Cover Image: The Mother's Mistake

The Mother's Mistake

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Member Reviews

What a brilliant title - that drew me in straight away! She me a mother who doesn't think she's made mistakes - we all know it's impossible to be a perfect parent. Immediately, Claire was someone I wanted to know and support. The whole set-up is brilliant - moving into a house next door to a hostile mother-in-law, crammed full of a dead woman's possessions and a husband working all hours to set up a new vet's practice. Poor Claire - and if that wasn't enough, baby Olivia is a grumpy, unsettled baby. 

I don't want to spoil this treat of a book, suffice to say it's tense and unsettling and had me mistrusting every single character at some point. There is also a mystery story that runs alongside and it's not until right near the end that we actually understand its relevance. So clever! And ultimately, so sad.

An extremely well written and satisfying read, that will have you staying up late turning the pages.
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3.5 rounded up

The Mother's Mistake surprised me with its tight plot and pace and unpredictable twist. The only fault would be the Claire's character that was annoying and couldn't save herself at times, considering she was a journalist (and a persistent one at that), it irritated me to no end.

However, I really like the writing and how I kept guessing until the end. Truly remarkable.
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This is the type of book that I can’t say too much about without giving away spoilers. But this book surprised me several times! I love good mystery, thrillers, suspense books and this one was great! 4/5
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This is a great read. 
Claire moves to her mother in law’s cottage with her husband to start again, but soon gets the feeling that she’s not wanted there. 
With a tiny baby to care for she expected the cottage to be welcoming, but her mother in law had not even cleared out her late mother’s belongings. 
Claire tries to move on and work her way through all the clutter but with a husband who is always at work, and her mother in law as a neighbour, she starts to struggle. 
Claire meets Emma, another mum in the area and life starts to look more promising, until, things start being moved around the house and Claire receives a nasty note. 
Her marriage is in trouble and Claire doubts her ability to look after Olivia and even though her husband is worried about her, she doesn’t know who to trust. 
Events build up to a frightening climax and I couldn’t put the book down!
This is an addictive psychological thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat. 
Thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.
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The presentation of this gripping psychological thriller takes on a popular style of a 'past' and a 'present' but also throws in an unusual viewpoint of an unknown narrator, set in italic type at the end of many of the chapters.  Who is the anonymous voice?  There are several contenders and I switched my decision as to whose voice this is on more than one occasion, until eventually we are presented with what has led to the situation Claire has found herself in.
Matt and Claire find themselves in what should be a picture perfect scenario in rural England: new home in Matt's late grandmother's cottage with the support of Matt's parents just next door, new baby Olivia is perfect and very much wanted by both her parents.  But Claire is struggling to cope with the challenges of new motherhood while Matt spends long hours away from home setting up his new vet practice, so much so that Claire eventually wonders whether her dream of country living is actually a nightmare which she should abandon in favour of a life back in London.
All the time the unknown voice keeps chipping in and I could feel Claire's confusion and desperation so strongly, I felt quite concerned for her at various points in the story.  Eventually the book works to a climax and the mists clear to expose the owner of the voice, the connections between what Claire has been going through and the past which has been lurking in her subconscious.
The descriptions of Claire's post natal depression are very realistic and the loneliness and paranoia she describes are something I feel many new mums will be able to relate to during those early days of sleep depravation and endless rounds of breast feeding.  There are a couple of scenes in the book which some people will find upsetting and I found myself with a tear in my eye on more than one occasion.
I found this to be an emotional read which had me wanting explanations on Claire's behalf and to give her in-laws a good shake!
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I really enjoyed the back and forth between past and present during the alternating chapters. Characters felt real and flawed and I genuinely liked the 'twist' that was presented. Overall very enjoyable.
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The past comes back to haunt Claire, who despite her perfect life, has a secret that could unravel her happiness. 
 She is married to Matt with a beautiful daughter, Olivia - they have moved into his grandmother's old house to help him with his vet practice.  There's also Matt's mother, Ruth, who does not appear to like Claire at all and is rude and downright hateful.  Things begin to happen - including threatening letters arriving that know Claire doesn't deserve her perfect life - and she starts losing her grip on her sanity.
I really enjoyed this psychological thriller!  It was a little slow in the beginning but picked up for me.  Definitely 3.5/5 stars!
Thanks to Ruth Heald, Bookouture and NetGalley for the ARC of this book!
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Wow! This book kidnapped me and held me hostage. There was no escaping. I just could not put it down.

The author certainly opened a big can of psychology and poured a rich emotional sauce over it. 

She lets us wander around in the culprit's mind and the whole way through you wonder who the 'italic person' is. You feel for her as well as for Claire. 

How will this come together? Is there a connection between them? And if there is, which one?

OMG, I am so jealous of you all, the future readers of this book, because you still have to start with this gem, but I can't complain of course. I already was under it's spell and I loved it. 5 shiny stars.

Thank you, Ruth Heald, Bookouture and Netgalley.
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Received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a honest review. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I felt like this was a pretty straight forward book, there was no surprises or twists. Or at least not for me...the ending might be a surprise for someone else, but I sorta guessed it in the beginning. That being said, it’s a good book if you’re looking for something to read in a day or two
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The past comes back to haunt Claire in this nicely done debut about a woman who has a big bad secret.  Her life should be great- she's married to Matt and has a wonderful baby daughter Olivia.  The worm in the apple is that they've moved to Matt's old home for his vet practice and they're living in his grandmother's house- which is filled with her things.  And, there's Matt's mother, Ruth.  She's not very nice.  Now weird things are happening and the question is whether they're real or if Claire is losing it.  No spoilers!  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  A good read!
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She runs past the tinkling of children’s laughter that fills the park. Heart hammering, she reaches the riverbank, breath catching in her throat as her eyes take in the small body, tangled in the reeds, pale and lifeless.

Three years later.

Claire’s life is picture perfect. A new home in the countryside. A new-born baby. A doting husband by her side. But behind closed doors, it’s a different story. And when a threatening note is posted through her letterbox, saying she doesn’t deserve her daughter, it’s clear that someone knows… Someone knows that Claire doesn’t deserve her perfect life. Someone’s going to make sure of it.

The Mother's Mistake does start off a little slow but boy is it worth the burn! The plot and twists were so good, especially at the end! I'm so glad I got the chance to read it.

Thank you #NetGalley for the ARC of #TheMothersMistake
Pub Date: 11 Jun 2019
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I give this a solid 3.5/5 stars. The beginning was a little slow and many of the characters were very unlikable, but overall, this was a solid thriller/suspense. I really enjoyed the husband-wife dynamic and the mother-in-law was just terrific. Seasoned thriller novel readers will figure out what’s going on by the halfway point, but it was still very enjoyable.
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A psychological thriller my favourite genre !!!!!!
A slow burner but not for too long. At first I found the main character Clare weak and very annoying but as I read more and realised what was actually happening my heart went out to this character. A busy read which in places had me holding my breath and even had the hairs standing up on the back of my neck. I read this book in one sitting, finally turning the last page at Plenty of twists and turns and the climax blew me away. Almost five stars and so Highly Recommended. 
I would like to thank the author, Bookouture and Netgalley for the ARC in return for giving an honest review.
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Claire is a brand new mother who is struggling to connect to her daughter, Olivia. Recently relocated to a family cabin of her husband’s, Claire feels out of touch and increasingly alienated from the world around her. Olivia is impossible to manage, her husband, Matt, is never home, and her nosy mother-in-law appears to be doing everything she can to put a wedge between their marriage.

With all the stress she’s under, it’s not surprising then that Claire succumbs to post-natal depression and a resurgence to drink after years of being sober. Her life at the cottage becomes increasingly dark as she begins to fear for both her life and that of her child’s. Is someone stalking her? Is she paranoid?

Heald weaves a compelling narrative that makes it difficult to tell who to trust, both for Claire and the reader. As is common with psychological thrillers, Claire is not a reliable narrator. It works well for the plot because a great portion of this story will force the reader to battle with the protagonist. Are we on Claire’s side or not? Do we believe her or do we think she’s losing her grip?

As a thriller, The Mother’s Mistake works well on multiple levels. The tension is palpable. It’s hard to know who to trust. And there are enough chilling moments to keep you glued to the page and eager to know what comes next.

However, there are a few weaknesses that kept me from giving this a full five stars. I think this book was too long. There were some chapters where the pacing began to slow. At times I felt as if I was being dragged around in circles. Claire would often contend with the same battles over and over again to the point it became repetitive. It could have done with another round of pruning to make it sharper and increase the sense of urgency to find out what was going to happen to Claire and Olivia.

I also found the main twist too predictable from an early point in the novel. That said, there was a supplemental twist I hadn’t entirely pieced together that flowed quite nicely. Overall, I was pleased with the outcome because it did feel well-plotted.

Still, there was also a sub-plot involving Matt and his ex that took up a significant portion of the story and ultimately didn’t amount to much. I wish it had tied into the main thread more.


Yes. The Mother’s Mistake is a stunning debut into the thriller genre from author Ruth Heald. She knows Claire inside and out, and the story shows it. If you’re someone who reads psychological thrillers on the regular, you won’t be disappointed by this one.

Heald has a knack for building in her atmosphere through slow, creeping reveals. When Claire is frightened, you’ll be frightened. When Claire is on the brink of discovery, you’ll have your fingers trembling over the next page in an eager rush to see what comes next.

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Thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for an advanced review copy. This book was very enjoyable and I could barely stop turning page after page to find out what was happening. Interesting and different story full of unexpected twists! I enjoyed it!
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I honestly don't know where to begin with this review, the book blew me away that much. In a word - WOW! 

As a reader, I was torn in so many directions with it I didn't know how to feel. As a domestic violence survivor, I was ripped apart and felt a myriad of emotions for the "unnamed narrator" in her narrative. As I am not a mother, I cannot relate to the complete and utter helplessness Claire felt. I can only imagine. In a nutshell, THE MOTHER'S MISTAKE is brilliant!  

So where DO I begin?

Claire and her husband Matt make the move from busy London to a village outside Oxford with their two month old daughter Olivia to be nearer Matt's parents. His mother has offered them the use of her mother's cottage, rent-free, while they save for their own house. It seems the ideal solution particularly as Matt is busy setting up his new vet practice. Overall, Claire seems to have the perfect life. Perfect husband, beautiful baby daughter and a new start to their lives. 

But Claire has a secret. Something from her past that has haunted her for three years. It almost destroyed her once before, and as it comes back to haunt her once again, will it succeed in destroying her this time? 

It isn't long before Claire's life starts to spiral out of control and becomes a living nightmare. Strange things begin happening, she feels she is being watched and she finds things being displaced around the house. Is she being paranoid or is someone really after her? Maybe she is just overtired and imagining things. After all, she is hardly getting any sleep while Matt snores endlessly every night with earplugs in, oblivious to her fears and Olivia's constant screams. It's no wonder she is exhausted. 

Of course, it doesn't help that Matt's mum is constantly interfering - walking into their home uninvited, declaring "it is MY house, Claire" or always inviting Matt's ex-girlfriend around. Nor is Matt helping by not standing up to his mother and supporting his wife. In fact, he spends most of the time at the surgery with his new employee, ex-girlfriend Sarah (at the suggestion of Matt's mother, of course), while Claire is left at home alone all day with a screaming Olivia who just refuses to settle. 

When new-mum Emma befriends her, Claire finally feels she has someone who can understand her struggles as a new mother. But Emma makes motherhood look so easy that it only serves to make Claire feel even more inferior as a mother. Being a new mum is hard and while she is finding it hard to bond with Olivia she sometimes feel she doesn't love her as she should. Maybe this is what she deserves...for what she did three years ago. Thank goodness she has Emma to confide in. Her only friend in this small and isolated village. She should have Matt, but he's too busy with his new practice...and Sarah. 

Soon Claire begins to doubt Matt's fidelity. Why IS he spending all those hours so late into the night at the practice? Why is he not home with his wife, whom he knows is struggling? He saw what she went through three years before and how it nearly killed her, so why is he so dismissive of her and spending all God's waking hours at the surgery with his ex-girlfriend when he clearly knows she is not coping? When he knows what she went through? Her depression, her alcoholism, her guilt and now her obvious struggles with being a new mum? What is wrong with the man? No matter how much she tries to talk herself out of the obvious, she soon doubts even how well she knows the man she married.

Since moving to the village, Claire feels her life is just slipping through her fingers. She begins to question her own sanity as she discovers items being displaced around the house...or did she move them herself and not remember? She starts forgetting things, hearing things, imagining things. Matt's worried and makes her promise to see a doctor who then diagnoses her with post natal depression. Well, that much was obvious even to me but I was surprised the doctor did little to follow up. And Matt? Well, if he was so worried about his wife then why was he not at home more, supporting her, taking some of the pressure off her? There were times I could throttle that man as I was reading. And then to so openly declare, in front of everyone, that she was paranoid and imagining things...well, my heart just ached for Claire. I could really feel her isolation. No one cared. No one understood her pain. No one, but Emma.

I had to admit, I began to suspect a bit of gaslighting was going on because I doubted very much that Claire was as paranoid as everyone was suggesting. Even when the note was put through the letterbox claiming that she didn't deserve Olivia. To be a mother. Someone WAS out to get her. But who? Claire can only think of one person - Ruth. Or is it Sarah? Because she wants Matt back? Problem is, Claire really did believe she didn't deserve Olivia. and that she was a horrible mother. And despite Matt declaring otherwise, he did little to reassure her that she was.

There is a second POV in this book, in which the narrator is unknown. But one thing is clear. She is a victim of a violent domestic abuse at the hands of her vicious husband whilst trying to protect her little girl at the same time. Throughout the entire story, this unknown woman's narrative runs alongside Claire's as we watch both stories unfold with shocking and devastating results...for both. In a way, you won't see coming!

THE MOTHER'S MISTAKE is a brutal, shocking yet compelling read you will not be able to put down. It will have you questioning Claire's sanity, your sanity, wondering what was truth and what was happening. You won't know who or what to believe. And when the truth is revealed, you will feel a division of loyalties.

With so much happening, so many red herrings, false flags and dead ends, the suspect list just kept changing. I did work out the WHO but not the WHY and when the reason becomes clear - as it did for me just before it unfolded - I was blown away! 

Not many books leave me with such an impression as this one such a way that I pity the next one I open for fear it will simply fall into the shadow of this one. Not many books leave me feeling the next one could never compare. But this one did.

THE MOTHER'S MISTAKE is such a brilliant addictive read that really will keep you guessing till the end. I highly recommend it.

I would like to thank #RuthHeald, #NetGalley and #Bookouture for an ARC of #TheMothersMistake in exchange for an honest review.
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The Mothers Mistake by Ruth Heald - wow! This book was so addictive, I read it in 2 sittings - I just had to know where it was going. Even though I worked out who was doing all of this early on I still could not get enough of what was happening. I will absolutely be looking out for more books from this author. 

Claire and Matt move from London to the country with their newborn baby Olivia for a fresh start.  Matt is opening his own veterinarian practice and they move into Matts mothers cottage.  Pretty soon after they move in Claire's life starts to become a living hell - strange things start happening, she feels she is being watched and her mother in law is a nightmare. Is she just being paranoid or is somebody really after her? Matt worries about her, especially as she has a history of depression and alcoholism. Being a new mum is hard, and she wonders if something is wrong with her. I figured out who the stalker was but not why.  Saying that the ending was shocking and made me gasp.

Thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for my advanced copy of this book to read.  All opinions are my own and are in no way biased.
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3.5⭐️ rounded up to 4

Claire seems to have the perfect life, her loving husband Matt and their baby daughter Olivia. They have just moved to the country to be closer to Matt's parents. Matt is opening a new vets practice. Claire has a secret from her past but it comes back to haunt her. She's also finding it hard to bond with Olivia. Plus Matt's mother keeps interfering. 

I felt took too long to unravel itself. We know Claire has several issues and is a bit unreliable as the narrator. There are a few red herrings but who can Claire trust? The end reveal certainly makes up for the slow start.

I would like to thank NetGalley, Bookouture and the author Ruth Heald for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Really enjoyed this book although the main character did annoy me at times.  Plenty twists & an amazing ending which all concludes perfectly.  I’d highly recommend this book.
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This book pulled me apart, I am shredded while writing this review. The story prodded me in so many directions that I was in pieces by the time I got to the explosive reveal. And, boy, was it worth it!! The book put me through quite a wringer

Claire, Matt, and baby Olivia move to the country for a fresh start. But was that a good move? Only time would tell. And time answered, it brought about a series of strange noises, displaced possessions from one place to other, a note declaring she didn’t deserve Olivia, doubts about husband Matt’s fidelity, addiction to drink, a hateful Mother-in-Law… Whew… The list was never-ending.

My first book by author Ruth Heald, and with so many things happening to the main character Claire where she started doubting her own sanity, had me wondering too if I was going bonkers… I literally did not know whom to trust. Claire was then diagnosed with post natal depression, a busy husband and a cranky baby added to her mental stress. I swear I was getting more paranoid than her.

Generally, with such a main character, I lose interest fast. But Ruth’s writing had me enslaved to my kindle tapping away at the pages. The question burned in my mind like a blazing fire – What was the truth? Why was this happening?

2 POV, one of Claire and the other of a battered abused woman, gave layers to this story. And when the truth is revealed, I didn’t know whom to feel sorry about. Omg this was one book where my loyalties were so divided. I just couldn’t believe it!!

A maze of a book with so many dead ends, my mind kept gathering the suspects. I did guess, but the reason for such an ordeal to occur LITERALLY BLEW MY MIND AWAY!!
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