Cover Image: Mother


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Member Reviews

This is a great read and a well detailed plot that kept me engaged from the very start.
I really liked the well thought out characters and found them to be believable. I cannot wait to read what the author brings out next.
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Everybody has those “what if” moments. When you’re just getting on with your day and then a ridiculous or unplausible question enters your mind and you think about what you would do even though you know you’re never going to have to make the choice because it won’t ever really happen to you.

Except for Lizzie, the unthinkable does happen. In Mother, on a torrid rainy drive back from a holiday with her two daughters, Portia and Becca, Lizzie crashes the car. As they plummet into a nearby lake, Lizzie must make a choice no mother should ever have to. She can only get one of her daughters out of the car – which one can she save – and which one will be left to die?

Just in case this wasn’t traumatic enough – for Lizzie and her husband Dan and their one remaining daughter to then have to work out how to survive and go on as a family of three, when they were once a family of four – the realisation soon hits that maybe the car crash wasn’t an accident after all. Maybe the crash was caused deliberately. Maybe somebody else chose for one of their daughters to die that night…

I cannot even begin to describe how much I loved this book. It was beautifully haunting with a concept so thought-provoking I genuinely could not get the story off my mind. The writing was raw and mesmerising, with lingering, slow-burning tension and pure emotion concealed in every sentence.

I was hooked from the opening few chapters where the lead up to the accident had me biting my nails in anticipation of the scene about to unfold. Already, just from the build up in the first chapter, I was fascinated by the family dynamics, by Lizzie’s relationship with her daughters and her marriage to Dan. Both lawyers in different fields, there was something so intriguing about Lizzie and Dan and I felt like they both had a story to tell.

Throughout Mother, I suspected everyone of wrongdoing - there was definitely a lot of trust issues on my behalf! Even though trust is a concern in this book, with the fears that the crash was more than an accident, there was so much more simmering away in Mother and I was utterly obsessed with it.

The author wrote such a beautiful and heart-breaking portrayal of grief and her observations were probably my favourite part of the novel. Between Lizzie, Dan and the daughter who survives, naturally each one grieves differently, and often separately, and this was truly heart-wrenching to read. Grief is at the core of this book and it is moving and powerful. Laura Jarratt shows how grief is so personal and individual – everybody experiences it differently and it doesn’t matter how strong that person may come across, there is no escaping it.

There is not much that can be said about the book without spoiling the story and its chilling and sickening twists. I will say that there is one part towards the end that had me reading with my heart in my mouth – it was so high in emotion and tension and really encapsulated everything I loved about this book. Mother is one of the best books I have read in a long time.
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Thoroughly enjoyed this book and was gripped from the first page to the end, loads of twists and turns x
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A tragic incident leaves a mother with an impossible decision that she hasn’t got time to think about - an awful choice no parent should ever have to make, but was the incident a tragic accident or was it caused by something more sinister!  this highly emotive story leaves you feeling like you’ve been centre of this traumatic event. An Utterly gripping and intense novel that I would recommend in a heartbeat but I would definitely give a warning to anyone who read it. ‘This book will emotionally drain you’
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Mother is the story of Lizzie who is driving home from holiday with her two daughters in the back of the car. They are involved in a terrible car accident and Lizzie is thrown into every Mother's worst nightmare.... she can only save the life of one of her daughters and she has to choose which one! This book is basically my worst nightmare, and I  really mean, I have had horrible nightmares about having to choose between my boys. Why would I choose to read a book so triggering and emotionally charged? Because apparently I have a sadistic side! Ha ha ha... And yes, at first I was really struggling with what was happening but I persevered and I'm so glad I did. As Lizzie's life was shown to be so different to mine it made everything easier and I was able to pull back on the emotions and settle in to the story. The author did an amazing job of writing the different ways that people grieve, the emotions people go through and the effects it has on their whole lives. About 2 thirds of the way through the book Lizzie figures out exactly what happened the night of the accident and the book then turns more from a thriller to a story of loss and life after losing a loved one.
After spending such a long time dreading reading this book I ended up really enjoying it.
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This is one of those ‘What if …?’ conversation starters. What if you’re driving down a dark, winding country road late at night with your two daughters asleep on the back seat, happy and content after a lovely week away from the stress of work and school. All of a sudden, something flashes into your peripheral vision, causing you to lose focus and you swerve off the road, onto the embankment, through the trees and you land up plunging into an icy lake. You manage to free yourself from your seatbelt, but as the car quickly sinks into the depths, you realise with absolute dread that you will only have time to rescue one of your daughters in the back! Which one will it be?

This is what happens to Lizzie and her daughters, sullen teenager Portia, and bright, sunny Becca, who’s the image of Lizzie herself. They’ve just spent a week away in the countryside and are on their way back home to husband and father Dan. After stopping off at a village shop, they’re back on the road, and Lizzie is eager to get home, but wondering if it might have been a mistake to have left so late, as now they’re travelling in the dark, the weather is awful, the rain is bucketing down and the roads are quite twisty and what do you know … there’s no phone signal out there, as it’s quite remote. The girls fall asleep in the back seat and Lizzie is driving along the quiet road. It seems like she’s the only car out there, but suddenly … she’s not quite sure … she sees something in the trees up ahead. Maybe something like a flash of light? She’s not really sure but she carries on driving. And then, suddenly, blinding lights are coming right at her and Lizzie has no choice but to swerve off the road. Before she knows it she’s lost all control of the car and she can’t seem to get the brakes to do what they’re meant to do. They’re crashing through trees and branches and it’s all happening at breakneck speed, until they land up in a lake and start sinking … fast!

Lizzie knows she is panicking and not thinking straight but she manages to get her seatbelt off. The water is freezing and a frightening clarity dawns on her: she is only going to have time to save one of the girls in the back of the car. There simply won’t be time to save them both! Instinct takes over. She really has no idea what she’s doing … or does she? She reaches back, unclasps one of the buckles on a seatbelt and grabs the girl she can get to, pulling her to the surface. She leaves her there, cold and unconscious, and tries to go back for the other one, but it is an impossible task. The lake is too deep and she has lost her bearings. She returns to the daughter she has rescued, knowing she did all she could do, knowing it wasn’t enough.

What really happened that night on the road and in the lake? That’s what the police want to know when they come calling. They don’t believe Lizzie when she says she can’t remember. They insist that she must have fallen asleep at the wheel, but she’s sure that’s not what happened. And which daughter did she save? Laura Jarratt does an excellent job stringing the reader along for a few chapters before she reveals the answer.

Is there a possibility that some external element, another party played a role in what happened on the road that night? Could there have been some sort of foul play? After all, both Lizzie and Dan are criminal lawyers so there’s a slim chance that someone may have been trying to get back at one of them for something … isn’t there? The tension builds throughout and one can almost feel the pain that this family is going through. Not only have they lost a child, but it seems they’re being accused of having done something, only they’re not quite sure what.

Lizzie, Dan and their surviving daughter all have to struggle through their grief in their own vastly different ways. They also need to try and lean on each other and remain united as a family in the face of all that’s thrown at them. Can they manage to remain a strong unit or will they crumble and be unable to cope with the barrage of accusations they’re faced with? And will Lizzie eventually remember what actually happened that night?

Laura Jarratt has created a tense, character driven, riveting story that will make you wonder what lengths you would go to in order to protect those you love, especially if you are a mother. What if you find yourself in an untenable situation? What then? This is a conversation starter that will probably leave you with even more questions than answers. You’ll certainly be left thinking about it long after you finish that last page. 4 stars from me.
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Driving home late at night with her two daughters in the car, Lizzie is involved in a car accident and is forced to make a horrific decision - which of her daughters to save first, and which to leave to die. The rest of the book explores the impact of this decision, but also follows the search to uncover the cause of the accident.

I got off to a bad start with this book as I was immediately annoyed by the contrived way we were kept from knowing which daughter had been saved for several chapters as every single person refers to them as "your daughter" rather than by name. The way the police investigated didn't ring true, but there were several instances throughout the novel where characters behaved in ways that just didn't make that much sense, particularly the silly ending of the book where the accident is explained. It was okay, but I disliked more about it than I enjoyed.
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My Thoughts: Laura’s writing drew me in instantly, it had a way of making you feel like you were there within the story! – when the car crash happened I found myself gripping the arm of the sofa, as if that would save me? 😂

When the car went under the water & Lizzie was struggling to firstly get herself out and then the daughter that she chose, I found myself holding my breath too, it’s crazy when a book effects you physically in that way, but it left me invested in the story.

I loved the fact that the truth about which daughter was saved was kept from us at first, it left me looking for any little clue that the author may have left us and following them like a trail, I have to be honest though I was completely wrong!

As well as having to deal with the fact that she essentially left one of her daughters to die, Lizzie then gets accused of falling asleep at the wheel and causing the accident and although she had no memory of what happened she is 100% sure that that didn’t happen, right?

The rest of the story is the family coming to terms with the loss of a daughter and a sister and the guilt they’re all feeling because of it, all of them in their own way, as well as the police trying to work out what really happened that night.

A thriller with a story that wasn’t obvious in any way and constantly had you thinking about who you could trust.

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Once I picked up Mother I couldn't put it down!  I was caught in its vice-like grip from the start and was only released (one numb bum later) when I turned the final page.  It is so compelling that you can't help but be drawn into the story and be affected by the disturbing events within.  My heart went out to every single character in the book and I wouldn't want to trade places with any of them.

Lizzie is faced with an unenviable dilemma when her car plunges into a lake with her two children in the backseat; she only has time to save one of her daughters.  We don't know which one she chose for a few chapters but you can't help wondering which one it is.  Dealing with both grief and guilt, Lizzie has a mountain of a recovery to climb and although she can't remember all of the details about the accident, something just doesn't add up.  The police seem to be blinkered in their investigation so Lizzie and her husband, Dan rack their brains to see who might want to take revenge on them.  As they are both barristers, they could have a long list!

There is so much to discover in this amazing book: which daughter survived, why Lizzie picked her and what really happened that night, to name but a few.  I devoured every single page as if I'd been starved of books and felt so many emotions as the story unfolded.  I was devastated, not just at the grief experienced from the death of a child but at the guilt each character felt: Dan thinks it wouldn't have happened if he had been there, Lizzie feels responsible for selecting a child to survive and one of her daughters has survivor's guilt.

Incredibly thought-provoking, completely devastating but terribly compelling, Mother really got under my skin as I lived and breathed with the characters.  This would be an amazing book for book groups as you can't help wondering what you would have done in the same terrible circumstances.  A wonderful book to remind you that time is so precious and to be grateful for every second you spend with your loved ones.

I received an ARC to read and review for the blog tour and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.
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This is a raw novel. It will probably tear you apart but it does it in such a well constructed way.

The author slowly builds the suspense here giving the reader a sense of claustrophobia and mental stress that mirrors the one the main character and her family are in. The pain they experience is the worst one but the book never gets on the easy track of melodrama; it stays rational despite the sadness and search for answers.

The family relations are beautifully described and we can see growth in all characters. The resolution is... touching, hard, horrible, perfect. I have no idea what I'd do in her shoes but I think she was incredibly brave. 

I'd like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
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Thanks net galley and Laura Jarratt fior this very sad story of two mothers who loose their daughters.
Why did the car crash and Becca die, there were two daughters in the car Portia and Becca. Which one should their mother save.
Becca was adopted , but that should not make a difference,
Only one daughter was possible to save, and that’ is a terrible choice for any mother to make.
Why did the car crash, that is the question.
Yes found this book very difficult to,put down. Loved it.
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Powerful and strong prose immerses you into the heart of the story. You feel every rip of the heart and blow to the soul. 
The dilemma tears you in two. What a choice to make. 
Then everything takes a turn and your questioning everything. 
A beautiful book with real depth of thought.
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This is an interesting read, ostensibly about a car crash which leaves a mother choosing between her two daughters in the most extreme of circumstances, however, it is also a multi layered, dual narrative on what it means to be a parent.

Biological and adopted daughters , Portia and Becca are at the mercy of a flashpoint decision against unthinkable odds, and the aftermath of the crash is examined in close detail as mother, Lizzie, pulls herself to pieces trying to rationalise what she has done.

The return home from a holiday should be a joyous occasion, but for Lizzie she is dreading facing her husband,Dan, who insisted she should wait for him to drive her home. However, taking the chance to spend more 'me time' with her daughters, Lizzie drags out their idyllic stay and drives home herself. A curve taken at speed results in her car going over a cliff and a race against time to free herself in order to reach her daughters.

A decision made against the clock, in an isolated lake has massive repercussions as suspense mounts by the page , heading towards the reveal of which girl Lizzie saved.

But was this crash as instinctive and innocent as it sounds?

Both Lizzie and Dan are in positions as defence lawyers and barristers where there are plenty of people who would like to get revenge on what they might feel is the 'wrong' verdict.

As the forensic details build up a case for this not being a complete accident, the guilt and self reproach that Lizzie berates herself escalates . Dealing with the grief process as well as physical recuperation, let alone the circumstances under which she has lost one of her daughters becomes secondary to finding out exactly what happened and why.

Whilst Lizzie pulls herself apart in order to put herself back together again, she and Dan have to examine the deep cracks within their relationship as well as working towards an understanding of how culpable either, or both of them, is for their daughter's death.

The discussions around how, and why, Lizzie and Dan became parents is so painful to read, their pain jumps off the page which only makes their loss more potent and destructive. The answers to the what happened, and why, are nit clear cut and further explore whether our motivations to become parents are truly altruistic, or are driven by a society which values it's propagation more than the toll on individuals .

It's a really interesting book with lots of narrative twists and turns to keep the most keen eyed reader engaged, and it deals with trauma, child loss, infertility and mental health in an unflinching yet compassionate way .

Laura Jarratt is a new to me author, but I look forward to reading more of her books in the future.
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I must admit that prior to receiving an invite to take part in the blog tour for ‘Mother’, I hadn’t actually come across Laura Jarratt before.  Having enjoyed reading ‘Mother’ as much as I did, I cannot believe that I missed her.  ‘Mother’ is Laura’s debut adult novel and what a debut it is too!  I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Mother’ but more about that in a bit.
‘Mother’ is being compared to books by Jodi Piccoult and Amanda Prowse.  I can’t comment on the similarity to Jodi’s books because I have never read one of hers but I have read a few of Amanda’s books, which I really enjoyed.  I knew that if Laura was being compared to Amanda, then she had some serious talent.  I just knew that I was going to enjoy reading ‘Mother’ and I was spot on.  I first picked up the book only intending to read a couple of chapters to make a start on the book and I became so wrapped up in the story that I was still sat there reading over half a dozen chapters later.  I just had to keep reading and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.  The characters intrigued me and I had to discover how the story panned out for them.
‘Mother’ is superbly written.  Laura certainly knows how to grab your attention and draw you into what proves to be a compelling story.  The story is written using two different timelines.  One timeline focuses on the present day and the other timeline focuses on things as they happened at the time of the accident and the aftermath.  I did wonder if this way of telling the story would be a tad confusing but I needn’t have worried because the past and present chapters interlink really well and the story flows seamlessly as a result.  I felt as though I was part of the story and that’s all thanks to Laura’s very vivid and realistic storytelling.  I found ‘Mother’ to be a gripping read, which held my attention throughout and kept me on the edge of my seat.
In short, I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Mother’ and I would recommend it to other readers.  I will certainly be reading more of Laura’s work in the future.  The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a very well deserved 5* out of 5*.
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Oh, my Goodness! For someone who is not fond of children, I have been reading quite a few books involving them, but I must say this one is very special. So special that it sparked a big conversation in the house! I love it when books make you feel but also think, really think, and you discover opinions can vary to the extreme. More on this later…

The book begins with quite a regular scene: a mother and two daughters ending their holiday with a trip to the village shop. The familiar setting was perfect to enable me to discover Lizzie, a woman for whom motherhood is everything (no, don’t worry, she never overdoes it!), and her very different girls: Becca and Portia. This opening was perfect to lure me into a sense of security. The narrative was precise and intriguing, even when describing the most mundane tasks.

Soon, however, all sense of safety left the pages. On their way back home, on a dark and empty road, Lizzie is blinded by lights, and the next seconds change her life forever.

I have no words strong enough to convey how immersive the author’s writing style is. I was in the car with Lizzie and the girls. I was in the lake. I was trapped by the water. I remember feeling panicky and anxious while reading, my knuckles white as my hands gripped the Kindle. Car crashes are terrible but imagine ending your trip in a lake! The shock, the cold, and… the terrible truth dawning on you. There is not enough time. Three went in, only two can get out.

To say I was shaken would be an understatement. If I thought I was diving into a nice thriller as I know them, I was wrong. The standard of the psychological exploration in Mother is outstanding. From that point on, the pages felt real: sometimes raw as papercuts, sometimes heart-wrenching, always, always putting words on feelings with such power, handling subjects such as grief with sensitivity.

What do you do when faced with an impossible choice? Lizzie can only save one of her children. But how do you choose which child deserves to live? The unfairness of the situation broke my heart and the desperation overwhelmed me. I was struck by it that I put the book down, went to my family, and asked them the question. How would you choose? How can you?! Answers were… direct, sincere, and we disagreed on a few things, such as the apparently evident solution: ‘choose the youngest!’ Thank you! I am the oldest child! You would let me die?! Jokes apart, it was thought-provoking and eye-opening to read about it and then share my thoughts on it with others. This was a brilliant surprise. I am a dog mama, not a kid mama, but I did my best to understand each point of view, and thanks to the amazing talent of Laura Jarratt, I was able to feel what a mother would feel.

The family is thrown into tragedy and there is no easy way out of it. Grief is a character in itself and it morphs into different shapes, hitting each character in a different way. Guilt is also around, hovering over the house like a dark cloud. What happened on this road? Why can’t Lizzie remember? Is the truth too much to bear? While the psychological element is present at all times, mystery suddenly blends in and adds another layer to Mother.

By the time this happened, I was already absolutely unable to tear myself away from the book and had formed different relationships with each protagonist. The threat pushing the family to its breaking point had my crime-lover brain run wild trying to figure out the who and why. Yet, the more I read, the clearer I saw that this thriller string of the plot was not just a tool to give chills to the story, but rather a magnificent way to take you on a terrible and yet somehow beautiful journey… I know, this is vague, but Mother is rich, so rich and it gives so much in terms of emotions and intrigue, that I prefer to keep some things quiet and let you experience it yourself.

Compulsive and fascinating, Mother is an astounding example of what’s best in psychological thrillers.
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Lizzie is driving her two daughters home from a holiday break late at night when she has an accident and the car plummets off the road and into a deep like. She is then faced with a terrible choice- the car is sinking fast, all three of them are on the verge of drowning and she realises she only has the chance to save one of her children. Afterwards she is haunted by guilt, grief and self doubt, finding it hard to connect with her surviving daughter and her husband, who are both also traumatised and in mourning. Then the police start to question her- was she driving dangerously, possibly asleep at the wheel? Or were more sinister forces at work?
This is a deeply moving novel which examines a lot of big issues- personal responsibility, forgiveness, bereavement and particularly, what it means to be a mother. The mystery about what happened that night is gripping, but what is most striking is the portrayal of family love, in all its complexity, and how devastating loss can change everything you thought you knew, about yourself and your nearest and dearest.
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Lizzie and her daughters are traveling back from their holiday. She's married but he stayed at home. She decided to travel late so he would be in bed by the time they got home so she wouldn't have to see him. On the journey home Lizzie has time to think about her home life. When she sees something in the road she swerves to avoid it and ends up in deep water. She can only save one of her daughters. 

I really enjoyed reading this book. Full of emotions as she struggles to work out what happened. It makes you think what you would do in those circumstances.
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The premise of Mother by Laura Jarratt, is a thought that would send a chill through any, and every Mother. There is an accident involving you and your two children, you only have time to save one. Lizzie understands, very quickly, she can either save Portia or Becca. What would you do? Who would you save? Why? This is the impossible and devastating predicament that Lizzie faces. 

Mother is a character driven study of a family suffering grief. Grief affects everyone differently, at different times, and it’s outward symptoms vary hugely. This family is no different. Their grief is compounded and further complicated, by questions over the cause of the crash. As the situation develops, the pressures and stresses build. 

In the acknowledgements, there are some reading group questions. The last of which is: 
How big a part do you think guilt plays in Mother? 
Personally I’ve always felt that a feeling of guilt, and Motherhood go hand in hand. I think many Mothers will be able to relate to wondering should they have done something differently or better; sooner or later, a conversation had more firmly or gently. Lizzie’s guilt is amplified by the accident, and her “choice”. 

I really enjoyed this 4* book, and the journey that the family are forced upon. I look forward to reading other books by the author.
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A new author for me, and one I would happily read from again! Enjoyed the book, realistic characters and an intriguing plotline, and what a totally unexpected twist. Would definitely recommend it to friends.
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Such an emotional and chilling book. I really enjoyed it, although I found it uncomfortable to read at times when Lizzies grief was so raw. I really liked the twist and did not see it coming.
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