Cover Image: Mother Loves Me

Mother Loves Me

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Member Reviews

Thanks to HarperCollins UK, HarperFiction and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

In 'Mother Loves Me', Abby Davies written a psychological thriller that truly lives up to its billing. Too many novels are labelled as psychological thrillers, without any special recourse to the complexities of the human condition and how this is expressed in both thought and deed. This does not apply to Abby Davies, nor does it apply to 'Mother Loves Me', which elucidates in chilling detail how the powerful notions of maternal love can be distorted by an irreparably damaged human psyche. The mother-daughter bond, explored through the lens of what vaguely be described as munchausen by proxy, is powerfully and thoughtfully deconstructed by Davies in this edgy and twisty thriller. Because make no mistake, the unusual parameters of Mirabelle's relationship with her mother is just the beginning. As a human doll who is subjected to the aging process outlives its usefulness, Mirabelle fears this is the motivation behind the appearance of a new, 5 year old sister, Clarabelle. As the story plays out, Davies expertly ratchets up the tension, and just when you think the story has reached its apogee, she surprises us with yet more bone chilling revelations. Haunting, horrific and dark - a tour de force of a psychological thriller.
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Absolutely brilliant story. One of the most gripping ones I've ever read. So dark and creepy and tense. Brilliant x
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I am absolutely astounded that this is a debut novel. 
SO well written, SO dark, and SO twisty. Just my kind of book! 
If this is the kind of crazy work Abby Davies produces, I cannot WAIT to see her future novels.
So so impressive!
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This is a really well written story which had me rather scared whilst I was reading and my heart beating rather fast! I found myself holding my breath during certain scenes! Definitely not one to read on your own in the dark if you are a scaredy cat like me! This is a story which will stay with me. I loved the suspense and tension which started early and ramped up with each page. A fabulous debut and an author I will be keeping an eye out for!
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This is most definitely a modern day Hansel & Gretel!

The easiest one sitting book I've read this year, I was absolutely riveted and could not stop turning the pages. Addictive read 100%.

The feelings this book emotes were quite scary at times. This is most definitely one of the most fast paced and creepy books to hit the shelfs this year.

The characters were superbly executed.. 'mother' was like the clown in your worst nightmare! Each character was amazingly strong in their own right but Mirabelle obviously shone the brightest.

The suspense and tension was paramount throughout, it had me gripped from the very first paragraph right up until the very last word.

Breathtakingly shocking, super creepy, action pact, fast paced and gut wrenchingly creepy!

Loved, loved, loved it!

What a fantastic debut, I honestly can't wait for the next one.

Huge thanks to Netgalley and Harper Collins UK for the ARC.
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This creepy thriller is voiced entirely from the perspective of our damaged heroine Mirabelle, a intelligent young girl who had been conditioned into believing that being treated like a living doll by her mother was normal. The conditions that she was living with were anything but normal, what with all the windows being boarded up, Mirabelle having to get permission to do ordinary every day things like reading a book and living in fear of ever leaving the house because she had been told that she had a allergy and she would die if she ever went outside. Mirabelle was a really lovely, likeable young girl and I felt so much empathy for her as she struggled to do something that would please her mother and get her to pay attention to Mirabelle instead of spending all her time with Clarabelle. I know what it's like to constantly feel like no matter how hard you try, everything you do is wrong.Then I was routing for her as the tension increased once Mirabelle began to question things after she began to suspect that her mother wasn't being honest with her and was harbouring dark secrets. Mirabelle's mother was a very disturbed woman and it was far too easy to label her as unlikable but as the story unfolded, the reader began to have a bit more of a understanding into her actions and behaviour once the details of her horrific upbringing were revealed. The brain is a complex organ and we will never fully understand the effect that abuse must have on a person's thought processes. I'm not saying that the mother character's actions could be excused because of her past but you would have to have a heart of stone if you didn't feel a tiny bit of sympathy for her especially after you learned the reason behind her actions. 

This is a extremely well written, gripping thriller that has a intense sense of foreboding permeating the pages. The enthralling story had me hooked in from the first page, mesmerized by the chilling story that was unfolding before my eyes. This is this obviously very talented author's debut psychological thriller and I look forward to reading many more of her books in the future.
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I will start by saying that this book is seriously creepy from the outset, within the first few pages we encounter ‘Mother’s ‘ dressing ritual with Mirabelle, which you know is very wrong. Mirabelle is a 13 year old girl who is kept prisoner in the house by her mother and dressed like a doll.

The book had a really dark Rapunzel feel to it with mother keeping her safe from all the bad things outside the home. On Mirabelle’s birthday mother brings her a surprise a sister called Clarabelle who she has rescued too. Clarabelle is really Emma a little girl who appears to have been taken from her parents.

Mirabelle suffers from awful headaches and she has been told by mother that dolls do not live to be old and that she is allergic to the light. Mother is obviously very unwell and has lots of secrets about her own shocking past, that are discovered as you read on.

Mirabelle decides that if she isn’t going to live for very much longer she will explore the attic what she finds shocks her to the core. When Emma arrives Mirabelle discovers more about the outside world and begins to doubt all that Mother has told her. Mirabelle is a young adult and she begins to feel emotions that she has not felt before.

This is an extraordinary debut, boy, is it dark! You know immediately that bad things are happening but I could not stop reading. It is a story about abuse and manipulation and it is so twisted that it took my breathe away at times. The book is so claustrophobic and I wanted to let those poor girls out to escape this woman. If you like your psychological thrillers, gripping and disturbing then this is the book for you.
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Mother Loves Me is a darkly atmospheric, claustrophobic and sinister debut that sent shivers down my spine. From the opening pages there's prevailing unease malevolence that hangs in the air, making me read with a breathless anticipation. 

It's immediately clear that there's something wrong. Thirteen-year-old Mirabelle's mother paints her face and dresses her like the doll she has nicknamed her, the windows are boarded up, the doors locked and the young girl has never left the house. 

When Mother returns home with another little girl hidden in a bag and tells Mirabelle this is her new sister Clarabelle, she begins to question things she'd always believed, wonders if there are things Mother might be hiding; sparking a series of events that will turn her world upside down. 

This is exactly the kind of twisted read I love. The book I'd just finished was one I loved so much that I was worried I'd struggle to read this, but, thankfully, this was so creepily addictive I couldn't get enough. The author's prose is beautiful, eerie and immersive, pulling me into Mirabelle's small world with such vividness that I could see the story playing in my head as I read. 

The characters are richly drawn and felt so real, despite their absurd situation. Mirabelle is a great narrator. The author perfectly captured her childish innocence, inquisitiveness and obedience and her fledgling desire for independence. We meet her at an age where she would have both that  desperation to please  desire to rebel against Mother, which combined with the jealousy that arises upon having to share her mother with Clarabelle, creates a perfect storm that the author mines to perfection. 

Mother is one of the most sinister characters I've read for a while. She was clearly unhinged, the author capturing every shade of her evil and madness and made it leap from the page, chilling me to my core. I was terrified for both girls in her "care". Over the course of the story we do learn what happened to make her this way, but I liked that the author didn't let that make her a sympathetic character, despite Mirabelle's desire to feel that way about her. It felt right that she remained an abhorrent, evil figure no matter what had happened in her past. 

So if you like a book that sizzles with tension, sends shivers down your spine, and has you on the edge of your seat, then this is the book for you. It's as good as any chilling horror film and I would love to see it on screen.
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2.5 stars

A creepy suspenseful thriller, though I found it somewhat tedious. The beginning and middle stretched a bit too much, and then ending felt rushed. The premise was great, however. Overall I'm left disappointed because it could have been so good.

(Review copy from NetGalley)
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Mirabelle is her Mother's 'little doll'. Mother dresses her like a doll and paints her face every day. Mirabelle lives in a house where the doors are locked, the windows are boarded and she is not allowed to go outside. Mirabelle loves her mother, until one day she realises that all is not right in the boarded up house.
For a debut novel Mother Loves Me knocked my socks off. Abby's writing kept me hooked throughout with her fast-paced chapters, unpredictable twists and jaw-dropping scenes. I literally could not put this psychological thriller down and Mother Loves Me will be embedded in my mind for a very long time. It's creepy, sinister and brilliant!

I received this arc in exchange for an honest review
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Mother Loves Me is an excellent thriller and debut novel by Abby Davies.
Mirabelle is mother’s ‘little doll’. Mother paints her face, brushes her beautiful long hair and dresses her in the finest clothes suitable for any little doll.  When mother returns on Mirabelle’s 13th birthday with a special gift, Mirabelle is excited; until she realises that the new little doll, 5 year old Clarabelle, may actually be a replacement for Mirabelle as she is too old. What use is an ageing little doll?
Told in the third person narrative, but very much Mirabelle’s story, this book is so well written. The tension and intrigue is built right from the outset and builds throughout. I throughly enjoyed this book, could not see where the book was heading so was desperate to find out!
Thanks to NetGalley for a Kindle copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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A chilling disturbing story! This is a very dark story about a girl who lives in a cottage with her mother that likes to dress her up and paint her face to resemble a doll. The girl is brought up to believe that she has a serious condition in where she is allergic to sunlight, if she goes outside she will die. When mother brings another little girl to live with them things begin to unravel and things speed up dramatically to an explosive , unbelievable ending! A really gory, fascinating book!
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I devoured this book so quickly and it gave me such a strong emotional reaction. 

The story focusses on Mirabelle who has been kept locked inside a cottage by her Mother who tells her she has an allergy to the sun and how dangerous it would be to go outside. 

As Mirabelle reaches 13 she is so longer the “perfect little doll” that her Mother wants. When Morher brings home 5 year old Clarabelle, our 13 year old heroine starts to question everything she has been told. 

I thought the writing was so clever and everything that Mirabelle knew about the world she learns from books, which added to the tension of her being locked inside the cottage. 
The fact that we as the reader know that something very wrong is going on builds up this story so well. 

I could not put this down as I needed to know how it would play out and find out the answers to all the questions that were raised. 

For a first novel I think this is amazing and I would love to read more from this author in the future. 

It would be great if trigger warnings for child abuse, loss of a child could be included at the start of the book, 

*Thank you to Abby Davies, Harper Collins and Net gallery for an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review*
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The book starts off incredibly well with Mirabelle still utterly devoted to Mother just like most children are with their parents. The fact that things unravel at the age of 13 year is a great metaphor for how troubling and complex life can be as a young child enters teenagehood. Of course there is the dreadful horrible story behind what has happened in these characters lives. The gore was depicted very well and realistically to the point where yes, I did flinch, however it was necessary part of the plot. I was very impressed. 

However there was quite a lot of description and often there were jumps between past and present where it did get a bit challenging to stick to the story. This again could be analysed as a young teenager's frame of reference and her narrating the story. I will definitely be recommending this book for any fans of ROOM by Emma Donoghue and OUTSIDE by Sarah Ann Juckes.
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I read this in a day. And, that wasn't quick enough for me. I damned myself that I didn't have super human skills to read quickly. Why? Because, this book is so amazing, and it's so creepy and weird that you have to know there and then what will happen next. 

This is a debut novel people!! And, it's bloody amazing! 

When we start the story I was getting really claustrophobic vibes. Mirabelle has never seen the outside, her mother has told her if she goes outside she will die! 

Mirabelle's mother dresses her up as a doll, makes up her face every day. Mirabelle thinks this is normal, because she knows no different. Until, mother brings home Clarabelle. And, that's when everything gets even more dodgy and weird and creepy. 

Abby Davies has well and truly knocked it out of the park with this story. She has thrown everything and more at this creepy story. There's the whole 'wtf is going on' vibe. Then, there's the 'omg get out now' vibe. Followed swiftly by a 'oh my word, when will the suffering end' vibe. And, just when you think it's going to slow down and come to a conclusion, there's more much more. 

Mother Loves Me. Mother will creep you out!!!!
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Mirabelle is her mother's little doll. Her mother paints her face and dresses her like a doll.  Mirabelle is thirteen years old and lives with her mother in a house where all the windows are boarded up and the doors are always locked. Mirabelle isn't allowed to go outside. One day, her mother brings home a five year old girl called Clarabelle.

This is a creepy read. I was hooked from the first page. It's a real roller coaster read. The pace is fast and at times I was on the edge of my seat. It did not take me long to devour this book as I couldn't put it down. This is a cleverly crafted read with a crackpot protagonist. I can't say too much about the plot even though I'd like to. This is a well written debut novel and I can't wait to read more from this author. 

I would like to thank #NetGalley, #HarperCollinsUK #HarperFiction and the author #AbbyDavis for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Wow what an amazing book! Wouldn't think this was a debut at all! Written so well and I absolutely loved the storyline. It hooked me and I literally couldn't stop reading!

I loved Mirabelle and so many times my heart hurt for her, but she's so strong and her character really shone. It's hard to talk about my thoughts without saying what happens or revealing any spoilers. It was a dark read and there was alot going on.

It was one of my favourite thrillers I've read for a while - mainly because it was so different from the ones I've read. I absolutely loved the ending too!

Thank you to @netgalley and Harper Collins UK for allowing me to read this ARC 😊
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I leapt on this book as soon as it was available! I thought the premise was incredibly original and the execution certainly didn't disappoint. I was curious to see how the author would  manage such a claustrophobic setting, but the story was beautifully plotted, the characters compelling and the atmosphere suitably tense. I tore through the book in a couple of sittings and neglected all else. Fantastic read.
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Mirabelle's mother loves her. Every morning, she paints her face like a little doll, and brushes her hair, and helps Mirabelle with her schoolwork. She cares for her, and keeps her safe, even if it means she can't ever go outside. Mother loves her so much, she brings her a gift for her 13th birthday - a sister, Clarabelle. But Clarabelle's arrival brings more change than expected, and soon Mirabelle is questioning everything she thought she knew. But she knows one thing for sure - she needs to find out what's really happening, and fast. After all, dolls only have short lives....

Wow, wow, wow. What a book! I honestly cannot believe this was a debut, the writing was so skilful, and the plot is incredible unique and well-paced, although I won't comment on the plot as it is so twisted and unusual that I wouldn't want to give anything away! I will admit, things did get a bit ridiculous at times, and it definitely went beyond the realms of possibility on occasion as the action picked up pace. However, I really didn't care at all if it was a bit silly at times. It was a completely captivating and gripping thriller, with a totally unique concept and a flawless execution. 

Overall, a really strong book, and an incredibly impressive debut. It is definitely one that draws you in, and like many other reviewers, I read it in just a day. It's subject matter is harrowing, the plot is mind-bending, and it is all in all one of the best thriller's I've read so far this year. 

Disclaimer - I was fortunate enough to receive an advance reading copy of this book from the publisher in conjunction with NetGalley. This has not affected my review in any way, and all opinions are my own.
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Mother Loves Me, She Loves Me Not.... 🤔 Great Debut Thriller 

Told by Mirabelle, she's just turned 13 and lives with Mother under strict and strange conditions.  Mirabelle just wants to go outdoors, but Mother says it's too dangerous for her.. that it'll kill her.  As part of her birthday present, Mother brings home a new sister, Mirabelle is becoming more aware and uncomfortable on how they became to be with Mother...  and why they can't leave the house.

Mother Loves Me is a great debut novel, starts off well, reminding me a little of Room, with a difference.  When you get about half way the pace picks up...  a book you could easily devour in one sitting.  

Mirabelle is a very resourceful girl, learns quickly, is a survivor.  Mother sadly very troubled over past events, making her and her motives in her mind normal, in reality, evil, determined to get the perfect Little Doll, she desires... when you grow up, you can no longer fill this role.

A definite should read, look forward to reading more from this author.
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