The Push

This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Buy on Amazon Buy on
*This page contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 7 Jan 2021 | Archive Date 24 Jan 2023

Talking about this book? Use #ThePush #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


*** Pre-order The Push now and be one of the first to discover why this novel you can't put down is also the novel you will never forget . . . ***

What if your experience of motherhood was nothing like what you hoped for - but everything you always feared?

'The women in this family, we're different . . .'

The arrival of baby Violet was meant to be the happiest day of my life.

It was meant to be a fresh start.

But as soon as I held her in my arms I knew something wasn't right. I have always known that the women in my family aren't meant to be mothers.

My husband Fox says I'm imagining it. He tells me I'm nothing like my own mother, and that Violet is the sweetest child.

But she's different with me. Something feels very wrong.

Is it her? Or is it me?

Is she the monster? Or am I?

The Push is a heart-pounding exploration of motherhood, obsession and the terrible price of unconditional love.

'With its riveting prose and deep convictions, Ashley Audrain's The Push had me in its clutches from the first page. Audrain's astute portrayal of motherhood was unsettling in its insights, yet highly entertaining on the page. Complex, nuanced, and unflinching, I inhaled this debut in one sitting' Karma Brown, bestselling author of Recipe for a Perfect Wife

*** Pre-order The Push now and be one of the first to discover why this novel you can't put down is also the novel you will never forget . . . ***

What if your experience of motherhood was nothing...

A Note From the Publisher

The Push is a pacy and at times shocking novel that will ignite discussion around the expectations of motherhood that we’re taught not to question, the concept of nature vs nurture, and the notion of unconditional love.

Ashley Audrain began writing The Push after leaving her job as publicity director at Penguin Books Canada where she worked with authors such as Khaled Hosseini, Elizabeth Gilbert and Liane Moriarty. Her own experiences of becoming a mother for the first time inspired Ashley to write about what happens when motherhood turns out to be nothing like it’s supposed to be.

The Push is a pacy and at times shocking novel that will ignite discussion around the expectations of motherhood that we’re taught not to question, the concept of nature vs nurture, and the notion of...

Advance Praise

'A poetic, propulsive read that set my nerves jangling in both horror and recognition' LISA JEWELL, bestselling author of The Family Upstairs

'A freight train of a read - it barrels into you and propels you along, taking you places you're not sure you want to go. I found it disturbing, upsetting, and utterly compelling' Beth Morrey, author of Saving Missy

'With its riveting prose and deep convictions, Ashley Audrain's The Push had me in its clutches from the first page. Audrain's astute portrayal of motherhood was unsettling in its insights, yet highly entertaining on the page. Complex, nuanced, and unflinching, I inhaled this debut in one sitting' Karma Brown, bestselling author of Recipe for a Perfect Wife

'Intensely absorbing, gripping until the final page, The Push excavates the myths of motherhood, deftly exploring . . . the deep unease of our inability to ever fully know even those we hold the closest' Kim Edwards, bestselling author of The Memory Keeper's Daughter

'Stayed up too late finishing [Audrain's] deeply unsettling The Push about the darkest reaches of motherhood . . . Visceral, provocative, compulsive, and with the most graphic and relatable description of childbirth I've read (or written)' Sarah Vaughan, bestselling author of Anatomy of a Scandal

I was totally hooked. Compelling, addictive, chilling. Smashing read -- Elizabeth Macneal

Starkly original and compulsively readable, The Push is a deep dive into the darkest nooks and crannies of motherhood . . . Raw, visceral, and often disturbing, this is an intense psychological drama -- Kristin Hannah

The most thought-provoking exploration of motherhood I've come across since We Need to Talk About Kevin -- Clare Pooley

The Push is written on the edge of a knife. It's a howl in the face of what we think we know - or want to believe - about motherhood. Relentlessly compelling, distressing and beautiful, Ashley Audrain's debut is the next Gone Girl, with shades of We Need to Talk About Kevin. I devoured it whole -- Marissa Stapley, bestselling author of The Last Resort

Compelling, beautifully written and wickedly entertaining... A tremendously thought-provoking read -- Liz Nugent, author of Little Cruelties and Lying in Wait

'A poetic, propulsive read that set my nerves jangling in both horror and recognition' LISA JEWELL, bestselling author of The Family Upstairs

'A freight train of a read - it barrels into you and...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9780241434550
PRICE £12.99 (GBP)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (EPUB)
Send to Kindle (EPUB)
Download (EPUB)

Average rating from 294 members

Featured Reviews

This book is nothing short of SENSATIONAL. Raw, unsettling and completely brilliant. I could not put it down and it has lingered with me since finishing it. Incredibly thrilling writing and a unique look at nature vs. nurture.

When Blythe's husband is keen to have children, Blythe tries to bury her concerns that she is not cut out to be a mother. She can't ignore the feeling that she will follow in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother. When their daughter arrives, Blythe's worst fears are gradually founded.

This book will be a real catalyst for conversation and discussion. It is so much more than a simple tale of family drama. It is exposing and haunting and offers one of the most raw narratives around motherhood that I have ever read. Themes of mental health, the nature of evil, motherhood and attachment. Definitely requires a trigger warning as this is an intense novel.

Five stars.

Was this review helpful?

This was such a powerful book! I couldn't stop reading when I started. It's very complex with its characters and so raw and real. It's shedding some light on different sides of motherhood which I loved.
It's very well written that it will definitely talk to your heart.

Thanks a lot to NG nad the publisher for this copy.

Was this review helpful?

Compelling and incredible writing from Ashley Audrain in this book - you can see why 'The Push' has received the hype it has to date. A very clever blend of dark women's fiction and literary thriller, the story of Blythe, her mother and grandmother are woven together; the characters so nuanced and complex that the reader is immersed into their world. The story is bleak - there are no contrived happy endings here, and it left me emotionally drained - it's an excellent read.

Was this review helpful?

There are so many words I could use to describe this book. Raw, compelling, unflinching, visceral. The writing is like liquid, smooth and clear like an undisturbed lake, until the rain starts to fall, and the ripples begin to stretch further and further. The Push is like standing on the edge of a cliff, waiting for the ground to fall away from beneath your feet.

It is a disturbing and brutally honest view into motherhood, and the fears most, if not all, mothers face. The fear that your child will not be what you expect. The fear that you will be unable to love them. Audrain forces you to look into the mirror that society holds up, with all the expectations on women who are mothers and women who are not. A literary masterpiece, with incredible, beautiful, and bleak writing.

Was this review helpful?

From the very first chapter this book grabs you and doesn’t let go. I couldn’t put it down.

The author’s writing style is striking and the narrative is skilfully written with just enough detail to keep us readers completely hooked.

The stark reality of motherhood was well described and I loved the way the author went back into Blythe’s family history. Violet is a menacing character and her manipulation of those around her is cleverly written. All of the characters are realistic and well rounded. The plot is well paced and the whole novel has an unsettling feel that keeps you reading long past the time you thought you’d stop.

I only have great things to say about this truly fantastic book. Read it- you won’t regret it! Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for my copy of this book.

Was this review helpful?

Wow. What an absolute compelling emotional rollercoaster of a novel. This is all women’s fears of whether they will love or grow to love their own child and how if they don’t, societies pressures on being a “good mum” can cause some women to develop a feeling of anxiety and depression and yes a feeling of apathy of their own child. This is book that really delves into this topic and brings out all mothers fears of whether a kid learns from being bad because of them or how they are brought up and by whom. Amazing and stunning.

Was this review helpful?

The Push is a raw, emotive read that packs a punch. It's thought-provoking and lingers with you long after you've read the final page. An utterly fantastic read,

Was this review helpful?

A very raw and brutally honest look at motherhood and the expectations that come with it. Acknowledging that being a mother does not guarantee maternal instinct or natural nurturing. I think this book is a fantastic book for anybody mother or not, to gain an understanding of how motherhood can challenge and change lives.

Was this review helpful?

I read this in a day; I just couldn't put it down. It's incredibly pacy and for fans of Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins and Donna Tartt you won't be disappointed. I found myself very invested in Blythe, the protagonist, and her story - it's a frustrating read at times as you discover how she copes and operates, and learn increasingly uncomfortable things about her past.
It's a novel that gets to the heart of what it means for a woman who is forced into motherhood (an interesting read against the backdrop of the latest abortion laws being passed in the States) and also a thoughtful study on how much damage is carried through generations and some behaviour just cannot be unlearned.
I really, really loved it. It's visceral, uncomfortable, thrilling and raw and the last line made my jaw drop. I'm excited for what Ashley Audrain writes next as I know it'll be something I have to read.

Was this review helpful?

I started this book and just wasn't sure it was going to be for me, I knew the write up had made me want to read it so I kept going and boy am I glad I did!

This book offers so much emotion through it, and easy to relate to elements as a parent, and you do question who is right in all of this....

Was this review helpful?

Blythe isn’t sure about having a baby: her mother left when she was young and she doesn’t want to put her perfect marriage at risk. But her husband persuades her that she’ll be a great mother.
Reminiscent of ‘we need to talk about Kevin’, this fast and addictive thriller is split between Blythe’s traumatic relationship with her child and - back in time - between her grandmother, mother and herself.
Is Blythe a bad mother or is there something bad about her child?
This is a great read: I got through it in a day. It’s the sort of book you read with a sense of impending doom but it’s well-written and insightful.
Thoroughly recommended.

Was this review helpful?

WOW. It isn't often a book leaves me speechless but this book was just absolutely incredible. I've been in a real reading slump and this has pulled me out.

We meet Blythe who had a difficult childhood. A mother who came in and out of her life. As she enters motherhood herself, she questions whether or not she would be a good mother and when the baby arrives, she struggles to feel that maternal instinct.

I have to say I really connected with this book in a weird way. As someone who has just got married, I'm constantly asked when I'm going to have a baby. But I have this looming fear that maybe, thanks to my illness, won't be a great mum. So it was weird to feel such a connection to what is, a very dark tale.

The writing in this is sublime. It is punchy. It gets to the point which I love in a book.

This is half literary fiction with a tiny bit of mystery infused in it.

Overall, a massive five stars. I can see this one being huge when it is released - one to watch out for.

Was this review helpful?

Wow. An incredible, powerful read. Motherhood but the truth of it, the truth of how we sometimes only know what we know and no matter what, it's impossible to do otherwise.

Blythe and Fox have the perfect relationship. Happy, successful, talented. Blythe doesn't have the most supportive family but that doesn't matter because she has Fox and his family. They get married and then of course, they have a baby. But Violet is not like any other baby and motherhood is not what Blythe expected. Told in present day and with flashbacks to Blythe's childhood and her missing mother - Cecilia - childhood - we see how our childhood experience shape our understand of love and motherhood. But what happens when our child is different and doesn't fit that mold.

Brave, bold, powerful, heartbreaking - this was an incredible read and I can't wait for her next novel.

Was this review helpful?

The Push was not quite the book I expected it to be - it's more of a thriller than literary fiction. But I found this was actually its strength - the short, sharp sentences and breathless pacing make it all the more compelling.

It's deceptively simple. The story revolves around the core theme of motherhood. But what at first seems straightforward becomes increasingly tangled. The perspective is intimate and disingenous, slipping from first to second person and between three generations of women. While the plot may be a little predictable, the narration is not, and that is what makes it a real page-turner.

Taught and compelling, The Push makes for a compulsive read.

Was this review helpful?

Blythe had a difficult childhood, but now she has Fox Connor, complete with loving mother. Their relationship is wonderful. Then Blythe and Fox have a baby. What sort of mother will she be? Suppose the baby isn't as she'd hoped? The book centres on Blythe's account, with flashbacks to her dysfunctional mother Cecilia and her own still more dysfunctional mother Etta...

A powerful, intense, literary thriller. It is compelling if difficult to read at times. Reminiscent of 'We Need to Talk About Kevin', the book explores motherhood, parenting and relationships with a raw, searing, honesty.

Strongly recommended.

Was this review helpful?

Beautifully written, compelling, haunting. This is my first experience of this author, and it's been an unforgettable encounter. Ashley Audrain writes of the worst of a mother's fears with such emotional fluency that I am reminded of 'We Need to Talk About Kevin' as it paces perfectly to the final line, which we feared but hoped it would be different.
Thank you to Netgalley and Michael Joseph for the ARC.

Was this review helpful?

This is a great read which I have been completely unable to put down. I have loved this from start to end and have completely devoured this book in just one sitting.
Full review to follow on Publication day.

Was this review helpful?

The Push completely blew me away - easily one of the best books I've read this year and I've read over 100.

Ashley Audrain tells the story of how the mothers in one family do not behave as we would typically expect them - each has personal issues which affect their daughter and are seemingly passed on to the next generation of women.
At the beginning of the story it can be a bit difficult to keep track of which person's perspective we are reading about, but the more you find yourself engrossed in the story, the easier the novel flows.

At times I was shocked at the characters and their behaviour and actions and the end was truly unanticipated.

An excellent novel.

Was this review helpful?

It's no secret I enjoy a good delve into the world of twisted minds, which is probably why this was recommended to me. On the surface it appears very normal. And it is. Because that's where the beauty of the story is hidden.

What's it about? Mothers and daughters. I mean, there are sons in there too, and fathers and husbands and suchlike. But fundamentally the whole thing revolves around inter-generational female relationships. Okay, now it's sounding dry rather than normal... It isn't. It's tense and gripping. Partly because it deals with a fundamental fear - are we normal, or broken?

Blythe takes up the story. She's the hub of it all. Her relationship with her daughter, Violet, is the main thread and it's engrossing. We also skip back to her youth and the relationship with her mother. And, for context, we also go back another generation to learn about her grandmother too. Those sub-threads add context. They give us the background that explains Blythe's thinking. It asks us whether we can ever truly escape our pasts. It's all nicely balanced. Those sub-threads are interesting and bring a nice level of poignancy to the book. But it was the main story that had me enthralled.

Violet is a wonderfully written character. It's hard to get much nuance in a child so young, yet Audrain manages to deliver a carefully sculpted character that plays with your mind. Blythe's narration leaves you guessing at certain points - how literal was what you just read? How much is filtered through the baggage weighing upon the women of this family? We watch Blythe's world evolve as her daughter grows. We see relationships change, we empathise with her struggles. We see the highs and lows of her motherhood, and it is powerful.

It is also beautifully detailed and intricate. Oh, those details... there's no better way to draw me in. The minutiae that make up life lift stories. It's where we connect with a story. Audrain delivers by the bucketful. Small lines entwine you. How can anything bad happen in a world so normal? Which is where we meet the most important detail, the one that is positively shilling and had me craving more. The simple question from the blurb; is it Violet or is it Blythe? Will they break the cycle?

Read this book if you want to connect with superb characters. Or if you enjoy a little shiver down your spine. If you enjoy a careful plot unfolding before your eyes too. And just because it's worth reading.

Was this review helpful?

In the footsteps of ‘We Need to Talk about Kevin’ this debut novel by Ashley Audrain generates an unwelcome feeling of disbelief. How can a mother feel like that; how can a child feel or act like that?

Blythe and Fox are happily married and then their daughter, Violet, is born and Blythe awaits the rush of love that everybody talks about and all the time thinking of all that was lacking in her relationship with her own mother. Like every mother she is full of doubt, will she be a good mother, will she do it right? Meanwhile as she grows Violet is distinctly unresponsive to her mother.

This is heartbreaking; devastating and powerful.

Well-written, great structure and a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Thank you to the author, publishers and NetGalley for providing an ARC via my Kindle in return for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Wow, this was amazing! I loved it!

I read it in a couple of sittings. Loved the characters and couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next. I really felt for the main character and was rooting for her.

I was disappointed when it ended - would have liked to have known more, but then that's the hallmark of a great read.

Thank you for the opportunity to read such a wonderful story.

Was this review helpful?

Loved this book! So much so I read in one sitting. The raw sadness and interweaving story lines between the main character Blythe and her childhood keep you turning the pages. The did she didn’t she mystery surrounding Violet keep you guessing to the last page and beyond. Fabulous read.

Was this review helpful?

Where to start - nature/nurture/instinct/inherent evil. Heart in mouth read, Are children born innocent? Does a mother know her own child or is Mum going mad? Gripping and insightful read.

Was this review helpful?

A powerful, medatitive tale of Intrigue, sadness and motherhood. The protagonist is a triumph with the author succeeding in creating a sympathetic and yet at times, highly unlikeable character. A sometimes shocking story, it never shies away from shining a light on the uncomfortable truth. I found THE PUSH both unpredictable and satisfying and would highly recommend!
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC.

Was this review helpful?

There are 3 generations of women -who do not seem to be capable of loving or caring for their children .
Each of them have endured cruelties from their mothers -only to visit the same cruelties on their own offspring.
Can Blythe break the chain and give Violet -her daughter -the childhood that she yearned for as a girl - is Violet capable of a loving relationship or is it too late ??

Brilliant Read -loved it !

Thank you Net Galley for an ARC in return for an honest review

Was this review helpful?

The Push is a book that I read in one day because I just couldn't put it down.

It is a complex and compelling tense family drama/ thriller about motherhood and it had me gripped from page one to the very end. The plot is original and the characters are very well drawn.

Readers who enjoyed ‘We need to talk about Kevin’ will probably like this thought provoking book.

Was this review helpful?

Blythe is the mother to two children and this is her story. The Push is an unsettling book that left me considering the impact of adverse childhood experiences on a parent, and the damage done to the child when a parent is unable to bond with them and love them as they should.
This isn't an easy read, but it is well structured and powerfully written. It is brutally honest and intense. I would definitely recommend it and hope some of my friends read it so we can talk about it.
Thank you to Ashley Audrain, her publishers and #NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this excellent book. #ThePush

Was this review helpful?

Oh my goodness what a magnificent read. It was difficult at times due to the subject matter but hard to put down. I was completely captivated as the story unfolded. This was a beautifully written story from beginning to the very end. What an ending. Very impressive.

Was this review helpful?

I couldn't put this book down. I loved the short, sharp chapters, like little stabs in the heart. It was dark, but honest and truthful. I can't wait to read whatever Ashley Audrain writes next.

Was this review helpful?

The Push tells of a young woman named Blythe who falls in love with and marries a man named Fox, although we rarely actually read his name - Blythe's narrative is largely addressed, in the second person, to her husband. And then they have a baby, Violet. And that's where it all breaks down.

Blythe's never been confident in her own ability to be a mother. After all, her own mother, Cecilia, failed miserably in the role, and her grandmother, Etta, was even worse. (We see snippets of the lives of both of these earlier women.) Cliché though it's now become, its hard not to think of *that* Philip Larkin poem, as woman hands on misery to woman. Only lovely childhood neighbour Mrs Ellington provides an example of good mothering.

Frequent comparisons have been made with Lionel Shriver's We Need to Talk About Kevin, which I've never quite been able to bring myself to read. The relationship between Blythe and Violet is disconnected, with the girl clearly preferring her father from early on. But is the threat and violence Blythe perceives in her daughter real, or does she see only what she subconsciously expects to? It's never quite established.

The Push is a fascinating and compulsive read, acutely observed and very well written. It's also hauntingly dark and disturbing at times, particularly the devastating event at its core.

Was this review helpful?

Wow, this book was extraordinary! I flew through it in a day as I was unable to put it down. Blythe is our protagonist, she had a very difficult and complex relationship with her mother who ended up leaving the family home when Blythe was still young. Now a mother herself, Blythe is struggling to form a connection with her daughter Violet but she’s not sure if it’s her or if something is very wrong with her child.
Ashley Audrain has written a heart-stopping psychological thriller, I felt as though I was constantly waiting for something awful to happen as the tension is so high throughout. The Push is about motherhood and it’s many different elements, those women who did not want children, those who desperately wanted them but then are disappointed with the reality of the experience; the constant guilt of not being enough as a mother; the loss of the person you were before; the strength of love you can feel for one person and so much more.
The Push follows three different mothers, Blythe, her mother and then also her paternal grandmother. Each are shaped by their childhood experiences and I think that this is something that is magnified when you have a child. The only experience you have to relate it to the first time round is the experience you had with your own mother.
I liked Blythe as a character, the tragedies that she has to live through are horrendous but even in her darkest hours she keeps trying and hoping; she makes mistakes along the way but she doesn’t give up at any point.
I think this book is going to garner a lot of attention on publication, it is so well written and thought out. It would be a fantastic choice for a book group as there would be a huge amount to discuss within the story.

Was this review helpful?

This was an extremely compelling book. The reader is never entirely sure with whom the problem lies. The book very cleverly gives you room for doubt. The tension spiked up very quickly after the birth of Violet and from then on it was unrelenting, with the hairs on the back of my neck standing up and my inability to read faster most infuriating. Ms Audrain has written a very unique and insightful book, but whether it's on mental health issues or a theological debate on children being born free of sin is an issue for the reader to decide. A captivating and clever novel that will have you transfixed from the first page to the last.

Was this review helpful?

This is a 𝐌𝐔𝐒𝐓 𝐑𝐄𝐀𝐃 for next year! ⁣

I have been hearing some really positive buzz around this book since it was announced earlier this year and was dying to read it! I picked it up this weekend and read the entire thing in one sitting. ⁣

I would class this as a kind of literary-suspense and I completely understand the comparisons to ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’ now (although, for me, the writing style here was much more readable). It has a similar feel, in terms of the psychological feel and the literary style merged. In terms of the plot, I was expecting a much different story, but I really enjoyed it. It was fairly fast paced and very suspenseful.⁣

I will post a more concise review closer to publication but I really enjoyed this one. If you’re a fan of more literary psychological stories, I urge you to check this one out. ⁣

A unique story which is truly tense and terrifying!

Was this review helpful?

The Push by Ashley Audrain was a fantastic read! So disturbing on many levels and a very credible account of potential failure to bond, personality disorders, dominance and submission and the power of your history and life experiences. Wow! What a twisty tale. Did I love Blythe and feel sorry for her (& frightened for her) or was there something weird going on with her perceptions? I’m going to leave that for the readers to decide. Suffice to say- I found this absorbing and chilling - oh and God Bless Mrs Ellington (May there be many of those ) A five star read for me!

Was this review helpful?

This is a riveting novel, difficult to put down, especially with the short chapters which made me want to read just one more, then just one more, then just one more ...

I think every mother will be able to relate to Blythe to a certain extent, motherhood being such a momentous change in a woman's life and scarily different from everything you learn in books and ante-natal classes. I really felt for her in her isolation with everybody around her refusing to listen and failing to understand her insecurity.

It's difficult to say all the things I like about this book without giving away the plot, so let me just say that I was totally convinced by the characters, I was swept along by the relentless development of the story, and I loved the complexity of Blythe's personality told through the background story of her family, her relationships, her reinvention of herself to create the type of mother she wanted to be, and so many more aspects.

This is a novel to keep you on edge. After the terrible event that came about half way through, I was constantly waiting to see what would happen next. I was holding my breath turning the very last page to find out what the shocking ending would be, and having read the last paragraph, I wanted so much to know what happened next.

I would like to thank NetGalley for allowing me the privilege of reading this remarkable book and I look forward to more from Ashley Audrain.

Was this review helpful?

This is one of those novels where when you have read last page, you close it and think wow. It is a raw and uncompromising examination of what it means to be a mother and what the concept of motherhood really signifies. Blythe tells us that she is the third generation of mothers in a family where there shouldn’t be mothers.

Blythe and Fox have been together since college and when baby Violet arrives, after a traumatic birth, Blythe is unsure whether she can love her and be the mother society expects. Violet is a difficult child and Blythe is inexperienced and haunted by her own childhood with a challenging mother. The narrative is told primarily by Blythe but there are recollections of Blythe’s mother’s upbringing and that of her grandmother, both of which have an impact on the person Blythe has become. As Violet grows Blythe’s relationship with her becomes increasingly strained and the arrival of baby son Sam creates an impossible friction. Blythe and Fox separate and he moves on to life with another woman and another family. They share custody of Violet but it’s clear that she prefers the company of Fox and his new partner. Blythe becomes obsessed with the new family and trying to identify where she went wrong as a mother.

This is a well written novel laid out in short punchy chapters which really ramp up the tension. You get a real sense of Blythe’s increasing desperation and fear of and for her daughter. The description of some of the incidents which take place are unnerving and heart breaking. It is quite a tough read but it carries an important message.

The characters are authentic and very believable; they are all trying to do their best without really understanding what the best is. Many of the supporting characters are really important, in particular, Mrs Ellington who tries to provide Blythe with some normality in her childhood.

In essence this is a brilliant book with an important examination of notions of nature versus nurture, of family relationships and the effect they have for forthcoming generations. I found it impossible to put down. As a debut novel this is a real triumph.

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

I knew from the first couple of pages that I was going to love this book - the writing style is so original and the prose is beautiful. I love when a novel is constantly surprising, and this dark perspective of motherhood was smart, deft, and quietly terrifying. The characters are brilliantly realised, the plot moves along at a swift and compelling pace, and I found myself holding my breath on several occasions!

I'm normally a bit wary of books that have had so much hype as the issue with getting people ramped up for a book's release is that expectations are set higher so it's actually harder to please the reader. No such issue with The Push, which actually exceeded the expectations I had.

A gorgeously written, complex and compelling novel. I can't wait to read what this author does next. An easy five stars!

Thank you to NetGalley and to the publisher who provided me with a free ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

What a roller coaster of a read. This book features three generations of mothers who all had psychological problems made worse when they had children. The main story focuses on Blythe and her relationship with her daughter who is a difficult child and causes much concern with her behaviour ,which leads to a terrible accident but who was to blame. A real page Turner and its chilling at times, but it's a fantastic read with brilliant characters and it leaves you wanting more. A 5🌟read

Was this review helpful?

I have just finished this compelling story. It is the second story in a row with which I have had an overwhelming feeling of dread all the way through. All the signs were there from the beginning with the inevitable conclusion.. Very well written story.

Was this review helpful?

This story is intense, dark, emotional, incredibly moving and sad. It is also one hell of a page turner.

I don’t think I ever read a book inside a week no matter how good it is and whilst I was given kind of a deadline, I certainly didn’t have any complaints attempting to reach that deadline. Both the writing and the story are very compelling.

It tells of the relationship between mother and daughter over 3 generations. It is mainly set in the present and told from the point of view of Blythe with flashbacks to her childhood experiences with her mum and in turn her mum’s childhood experiences with Blythe’s grandmother. None of them happy and all with an overriding sense of cruelty and emotional neglect.

In the present Blythe is struggling with motherhood. Her daughter Violet has not been an easy child since she was born, coupled with the fact that Blythe, like any first time new mum is finding it difficult to come to terms with the upheaval that a new baby brings about and wonders if she’s doing it right. Her husband seems to have the magic touch with their new daughter, always seems to be able to calm and settle her much better than Blythe ever can.

As time goes on and as Violet grows older the relationship between Violet and her mother become ever more fraught. Violet can be very cool towards her mother and pushes her away, favouring spending time with her father instead. Blythe begins to worry that something isn’t right with Violet but her husband dismisses it as her imagination and suggests that perhaps Blythe is the one with the problem.

I won’t say any more about the story. It would spoil it for potential readers. It’s a book that questions does being a mother come naturally to every woman? How much of an effect does a less than adequate upbringing have in future years as that child grows into an adult. I did wonder if perhaps Blythe was suffering Post-natal depression, but this was only touched upon in the book and dismissed as tiredness.

It’s a story of nature vs nurture, how much a parent is willing to turn a blind eye to their child’s behaviour because they’re too frightened to admit there may be a problem. A well written story that is very hard to put down, and the ending? Well…….you’ll have to read it!

Was this review helpful?

I really don't know what to say about this book, except it was SO GREAT! Often times you start to hear hype about "the next big book" and, they're mostly good, but this one was an example of something living up to all the hype and then some. I don't think I'll ever forget these characters. I'm not yet a parent, but yet I fully related to and was invested in this story. Five stars, EASY! Don't miss this one.

Was this review helpful?

At last! I can give away a 5*
I can see this book taking the readers by storm in 2021 when this is released.

Listen up. This is sure to make a HUGE impact in 2021 for sure.

Preconceived ideas.
Dark side of Motherhood.

This is nothing short of addiction.
Once you open the first page I swear you won’t put it down.
The elements of surprise is all around in this compulsive page turner.

It’s difficult to not put into words more, much more but I fear giving too much away.

All I’m saying is, if your thoughts were that you would make the worst mother, would you welcome having a child?

This book will stay with me for a very long time.

Such a lot to get your teeth into, think about, dwell on and mull over.

Do you want an unsettling read?
This is it.

Loved it!

Be sure to mark this book on your radar. Preorder. You won’t regret it!

Was this review helpful?

I think this book will be huge. People will read it and want to discuss it immediately - that is basically all I have done for the last 24 hours since finishing it!
Serious "We need to talk about Kevin" vibes - and although it is nearly 15 years ago that I read that the impact has stayed with me - and I think The Push will be the same. In many ways it is more accessible, commercial and readable than Kevin.
Blythe is married to Fox and they welcome their first child - a girl named Violet. But Blythe struggles to get to grips with motherhood, and the bond between mother and child is a challenge from day 1. This appears to be a family trait - as we are taken through the backstory of Blythes own mother who left the home when B was a teenager, and also to her grandmother who also had issues.
But is Blythe the issue... or is her daughter the problem.
Taut, tense, compelling, and painfully accurate on the difficulties of early motherhood and parenting. I could not put this book down, yet at times it was so tense I longed to.
It is quite possibly the best "middle" section of a book I have read in months. Such suspense, and tension and some real gasp out loud moments.
I will be recommending this far and wide - but maybe not to new mothers!! ;)

Was this review helpful?

The Push is definitely a book you should pay attention to in 2021, it is intensely, beautifully written and as well as being a dark and intriguing psychological drama, it also takes on the less spoken about side of motherhood.

I don’t actually want to give too much away because The Push is an affecting and emotionally complex tale that is best served by a lack of preconceived notions..the characters are vividly portrayed and the events playing out on the page are thought provoking, unpredictable and intelligently engaging.

Disturbing, addictive, occasionally downright chilling with an ending that will haunt you, The Push is a superbly done story of nature v nurture and I absolutely highly recommend it.

Was this review helpful?

Does being a Mother come naturally, do our own childhood experiences mould us into the Mothers we become.?
Can we stop history repeating itself?
Could an innocent baby be destined to be evil?
These are a few of the questions this book raises
The menace that lurks in the pages is so carefully portrayed you can see the view from many angles and indeed how an outsider could easily form the wrong impression
Should l tell more - no l think you need to explore the many strands of motherhood yourself
I didn’t want this to end l wanted to know what happens next and when or if the cycle will stop

Was this review helpful?

The Push is an incredible, engrossing story that will quickly get you hooked as the horror slowly unfolds raising the tension in this family tragedy.
Blythe is the daughter of Cecilia, an uncaring and cruel mother, who was the daughter of Etta, who was also an uncaring mother. Can Blythe change this cycle or does the bias of the mother go on through the daughter. When Blythe becomes pregnant she is terrified that she will be a terrible uncaring mother. When her daughter, Violet, is born, Blythe struggles to form a close bond with her daughter. The novel is narrated by Blythe and you see her relationships from her viewpoint. As Violet grows older Blythe sees her daughter as distant and uncaring but is that the case or is it Blythe who is the problem? Her husband Fox thinks that she is too hard on her daughter.
Ashley Audrain has written a novel that stays with you, long after you’ve finished it. An excellent novel that, I’m sure, will prove popular with many readers.

Was this review helpful?

Oh wow. Totally engrossing, compulsive reading that I couldn’t put down. Some of the descriptions of motherhood and giving birth are very raw, this is no fairytale family, but we are led by the hand through dysfunctional families through the generations. Perceptive, gripping and fast moving, this will make you breathless.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you so much to the publisher Michealjoseph this absolute cracker comes out in January and I can’t wait to get my book loving hands on a physical copy because this was absolutely brilliant!.

I honestly could not put this down, the writing completely gripped me from the very start and held me tightly all the way through until that absolutely perfect and heart pounding ending. This had everything I want from a book, moments that made me emotional, moments that had me on edge, little twist and turns sprinkled throughout and such readable and layered characters.

This is 100% a favourite of the year, I feel like I loved it so much it’s hard to describe it and do it justice. For a debut book this is such an amazing read and something that is so well crafted and the way it unravels, flashes back in tenses focusing on Blythes Mother and Grandmother was just so clever and really added great layers to the story.

I felt hugely for Blythe , and seeing how things played out it was always emotive and shocking. This was just one of those books that commands your full attention and doesn’t let it go until the very end, but even then you’re sat there still thinking on it.

I can’t recommend this enough!

Was this review helpful?

Bleak and terrifying, when I started this I wasn’t sure I would enjoy it not being a mother myself, but the descriptions and explanations of emotions are so pinpoint detailed that I found myself completely absorbed into the narrator’s experience. It reminded me of the chilly world of We Need To Talk About Kevin. Not an easy read but I think a worthwhile one.

Was this review helpful?

What. A. Book.

Compelling and brilliantly pacey, this kept me reading through night and day. There will be links made to ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’ but this is a different kettle of fish altogether.

Fantastically written, great characters and deliciously creepy in places - can not recommend more highly.

Was this review helpful?

Wow! What a compelling, fast paced novel. The reader is really kept on their toes with Blythe feeling her daughter was basically a child with a bad unsound mind.

Was this review helpful?

would like to thank netgalley and the publisher for letting me read this book

heart wrenching and a honest take on motherhood in all its glory...for some its the best feeling in the world but for others its a constant struggle

here is a raw account of motherhood and how it can turn, hard hitting and punchy..not for the fainthearted as this is more or less a true account of how it can turn out...

gonna be keeping an eye out for more of this authors works

Was this review helpful?

An absorbing story covering three generations of women and the spine chilling experiences that formed the development or lack of, mother love towards their children. A car crash in slow motion, where the reader is a passenger in a series of catastrophic events that slowly unfold drawing a complex picture of family estrangement. A family saga which becomes too difficult to comprehend yet a story and writing style that forces the reader to turn each page reluctantly but as if hypnotically mesmerised. Moving between three different timelines and the subsequent effect on three different women a tragedy unfolds that leaves the protagonists helpless in its wake. Impossible to rate this book or the author too highly as the subject matter and content would draw on the reserves of the most experienced of writers not withstanding this was an editorial debut. A conclusion that in hindsight was unavoidable and did worthy justice to a five star read on every level. The film rights must be secured in the next stage for what is obviously going to be a best seller.

Was this review helpful?

Argh this book is amazing! It's the first time in a long time that I've read a book in under 24 hours, carrying it from room to room, reading it whenever I had the chance.

I could not put it down.

It's gripping, addictive, tense, creepy, challenging, fascinating, I'm running out of words here!

It's a story about motherhood, and what we hope it will be like and what it can be really like. It's about the fear of not being a good mum and the pressure to be the perfect wife with the perfect family. It's about hoping history doesn't repeat itself. Can you be a good mum if you never had an example to learn from? If you can see something no-one else can, is it really happening?

The story is told almost purely from main character Blythe Conner as a stream of her thoughts and memories. This really made me connect with Blythe and the story, you feel like you are right inside her head. It also only shows you one side of the story of course, which made me wonder how reliable our narrator is. Our truth is always different to someone else's truth.

This book is going to be huge when it comes out next year! Pre order it now!

Was this review helpful?

I couldn't put this book down! I'm not a huge fan of thrillers usually, but this one had me completely hooked. The writing is of high quality, the characters complex and the plot relentless, with a genius ending. The Push has all the telltale signs of a future bestseller, and one of the good sort at that. It will be a real pleasure to recommend it to those customers who love psychological thrillers in particular.

Was this review helpful?

This is incredible writing. From the very start the story is compelling and so well written. The stories of the three women, Etta, Cecilia and Blythe are stand out on their own, but when entwined it is a masterpiece of storytelling. The heartbreak of Blythe is so raw, and the psychological issues of Etta and Cecilia are tragic. Violet ensures that there will not be a happy ending. I could not stop reading, it was such a roller coaster of a story. The meetings between Blythe and Gemma at the mothers group were tense! A powerful, emotional book that deserves every accolade it gets.

Was this review helpful?

This is one of the most spine chilling books I have ever read. About 3 generations of women and how they were as mothers/grandmothers, it’s about the knock on effect from generation to generation and the whole nature versus nurture.

The story is told mainly from Blythe who is pregnant and is the main character of the book, it’s a constant stream of her memories and the thoughts she had daily, you feel like you are in her head throughly the book.

Blythe had an awful childhood, her mother Cecilia is cruel, neglectful and shows her no love, her grandmother is even worse, Blythes only example of been mothered or been cared for growing up came in the form of her nice neighbour called Mrs Ellington, and now Blythe is worried she can’t break the cycle with her baby Violet, it’s such a sad situation.

This is such a dark book yet I couldn’t stop reading it and devoured it in two sittings as I couldn’t put it down. A very good book and one I’m glad I read 😃

Was this review helpful?

A beautifully written novel which will disturb you and hypnotise you at the same time. I do not recommend reading it if you are hormonal as it manages to stir so many emotions and reflect the struggle that some mothers can go through. It grabbed me, made me shiver and left me uncomfortable but is definitely a story worth reading!

Was this review helpful?

So well written, in a deceptively simple style that conveys everything and more and makes the story so much more chilling. Blythe comes from a line of terrible, neglectful mothers. She has deep fears that this is a hereditary trait and will impact her own mother-daughter relationship. She second-guesses her every maternal response until the disturbing realisation that she might be normal but her daughter might not be.
I loved the way the author captures motherhood, the small moments that only a mother would recognise. The story explores the relationships impacted by a new baby and cleverly builds the suspense of the horror unfolding. The story is both predictable and unpredictable with many nuances and complex questions and I couldn't put it down. Very memorable.

Was this review helpful?


Now I’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about The Push – the debut psychological thriller by Ashley Audrain who was the publicity director for Penguin in Canada. HOLY SH*T this is good. In fact I would say it’s even better than good – it’s OUTSTANDING!

If you follow my blog you will know how much I love dark, twisted and disturbing thrillers especially when they feature young children and potentially unreliable narrators.

It’s so hard to talk about The Push without giving anything away, however I knew by the end of the first chapter that this was my kind of book. It didn’t just get under my skin, it burrowed so deep that I literally couldn’t put this book down.

This is a very raw and brutal look at nature vs nuture and the darker side of motherhood. The main character Blythe, a new mother whose own childhood was deeply damaged by her own mother is so open and honest about her feelings and emotions it’s impossible not to connect with her and feel her pain throughout the story.

The Push is so deep and personal that it’s actually painful to read in places . Without doubt this goes into my Top Ten books of 2020 and for once I agree with the books marketing tag “2021’s Most Astonishing Debut”

Five huge stars from me and one that will stay in my head for a long time. Highly recommended.


Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: