very inadequate as a mother, and has a difficult time bonding with Olivia. Things in the home seem unsettled, off at times. Then, when a note comes through her letterbox, saying that she doesn't deserve Olivia, Claire nearly falls apart.

Throughout the entire story, we have two viewpoints, that of Claire, and that of an nnamed narrator. At least one of the woman has completely fallen apart, and has experienced unspeakable angst. It is rather tragic to read.

This was a compelling read that I devoured from cover-to-cover in one sitting. I am a grandmother of several, with a newborn grandson the age of Olivia, so with some of the things that Claire was experiencing, I kept relating to young mothers. I think for none other reason that I am a very sensitive person, and thus, a sensitive reader. I do appreciate very much that the author included real feelings of insecurity where a new mother is concerned.

It became quite apparent early on that Claire had a stalker, and that certainly did not make her life any easier. As the pages passed by, I figured out who it was, but clearly understood how Claire could be fooled. What didn't help matters much was just how awful Matt's mother was. Matt did try as a husband and new father, but he gave me cause for concern at times.

I loved this book! A Mother's Mistake was a great debut novel for Ruth Heald. I do look forward to reading more of her work in the future.

One of my favorite features in books is the acknowledgements or letters from the author, and this book contained a letter. It provides great insight as to why Ms. Heald wrote the book and I think brought great awareness to post-natal depression. 

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.
Was this review helpful?
Dark, disturbing and full of non predictable twists and turns, I thoroughly enjoyed this read. It started explosively and then continued at speed, grabbed my attention immediately and didn’t let go. Highly recommended.
Was this review helpful?
Found this book absolutely great! Will be posting full review on the blog very shortly. Catching up soon on all my reviews!
Was this review helpful?
The Mother’s Mistake is a chilling and at times disturbing thriller that I enjoyed in a day.
Claire seems to have a fantastic life, doting husband, gorgeous new baby and in-laws that have let you live in their separate cottage rent free until her husbands vet practice gets established and they can afford their own place.
There were a lot of twists and turns in this chilling thriller and I had an inkling who and what the perpetrator was but not how it unfolded so I was really glad of that. This book is written really well I do think that it could have been shortened as there was a lot of setting the scene at the beginning but maybe that was necessary but after reading it I don’t think so. Every couple of chapters there are a few pages from someone’s life and it’s not until two thirds of the way in that I cottoned on to whose life it was. 
An enjoyable read and will definitely be reading more by Ruth Heald.
I would like to thank Netgalley and Bookouture for this ARC I received in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Claire and Matt are happily married but Claire is struggling with their new born baby......a tale seemingly oft told in psychological thrillers (you begin to wonder if anyone Isn’t suffering from PND) however in this book have to say the research into the condition paid off as the description of Claire’s emotions are very real and I gained an understanding of how dehabilitating, confusing and consuming this really is....
Moving on Claire and Matt have secrets and pasts and actually move back to the Oxford village where Matt’s are yet to be laid to rest, they move into Matts Nan’s cottage opposite his Mum and Dad.....Ruth, Matt’s Mum is wonderful, as a baddie, I just loved her and her sniffy ways and comments but she makes Claire’s life hell.....then things begin to happen, notes appear, things go missing, Claire meets a new friend who encourages her to ‘have a drink’ and things rapidly get out of hand, add to the mix a back story of harrowing and graphic marital abuse and the book is a perfect psychological chiller thriller, plenty of twists and as a reader I really wasn’t sure what was going to happen next, no ‘lax’ chapters where nothing happens and the story moves ever more swiftly to a set of intense endings where all circles meet up
A really good read, had me guessing and kept me interested all the way through
My only criticism is Claire’s ability to feel faint at the slightest turn of events, mildly offputting but not enough to not give this book the score it deserves
10/10 5 Stars
Was this review helpful?
A thriller which was superbly written. The journey was slow, but what an ending. It was very addictive and you wanted to know what was happening all the time. I love it when I think I know whats going on but I really don't.!! I will definatley be looking for more of Ruths books.
Was this review helpful?
𝔘𝔫𝔰𝔢𝔱𝔱𝔩𝔦𝔫𝔤. 𝔘𝔫𝔠𝔬𝔪𝔣𝔬𝔯𝔱𝔞𝔟𝔩𝔢. 𝔘𝔫𝔭𝔲𝔱𝔡𝔬𝔴𝔫𝔞𝔟𝔩𝔢.

   Ruth Heald has written a dark disturbing thriller that had me suspicious of everybody. Claire, her husband Matt, and her infant daughter Olivia move to the country and take up residency in Matt’s family‘s cottage. Claires desire for a new idyllic life in the country is quickly derailed. Not only is her cottage full of her husband’s deceased grandmother’s belongings, but she is constantly under the scrutiny of her mother-in-law. When things start getting moved around and she begins hearing things in the night Claire becomes unsettled. Top that off with Claire struggling with postpartum depression, Claire is quickly becoming unhinged. So who is out to destroy Claire’s perfect life and her mind in the process? There is also a second storyline about a abused wife that appears to be completely disconnected.

   This was a slow burner with an explosive ending! Heald’s addictive writing style completely sucked me into Claire’s claustrophobic life. For the most part I was very sympathetic of Claire’s circumstances. Being a mother is hard and never is quite as glorious as you imagined it to be before you have kids. Sleep deprivation, being responsible for a tiny human, the feedings, the changings, all the crying, and to be struggling with postpartum depression on top of that would put anyone on edge. As sympathetic as I was towards Claire I was also suspicious. Just what was Claire running from in her past? And how much of what was going on was reality and how much was a figment of Claire’s imagination? She was definitely not the only one I was suspicious of I was pretty much suspicious of every single character in the story. Everyone seem to have some kind of secret to keep and everyone acted suspiciously at one time or another. And then there was the second storyline that I knew was connected, but how?

   The ending to this book was wild and unexpected, but it tied everything together so perfectly. I was pretty sure I knew The Who, but I certainly had no idea of the why. A well told perfectly plotted thriller that had me completely invested.

*** many thanks to Bookouture for my copy of this book ***
Was this review helpful?
Wow ! The Mother's Mistake is a gem of a book,a very well written psychological thriller that had me gripped from the first page.Claire thinks she has it all,a new baby a loving husband and a cottage in the country,so why can't she be happy and bond with her baby Olivia ? Is it because her past just won't let her be happy ? With an interfering mother in law to deal with also Claire finds her life running out of control.But salvation seems at hand with her new best friend Emma,although I guessed who the culprit was quite early in the book it didn't detract from how a good a book this is and it really is an excellent 5 star thriller.
Was this review helpful?
Forgiveness is a tough one, isn't it? People usually say that, to move on from something, you have to learn to forgive the person involved. But what happens if that person involved is...yourself? How can you forgive yourself for something when guilt overrides any logical thinking? Like I say, it's a tough one and unfortunately for Claire, that was exactly the situation she found herself in.

Moving to the countryside was supposed to be a fresh start for them all. A new home, a new baby, a new life - what's not to like? Claire's relationship with her mother in law is hanging by a thread, and it doesn't help that Claire cannot get one minutes' peace from her sticking her nose in as the mother in law lives next door!

'The Mother's Mistake' is such a satisfying and gripping novel - I wasn't expecting the storyline to be what it was at all! Ruth Heald nails the psychological element of the book, and at times I felt like my head was spinning out of control due to not knowing which way to turn. Who do I believe? What do I believe? I really didn't know.

This story is told via different points of view which, in my opinion, increases the depth of the novel as I felt I got to see different sides to each of the characters. I would say that, at times, the pace was a little bit too slow and unforgiving, however when the storyline peaked it blew the slowness out of the water.

'The Mother's Mistake' is a very, very impressive read which kept me on my toes until the very end. It's clear that Ruth Heald is a talented writer who knows which buttons of her readers she needs to push in order to get a reaction. This book was definitely one of those buttons!
Was this review helpful?
Matt’s mother Ruth has offered her recently deceased mothers cottage, for him, Claire and Olivia to live in rent they take her up on the offer, which will give them time to save for a deposit on their own home. They move from busy London to a lovely village……

But, the cottage is just behind Ruth and Jacks home and she keeps letting herself in and refusing to clear her mother’s belongings, so the cottage is cluttered, causing more stress for an already worried Claire….

Matt is busy setting up his new veterinary practice and is away from home for long hours and Claire, who used to be a journalist, is struggling with caring for Olivia…she does have a new friend in Emma with baby Lizzie but continues to feel she cannot cope and worries she isn’t bonding with Olivia…

Then she gets a note, someone knows her past, her secret……and so the tension starts to build.

Claire’s sense of paranoia continues, strange noises, things being moved in the house…she’s just tired…isn’t she?

Matt becomes worried about her and so after seeing a doctor, Claire is diagnosed with post natal depression…Emma is so supportive, her only friend!

The chapters of the unknown woman and the horrific abuse she is suffering at the hands of her husband were hard to read……I wondered where the link between the two stories was……there’s a shock I wasn’t expecting !!!!

The Mother’s Mistake is a tense, compelling and at times brutal read, with many twists….the final reveal will leave you speechless….Brilliant writing by Ruth Heald…I loved every minute…

Thank you to Bookouture, the author and NetGalley for a free copy of the ebook  in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Bookouture for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘The Mother’s Mistake’ by Ruth Heald in exchange for an honest review.

Claire and her husband , Matt, with their baby Olivia have left London to move back to the village where Matt grew up. They are actually living in Matt’s recently deceased grandmother’s cottage next door to Matt’s parents. Ruth, Matt’s mother, is very critical towards Claire. 

Add to Ruth being the mother-in-law from Hell - Matt is working long hours setting up his new veterinary practice and Olivia seems to spend all day and night screaming. There is also clearly something from Claire’s past distressing her (some hints provided in the Prologue) so it’s no wonder that Claire is on the road to post-natal depression.

As this is a psychological thriller I won’t say more in order to avoid spoilers.

At times I found Claire’s behaviour very frustrating though I expect my not being a mother contributed to this (though I have had experience with unsupportive mother-in-laws).

As promised this had plenty of satisfying twists and proved to be a very engaging read from start to finish. Certainly impressed with Ruth Heald’s skill in crafting an impressive psychological thriller and hope to read more of her works.
Was this review helpful?
The Mother’s Mistake 
by Ruth Heald 
Published:  June 11, 2019 by Bookouture 
Dates Read:  June 9, 2019 
Genre/Category:  Psychological Thrillers  
Read For:   ARC from Netgalley for Review 
5   stars 
OMG   Why is this book NOT all over the internet right now?   Psychological thrillers are so extremely popular, I’m shocked this one didn’t pop up in my radar long before its publication date.  Ruth Heald may not be a household name, but it will be after this book.  
This is the story about Claire, married, new baby, trying to get away from the city, trying to get away from the terrible mistake she made years ago that continues to haunt her. She and her husband decide to go live in the country at her in-laws, where they own a cottage on their property.  But once Claire gets there, she doesn’t feel the freedom that she longed for, she feels like someone is watching her and that someone is intentionally moving things around in the cottage.  When a note is passed through her mail slot saying that she doesn’t deserve her daughter, Claire’s feels like her past has caught up with her, and she has nowhere to turn.  With a husband who is never home while setting up a new business, and a mother in law who is extremely judgmental, Claire has no one she can trust, and nobody seems to believe her.   

This book was amazing from page one, as soon as you start, you will not be able to put it down because it draws you in so fast.  It's extremely fast paced, and I was able to read it in one sitting.  (Part of that was because it was so good, I was completely consumed). There is an alternate voice in the story, approximately every other chapter, and it doesn’t tell you the same story as Claire.  In fact, the alternate voice is telling you a completely different story, and you will spend the entire novel trying to figure out who this person is and how these two tales intertwine.  I will tell you right now, you won't find out until the end, and when you do, you will never have seen it coming.  
I try so hard with every psychological thriller to figure out who the culprit is before I reach the story’s ending.  I will be honest; I had a really good idea who the “bad guy” was and I know most of you will as well.  Trust me, having this knowledge does not affect the book at all, because having an idea of WHO this person is; is very different than knowing the WHY.   At no point in this novel will you figure out the WHY until the very end.  This one was a stumper; I just couldn’t put it all together, but that’s because you really don’t find out all the facts until you finish the book.   

The premise behind this story is brilliant.  What Ruth Heald did, and how she was able to form a story around these characters while leaving out such simple details about them was amazing. You don’t even notice until the end, when everything comes together, that there were certain things and details that we just normally overlooked and accepted as ok, until we become aware of them.   (I would be more specific, but in doing so, I would point out said details, and then you it may spoil things for you).  Probably one of the best things about this novel is that it takes the direction of your typical psychological thriller story-line, but ends in a completely unexpected twist that you could not have possibly imagined, truly a shocker.  At this point you realize how much thought really went into creating this story, because the backstory is so unique. The suspense in this one is gripping. I can't say much more about it without telling you the entire awesome story and ruining it for you.  What a brilliant debut for this author.   It's not easy for me to give out 5 stars, I am extremely stingy, but The Mother’s Mistake deserves them.  I hope Ruth Heald has more like this in her, because I will be first in line for the next one.  

Thank You so much to NetGalley and Bookouture for the ARC of The Mother’s Mistake for an unbiased and honest review.
Was this review helpful?
The author wrote a thriller that started with a bang and just kept going!  The twists kept coming, so I couldn't put it down.  I cannot wait to read more from this author!
Was this review helpful?
Oh this was good.

If you like your books dark and twisty with strong characters then this book is for you. Be warned you won't want to stop once you start it.

Although I guessed the "who" the why was an OMG moment I didn't work out.

Loved it and won't hesitate to recommend this to friends.

Look forward to reading more from this author.
Was this review helpful?
Are mothers allowed to make mistakes?

We know they do make mistakes. Of course, they do. Mothers are human beings. But that is something we tend to forget. Even the mothers themselves forget about it. Why? Because society shows us amazing moms-to-be still doing yoga two weeks before their due date. Mothers walking in heels and wearing the brightest smile. Maybe only mothers glowing with happiness, looking at their upbringing with adoration. So we make them the perfect example of what mothers should be like.

My mother is a super-hero. I learned it a long time ago. She always knew how to soothe my fears and cries. With one look, she could tell whether I was happy, sad, ill, uneasy. She still can, but I no longer put pressure on her to be my rock. It takes adulthood to see mothers with their flaws, to consider them again as people, not just your umbrella against the world. Yet, my mother herself can’t take off that coat of responsibilities. When we grow up, they grow up with us, and their role changes, but never leaves them.

The Mother’s Mistake. What a catchy title! Simple but efficient. To the point. You have an immediate idea of where you’re going. Or so you think!

Matt, Claire, and baby Olivia are off to a new life, away from London. What better than the countryside and a cottage right next to Matt’s parents to offer your daughter a lovely childhood? I noticed it immediately. ‘Perfect’ A two-syllable word that can make or break you. Usually, yes, it breaks you. Trust me, I’m a perfectionist! Right away, I felt Claire’s will to create the perfect (see, that word again!) life for her family. I thought why not. Isn’t that what we all want?

Except perfect doesn’t take into account a mother-in-law who has her own ideas about how things should be done, a busy husband, and a past to hunt them all on top of a baby with needs and a personality that you must learn how to bond with. How’s that for a good programme?

When I remembered this was a psychological thriller and not women fiction, I wondered how the author would manage to tackle motherhood, a (possibly deadly) mystery, and enough room for characterisation. Soon, it became evident that Ruth Heald knows what she is doing!

Claire struggles to adjust to her new role of mother. Details on why are subtly scattered throughout the novel, as we watch Claire fight the muddy waters she finds herself in. There is no handbook about motherhood. Well, yes, there are many, but in a remote place, with only your baby as company, old scars itching and waiting at the back of your head for the first opportunity to jump back and make your life hell, you can’t be expected to be the perfect mother (we shouldn’t be expected to be perfect anyway!) The demands put on mothers are awfully heavy and I found that Ruth Heald dealt with postnatal depression in a very caring, non-judgemental way. It is important for us to read about it, yes, even in fiction. I learn how to be a better person (or how to always suspect the husband!!) when reading. What better way to give you an example of what women go through than with a character you can connect to? The intensity of the issue between Claire and Olivia only grows as other elements are thrown into the mix: a new friend, an old ex. Claire doesn’t know who she is, what she can be, and she unwillingly clings to a past that devours her. Yet, her unreliability didn’t feel like it was coming from her. Let me explain. Yes, she gets diagnosed, yes, she has a problem with alcohol that I totally couldn’t forgive (but that’s just my own past haunting me, see how the author gets to talk to every reader through all the little things she puts in her novel, including part of her heart!) but there was something off, something that kept whispering ‘she’s not crazy’ Weird cracking sounds, a threatening note, a suspicious behaviour from her husband and his family, you can’t blame Claire for all of this! I knew there was a chance she was misreading everything, and I was kept on the edge, but deep down, I knew Claire was not just chasing shadows.

With a darkening sky above her head, Claire falls deeper and deeper into a hole that seems to have been dug just for her… while in different chapters, a woman is fighting another battle. No name, sketchy details of her life, but those chapters are just as intense, painful, and they feel so real that, had I been holding a physical book, the pages would have shaken with all the feelings I was holding! I ended up guessing the who, but never could I have imagined the why, and for this, I must thank the author!!!
The Mother’s Mistake has such a force at its core, it reunites all kinds of secrets, it drives guilt to the highest point, it gives suspicion a bitter taste, it makes you run in circles until you reach the point where past and present clash in emotional and powerful fireworks. Absorbing and totally brilliant, Ruth Heald’s book is one not to miss!
Was this review helpful?
‘Claire has everything she’s always wanted. A new-born baby. A doting husband by her side. A picturesque home in the countryside.

But behind closed doors, Claire’s life is falling apart…’

Ruth Heald’s debut is an assured, well written psychological thriller that had me gripped from the ominous prologue. Claire is struggling to bond with her new born baby and to settle into her new life. Characters are so vividly drawn I really felt for Claire who is so hard on herself for not feeling attached to her baby but she cares for her beautifully and always puts her first, and I was infuriated with her mother-in-law on her behalf, and her husband who is often away. Sections written by another anonymous woman add to the intrigue and the author is great at making you question who to believe. Towards the end I thought I had it sussed but a huge twist took the story in another direction. Clever plotting and characterisation made this a really satisfying book and the writing is so skilled. It also sheds a light on postpartum depression and how a person can question their judgement. Ruth Heald is an author whose next book I am looking forward to already.
Was this review helpful?
Claire and Matt have just moved house. They lived in the city both having successful careers but when a baby came along they moved into a house belonging to Matt’s mother that was originally his grandmothers. Claire is struggling with motherhood. All the things she thought it would be are not and she is finding it increasingly difficult not helped by that Ruth has promised to clear it out and hasn’t done a thing. The house was promised rent free until they could save a deposit for one of their own. Ruth, Matt’s mother comes and goes as she pleases as“its my house” and Claire keeps finding things have moved which Matt at times doesn’t believe on the basis that she was ill before and is worried that this is a recurrence. In occasional sections we get the story of a woman who is beaten and controlled by her husband so much so that she doesn't go out, has no friends and is not allowed interaction with others. We don’t know who this is. Claire was keener to move than Matt. Does he have a reason for this as he has told Claire little about his childhood? There is an undercurrent of various tensions even within the early stages of this book. Ruth- is she trying to help or has she another motive? Matt and his past. Claire and her illness and losing a baby beforehand. This is a very well written piece and one that makes you slightly anxious (or at least it did me!). I thought I knew who the culprit was but not why. A clever well researched book.
Was this review helpful?
The book starts with a chilling prologue, told in the point of view of an unknown character, where the reader is faced head on with the tragic death of a child. Right from this moment, I knew I was going to be taken on an emotional journey and I definitely was! The story then picks three years later.

Leaving their hectic lives in London behind for a quieter life in the countryside, life should be perfect for Claire, Matt and their new born daughter Olivia. But the move is not as perfect as Claire hoped. The cottage they have moved to, was Matt’s grandmothers and as it still holds her possessions, Claire struggles to make it feel like home. Her mother-in-law Ruth, who used to be so lovely to her, has turned cold, which has started to cause tension in her marriage to Matt. But the worst of it is that Claire is not bonding with Olivia. She starts to feel so alone, and with his focus on opening a new business, she can’t rely on Matt. Ruth’s sudden coldness also means she can’t turn to her. To makes matters worse Ruth re-introduces Matt’s ex-girlfriend Sarah into the mix and somehow convinces him to hire Sarah as his new receptionist.

Then Claire meets single mother Emma. The two quickly bond and Emma becomes someone Claire can confide in. However, Claire is still struggling, and things feel like they are going from bad to worse. Matt is working late every night with Sarah and soon Claire cannot handle the stress of looking after Olivia. She then slips back into depression and paranoia, which was one of the reasons they moved to start afresh. Then Claire receives a hateful note, that says she does not deserve her daughter. Fearful that a tragic mistake from her past is coming back to haunt her, this could just be the last straw that is going to tip her over the edge.

We are also given a subplot told from the perspective of another unknown character, that adds another layer to the story. A woman who is being psychically abused by her husband, you wonder where this is heading but never fear, it is all tied up in a thrilling finale and you are not left hanging.

Ruth excels in how to get a reader’s attention right from the start, and she does not let go until the final page. I can’t wait to see what else she comes up with next in the psychological thriller genre.

If you love a story that will have you hooked right from the start and keeps you enthralled throughout, then this is definitely the book for you.

Do I recommend this book:

Absolutley! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thank-you to NetGalley, Bookouture and Ruth Heald for allowing me to read an advanced copy of The Mother’s Mistake in exchange for an honest review.

All opinions are my own and are not biased in anyway.
Was this review helpful?
Every good psychological thriller needs a twist. "The Mother's Mistake" featured a huge twist that I definitely didn't see coming. The entire story was eerie and creepy - I swear I started hearing spooky creaking noises in my own house as Claire heard them in the cottage. Claire is a new mom with postpartum depression, and she's having marriage troubles on top of that. After moving to a new area - next to her husband's parents - she's dismayed when her husband spends most of his time at work setting up his new business with his first employee, who happens to be an ex-girlfriend. Claire is certain he's cheating on her, and someone is sending her threatening messages and making her think she's going crazy. Could it be her husband? Her husband's mother, who obviously wishes her son had married his old girlfriend? Or her husband's ex, who still wants to make a family with him? The only bright spot in Claire's life is her new best friend, who becomes her trusted confidante. Her new best friend might be the only person who can save her.
Was this review helpful?
Claire is a new mother who is struggling to cope with motherhood.  Moving away from London to where her husband grew up and into his late grandmother’s house doesn’t really help the situation.  Claire’s mother-in-law, who lives next door, has never really liked her and doesn’t think she is good enough for her son.  With her husband working every hour to enable them to buy their own home Claire feels very lonely.  When strange things begin to happen in the house and threatening letters are posted through the door, Claire has no idea who could be behind it.  Has she made a big mistake moving from her home?

This is the first book which I’ve read by this author.  The book did begin slowly, but as it moved on so did the pace of the book.  You have to feel sorry for Claire, the main character.  Being a new mum is never easy, but when you have to move away to somewhere new and have an interfering mother-in-law who’s never liked you anyway, it’s even worse.  Whilst my heart went out to Claire, I have to admit that the nature of the story did have me wondering if it really was someone out to make Claire think she was going mad, or was Claire actually suffering from some sort of post-natal paranoia?  Either way, the story was gripping and it made for a really uneasy read!  The suspense and tension kept me turning the pages quickly to find out what was going on.

There were lots of twists, turns, red herrings and dead ends and these combined together certainly kept me on my toes trying to work out who was behind it all, if anyone!  The secret from Claire’s past was nicely played out and when the big reveal comes, all ends are nicely tied into place!  The other characters, whilst not necessarily likeable, all fitted into the story perfectly to give it that perfectly chilled edge!  Told from Claire’s point of view and also from an anonymous person, this story left me not knowing who to trust and feeling more uneasy about everything than Claire was!!

Full of lies, deceit and revenge, this is a very good psychological thriller which you won’t want to put down!  Would definitely recommend!
Was this review helpful?