The Push

The Richard & Judy Book Club Choice & Sunday Times Bestseller With a Shocking Twist

Narrated by Marin Ireland
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Pub Date 7 Jan 2021 | Archive Date 2 Feb 2021

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Brought to you by Penguin

'I will never forget her eyes in that moment - I couldn't look away from them. But I knew what happened as soon as I heard it.

'I think she pushed him,' I said to you quietly. 'I think she pushed him...'

'I read it in one sitting. Not to be missed' Lisa Jewell
'Unsettling, visceral, provocative, compulsive' Sarah Vaughan

The arrival of baby Violet was meant to be the happiest day of my life. But as soon as I held her in my arms I knew something wasn't right. I had 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 an unsettling, breathtaking and powerful read about obsession and our deepest fears that will stay with you long after you turn the final page.

© Ashley Audrain 2021 (P) Penguin Audio 2021

Brought to you by Penguin

'I will never forget her eyes in that moment - I couldn't look away from them. But I knew what happened as soon as I heard it.

'I think she pushed him,' I said to you quietly...

Advance Praise

'I read it in one sitting. Not to be missed' Lisa Jewell

'Unsettling, visceral, provocative, compulsive' Sarah Vaughan

'I read it in one sitting. Not to be missed' Lisa Jewell

'Unsettling, visceral, provocative, compulsive' Sarah Vaughan

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format, Unabridged
ISBN 9781405947138
PRICE £10.83 (GBP)
DURATION 8 Hours, 39 Minutes

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (AUDIO)

Average rating from 43 members

Featured Reviews

I listened to this story on Audiobook. The narrator had a calming voice and brought the book to life.

The book starts by saying that a woman's eggs are traceable back through the mother and grandmother. The book explains it better. It flits between different timelines of the grandmother, mother and the daughter who is the main character. Each daughter narrates each timeline. I'm not sure if it was because it was an audiobook but I did get confused on who was who. But, honestly, it didn't really matter as you realise they all suffered from the hands of their mothers. Then this is transferred down the line.

It's a weirdly shocking book of abuse but very powerful reading. You get into the minds of each relation and the subsequent relationship with their own daughter. It's quite disturbing and shocking but at the same time I couldn't stop listening. I don't think the words I enjoyed this book are the right words but I was sucked in and couldn't get out! The ending sent chills down my spine.

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I was lucky enough to have both the print copy and the audio version of this book.

The book took me a little while to get into - I think this was because I started with the audiobook, and I wasn't particularly liking the narrator. She had an incredibly strong american accent, and I found it quite monotone at times. However, when I started reading the hard copy I was gripped. After I was gripped by the hardcopy I felt like I could go back to the audio version - and so for the rest of the book I flipped between the audio and hardcopy.

The book isn't at all what I expected, based on the blurb I thought the book would be more of a thriller, but it felt a lot like literary fiction. The entire time you are wondering about the authenticity of the narrator, Blythe. I love books with a unreliable narrator, as it always feels more realistic - I mean, everyone sees things differently and would have their own version of the truth - this is the same with this book.
There is so much going on with this book, and would be a great bookclub read, as there is a lot to discuss and unpick.

I feel that this book will stay with me for a long time. I really loved the writing style, and I felt connected to the characters. This book is heartbreaking, and intriguing all at once.

I would recommend the print version to the audiobook - just purely as I didn't think much of the narrator. But either way - you MUST read this book. I feel it will be a massive talking point in 2021!

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The Push is a thought provoking novel that tackles many difficult issues, the main one being what should a mother do if she knows her child is dangerous?

When Blythe becomes pregnant, she worries that she won’t be a good mother. The book examines her relationship with her husband and new daughter Violet, while also telling the story of her mother and grandmother. The history shows they were not naturally maternal and in some situations, abusive and neglectful to their daughters.

Blythe and Violet do not bond and although Blythe cares for her infant, she feels disconnected and can see her husband has a more natural relationship with her. Blythe’s instincts tell her that Violet isn’t like other children, and after a serious incident at a playground, these concerns are confirmed.
The story continues as baby Sam comes into their lives and Blythe suddenly feels all the emotions she knows were missing with Violet.

I found this to be an intense read that provoked many emotions in me. The no holds barred descriptions of pregnancy, birth and motherhood, as well as the close examination of marriage and relationships was brutally honest and refreshing. The story is also terrifying in parts and created many questions in my mind regarding a mother’s love and loyalty.

The narrator was an added bonus to my enjoyment of this novel and did a fantastic job of creating real tension and high emotion. A brilliant Book Club read.

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"The Push" encompasses the stories of three generations of mothers and subverts our expectations about traditional mother/daughter relationships. I wondered throughout whether Blythe was perhaps an unreliable narrator and you'll just have to read it to find out. The book also raises questions about nature vs nurture. Ashley Audrain's dark debut makes for compulsive reading and I suspect it stays with you long after the final, shocking lines.

I listened to the audiobook which is brilliantly narrated by Marin Ireland, who is fast becoming one of my favourite voice artists.

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This is an audio book review for The Push by Ashley Audrain. The story follows several generations of mothers within a family. Blythe is the main character who becomes pregnant. she tries to be enthusiastic about becoming a mother but when her daughter Violet is born she doesn’t bond with her. Her husband Fox develops a strong relationship with the child while Blythe and Violets begins to flounder.
Throughout the story we flicker back through time to Blythes mother Cecilia and then back even further to Cecilias mother Etta and take a look at all of these complex mother daughter relationships which are disturbing and unsettling at times.
When Blythe has another child, who she does bond with immediately, Violets dark side emerges and the reader is taken down an even darker and unthinkable path.
This is a gritty, dark psychological debut and not for the faint hearted. Audrain’s writing is excellent and she knows exactly how to reel you in .I think this book will be big in 2021 and would be particularly good for book groups as there is so much content to discuss.
Narrated by Marin Ireland and delivered in short punchy audio chapters, this makes for a great audiobook! This book is out on the 7th of June 2021. Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin Random House for my much appreciated gifted copy.

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I had no expectations when beginning this novel, and sometimes, that's even better. I knew it was meant to be good, but didn't know which direction the book would take me down.
This book gave me chills. Actual chills. It was SO unsettling and the child character Violet will stay with me for a very long time.
The audiobook was absolutely fantastic and I loved the narrator's voice. She captured the anxiety and stress of every situation perfectly.
I am astounded that this is a debut novel. Audrain is one to watch.

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This is a book that had me gripped. I couldn’t put it down. It’s dark, thrilling and wonderfully written. A chilling tale of nature vs nurture. Definitely one to read if you can.

Thank you to Penguin Random House UK Audio for this advance copy.

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The Push - Ashley Audrain

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review thanks to Penguin Random House UK Audio and Netgalley. Read by Marin Ireland.

Blythe Connor is determined that she will be the warm, comforting mother to her new baby Violet that she herself never had.

But in the thick of motherhood’s exhausting early days, Blythe becomes convinced that something is wrong with her daughter–she doesn’t behave like most children do.

Or is it all in Blythe’s head? Her husband, Fox, says she’s imagining things. The more Fox dismisses her fears, the more Blythe begins to question her own sanity, and the more we begin to question what Blythe is telling us about her life as well.

This is a well written, powerful and gripping psychological thriller. The Push is brutally honest in places and raises the debate of nature vs nurture. Whilst the main topic of the book is a mother’s maternal instincts, you do not need to be a mother to understand the emotional struggles of Blythe.

The book starts off slow but quickly gathers pace and hooks in the reader.

Rating 4/5

A brilliant debut novel.

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The cover of this book is what caught my attention and then once I’d read the synopsis I knew I wanted to read it. Thank you to @MichaelJBooks and @audrain for this advanced audio copy of The Push in return for an honest review. The Push is published today; 7th January 2021 and you can get a copy here.

Description 🔖

Blythe Connor did not receive the upbringing that a child deserves but she does not want the cycle to continue. When her first daughter Violet is born, she knows that she will shower her with mother’s love. Except becoming a parent for the first time isn’t always flowers and rainbows and Blythe struggles with her baby girl.

Her husband Fox, doesn’t take Blythe’s concerns seriously and insists that she is imagining the disdain that Violet has towards her. Blythe feels like nothing she can do can mend the relationship between her and her daughter and fears that the love she has for her family will not be enough to save it.

General Thoughts 🤔

This book brought out feelings in me that I didn’t know were there. I got so invested in the storyline and the characters that it felt so real and so close to me personally. I haven’t been through any of the things that any of the characters have but goodness it hit me.

I didn’t find this an easy book to read but it was a book I could not put down. I mean there were a few times I had to because it all felt a bit much, but I was back in very shortly after. It’s as dark as storylines get and for some sick reason, that’s what made me love it so much. The whole concept of dysfunctional mother daughter relationships being passed down in generations was fascinating. I found myself questioning if wanting to break the cycle is enough to actually break it or is it something that’s just ingrained in people from early on in life.

Characters 👭👬👫

Immediately I was gripped by the characters in this book. They were all deeply flawed in very different ways.

My heart broke for Blythe. Many times whilst reading I thought about whether anyone would do things differently to how she did. I felt like Blythe had been dealt a seriously bad hand in life and did not receive the love, attention and support that all of us require just to make it through the day sometimes. Throw into that the difficulties with Violet and I can’t even imagine what I would have done in her shoes.

I thought that Fox was disappointing as a man, as a husband and as a father. I suspected that this was due to the type of childhood that he had; stay at home mother who doted on him and a comfortable family life. Maybe he put so much pressure on his own adult life to mirror that of his parents that he blinded himself to the reality that was right in front of his eyes in his own home.

Writing Style ✍️

This is a fantastically written debut novel. I take so much pleasure from reading great debuts as it’s almost like I can feel the love that must have gone into the author’s work. One thing I will say is that I’m not sure I would want to live in Ashley Audrain’s brain; there are some pretty dark places hidden in there.

The book flits back and forth between Blythe as a child and Blythe as an adult. It is all written from her perspective; as I believe it should have been. I listened to the audiobook and the narration was perfect for the character of Blythe and the story. If I was to hear that voice again, it would be Blythe’s voice I’d be listening to.

Conclusion & Scoring 🏅

I had chills reading this and any book that can do that for such an extended period of time has to be great right? All of the feels jump right off the page and I challenge anyone to read this and not empathise with the struggle, the loneliness and despair that’s threaded throughout the story. A fantastic book about the dark side of motherhood. I’m so happy this is published today as I’ve already got friends downloading to read. I won’t be forgetting about this incredible story any time soon.

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Whilst I found it somewhat difficult to keep the characters straight in my head as I was listening, I found this novel engaging and fascinating. Thoroughly chilling as our narrator believes her daughter holds a darkness in her but no one around her seems to see it.

The ending, well, that was just the cherry on top of an already great book.

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Wow. Firstly this is not a conventional thriller. It's a character driven phycological family story. It's a thriller in the way you feel constantly uneasy. The sense of impending dread never leaves you throughout this entire story. As someone who is just starting to think of family, this was just pure terror honestly.

This story is told over three generations of mother's and their daughters which I did not expect. The most interesting plot is definitely the central one between Blythe, our main character and her daughter Violet. But the other storylines provided context, and possible outcomes to the central plot.

Blythe is a messy character but in a way that is easy to empathize with and basically I spent most of the book hating on her husband who the story is almost told to through the second person perspective.

In short this was a terrifying, brilliantly woven take that didn't reply on twists to deliver an engaging story. Will definitely check out more but this author.

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I’d heard a lot about this book so was interested to listen. It was interesting even with it being an uncomfortable and very dark one with a lot going on that portrays how certain issues can impact different parts of someone’s life. It might be triggering for some people as the book discusses the issues of child loss, neglect, PND, abandonment and relationship break-ups in great detail. I felt the flow of the story didn’t work as it was told in the first and second person which I normally love but just found it a little annoying and confusing not to mention jumping from one to the other. I found the characters very unlikeable but maybe that was the idea and being in Blythe’s head throughout was a little depressing. I don’t think it’s a case that I didn’t like it but more so I found it an uncomfortable and hard listen due to the context and not my usual go to. I know a lot of people loved this book and I do think it’s the kind of book you either love it or hate it.

Thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Random House UK Audio for the opportunity to listen and review this ARC that was published on the 7th of Jan.

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An amazing read/listen I loved it
I cannot recommend this enough. It is credible heart stopping & exciting I can't wait for more from this writer

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After a slow start I became hooked on this book about a quarter of the way in!

The plots a familiar one but the writing really makes you want to keep reading just to see how it all unfolds. I’m not sure how to categorise this book, while the premise could lend itself to a thriller this isn’t the direction the author takes. Instead, Audrain focuses on the psychological element, building the intensity of her main character until you are fully drawn in.

The majority of the story is told from Blythe’s point of view, recounting her experiences as a mother and the relationship she had with her own mother. We are never sure if Blythe is a reliable narrator and at times her actions are incredibly frustrating but it’s also easy to emphasize and form a connection with her as we dive deep into her emotions. This means some of the tragic events in the book hit particularly hard, everything is written with sensitivity but it can be an uncomfortable read at times.

As well as snippets from Blanches childhood, we get an insight into her mother’s childhood exploring the cycle of neglect. I found these sections helpful for understanding Blythe further but it was difficult to distinguish them from each other, perhaps that highlights just how similar each generation is but I did find it a bit more confusing than it needed to be.

I listened to the audiobook version of this book. It worked well as an audiobook as most of it was written from Blythe’s point of view in a diary style. That said, personally I didn’t feel the narrator was a good choice for this book and it took me a while to get used to their voice.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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I read The Push by Ashley Audrain as part of a global readalong. Huge thank you to tandem and to Michael J Books, for sending me a hardcover copy of this book so I can join the readalong. The Push really intrigued me from the very first start and it was one of those books I devoured in a day, needing to know the next chapter. If you’re looking for a fast-paced thriller, it will not let you down.

Blythe is afraid that history will repeat itself when her first child, Violet, is born. Having a complicated relationship with her own mother, she is dedicated to give all the love and attention to Violet.

But Violet is not an easy child, and something is not right. She doesn’t smile at all, and no matter how much Blythe tried, Violet seems to not like her at all. Blythe’s husband, Fox, is certain that Blythe is just imagining this. But he cannot understand what Blythe has experienced as a child.

Fighting a battle that she might never be able to win, Blythe is on the verge of losing her daughter, her family, her husband, her marriage, and everything she does seems to be wrong. Is her child really evil, or is she just being delusional?

My Thoughts:
The Push was certainly a different book, unlike anything else I’ve read. Many people in our group have compared it to “We Need To Talk About Kevin” by Lionel Shriver, because of the style of writing. I haven’t read that one, so I couldn’t compare it, but it’s definitely on my radar now.

The Push is written in a first person perspective, where Blythe is telling her story to her husband, Fox. There are also parts in the book where we follow the stories of Blythe’s mother and Blythe’s grandmother. These parts help us learn more about those relationships and help us understand Blythe better, as well how her childhood plays a part in her relationship with her daughter, Violet.

The relationship between Blythe and Violet was presented in such a unique way, full of anxiety. Their interactions made me uncomfortable many times, but I enjoyed that. It’s not often that a book can push me out of comfort zone like that and I hope to find more books like this in the future. I am not a mother myself, but this book might be a hard read for parents. Especially during certain scenes, I could barely read chapters without taking a break.

The short chapters and the many plot twists are what made The Push unputdownable for me.
I was staying up all night, flipping pages and I loved that. I mostly felt for Blythe, because of what she was going through. no one should have to experience that and she should have received more support from her husband. However, there were also instances where she was neglecting Violet as a child and I wonder whether this had any consequences to Violet’s personality later on, as well as her development.

I loved the suspense of The Push, as well as the fact that we can never truly trust Blythe to tell us the truth, because this is her story, but it may not necessarily be completely true. The only part that I wanted more of was the ending. It didn’t finish as concluded as I’d hoped, but that’s just my personal preference. I also hoped to see Violet’s point of view, as well as what was going on through the husband’s mind – I feel like this might have brought more plot twists, or make people choose sides and discuss this.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Push.
It was a very interesting and dark psychological thriller. Extremely fast-paced and full of plot twists. If you are looking for something to keep you on your toes, look no further.

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Push... I listened to the audio book. This is an intense story that explores countless angles of motherhood, daughterhood and the relationships that both impact and are impacted by that dynamic. It further explores the nature-nurture argument as we watch an inter-generational unfolding of emotional twists and turns, where there is a longing for love, even when it is absent, leading ultimately to a sense of failure.

Blythe is an unreliable narrator, owing mostly to her self-doubt, which escalates as time goes by, and this serves to force the listener to 'read between the lines'. She struggles between what she 'knows' and what she 'believes' to be the truth. It is an intense examination of the effects of relationships on one's sense of self and well-being. The whole story is a demonstration of her need to be heard, listened to... it is her account of events.

The listener might recognise parts of themself, or of people they know, in the characters, or relate to situations they have experienced. There is a lot of sadness in this story - some desperate sadness at times, but also a lot of love and hope. It is certainly thought provoking. I'm pleased that I listened to it, and would recommend it.

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The Push is a dark, slow burner with a cracking final line in the book. (Dont read ahead, it will ruin it for you!)

Blythe gives birth to her daughter Violet but doesn't settle in to motherhood as she hoped. She has a hard time with her daughter and to be frank, they don't get on from birth. Her husband is not supportive and makes is clear to Blythe he thinks she is the problem. Blythe is left wondering who the problem is with, her or Violet.

If you are a fan of gone girl and girl on the train you'll enjoy this.

Thanks so much to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.

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When Blythe gives birth to her daughter, Violet, she is saddened to discover motherhood is not always the idyllic picture it is painted as, and she struggles with her emotions and to bond with her young daughter. With her relationship with her husband becoming strained, she looks back at her relationship with her own mother to try and understand a bit more.
When tragedy strikes, Blythe can no longer be the mother she is expected to be and starts to dread spending time alone with her daughter. She is starting to wonder if she is justified in her apprehension around Violet or if the problem lies within herself.
The plot was dark and gripping, this book did not shy away from difficult questions Blythe faced and it was intriguing to find out where the story was going.
I was hooked!

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This is a dark and compelling psychological family drama.

Blythe didn't have the best childhood, particularly concerning her relationship with her mother. When she finds out she is expecting, she is determined that she will do better than her own mother did.
But when the baby is born, she doesn't feel the instant connection and worries whether she is capable of being the mother that she always wanted.

Packed full of spine-chilling tension, this is an excellent debut and I can't wait to see what comes next for this author.

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Hard-hitting, biting, upsetting and deeply insightful.

4.5 stars

As a separated mum living apart from her children, the first images of this story really hit me - the mother watching her daughter from outside her new family's home. I immediately felt a connection to Blythe, though I had no idea how my feelings were going to be pulled at and wrung out by the time we returned to this bookend scene at the end of this short novel.

I wasn't quite ready for what came, though it all rang true. The story of Blythe and Fox, the overwhelming love and early days of affection and support, the excitement of homes and jobs and aspirations... and starting a family.

All of that I could relate to. And then as Blythe gave birth and her whole world changed, the experiences seemed to pour out from the author as someone who knows what an explosion becoming a mother is. The anger at the other parent who gets to leave every day, the monotony, and the complicated emotions you're left struggling with. Though the story takes a turn with little Violet, who could be a Lionel Shriver 'Kevin' or William Landay's 'Jacob'.... we just don't know.

We can't trust Blythe's frame of mind or narrative at times. What she sees in her growing daughter, others don't seem to. Do we trust her?

Blythe is a fascinating character as a mother. We get snippets of her own story, with an unloving mother (and also go back one more generation to see her mother's upbringing and history). I felt that this wasn't all that necessary actually, and didn't add anything to the book - illumination, clarity or perspective. It added a little confusion on the audiobook as to whose story we were following, and it was only really Blythe's I wanted.

Violet is key to everything of course, and we only get the perspective of her mother. Violet occasionally is given a voice. And it's quite a creepy one, wise and thoughtful beyond her years. With context, it could be said to be prescient and foreshadowing, dark and calculating.... or is it?!

There are books like this out there - the two mentioned above are well-known. The idea of the 'is she or isn't she' demonic child character isn't new. But Blythe as mother is a little different. Her narration hurts. It's more about her as mother and and wife, two stories in one really.

Personally I loved the ending. I felt satisfied. I would still like to know what happens after the final scene. I wanted to hear more from Fox, throughout really. The changes in their relationship felt very real and I wanted his thoughts on his marriage, his wife, his child. Blythe does try to give us his views through her eyes, but his actions are thoughts are largely hidden or not fully explained.

It's hard-hitting. It's tense. It raises questions. A great audio-read, you are very much 'there' with Blythe as she tells you her story, and the voice actor portrays her well - vulnerable, conflicted and very much a mother.

With thanks to Netgalley for providing a sample audio copy.

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Thank you to both Netgalley and the publisher for the audio arc of this book!

Wow where to even begin? This book was so messed up in so many ways. We follow the story of Blythe who grew up without a mother, when she becomes a mother herself to baby Violet she immediately questions her ability in her new role. Her child seems fine with everyone else but won’t settle for Blythe. As Violet grows Blythe begins to notice an aggressive streak in her but when she attempts to bring this to her husband or mother in laws attention they think it is her who is struggling and needs help and that Violet is fine. When Blythe has her second child Sam, Violet seems fine for a while but makes a few comments about not wanting Sam around anymore. When a freak accident ends in Sams death Blythe tells the police and her husband that Violet is responsible but isn’t believed. The story really kicks off from there.

This book is super fast paced, the writing is good and the characters are written really well and are so believable. I kept flirting between feeling sorry for Violet to then thinking she was a monster a chapter later. I really enjoyed the ending too.

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I’d like to thank NetGalley and Michael Joseph for approving me to listen to this gripping debut! The narration is done brilliantly by Marin Ireland and I have enjoyed it so much that I went and bought myself a copy to keep on my bookcase.

The Push is told entirely from Blythe’s POV and it is clear very early on that something is either not right with her or her daughter. It’s safe to say that this chilling debut is nothing like I have ever read before and definitely has the shock factor.

Audrain has taken every new mothers worst nightmare and brought it to life, she has explored the dark side of motherhood warts and all. I am a mother of two small children and I love them to pieces but I’d be lying if I said I found motherhood a breeze. It has its challenges and there are times when I feel like I am pulling my hair out but for the most part I am grateful for the unconditional love that I receive from my boys every day.

Early on in the story I found myself sympathising with Blythe. When she was sleep deprived and trying to find anything to help her get through I could feel the strain and wanted to reach into the pages and help her. I felt for her even more as I started to learn about the history of the women in her family and felt this played a major part in her actions as an adult.

Violet was an amazing character that left me with chills. She was clever, conniving and determined with her actions but she also had me doubting Blythe’s thoughts. There was this power about her that made me question my own judgement and conclusions. Was she the monster that her mother painted her to be?

This book was emotional, psychotic, intense and thrilling right up until the final word! If this is a debut then I can not wait to see what Ashley Audrain writes next.

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What an incredible debut; The Push is a real blockbuster of a story and I polished off the audio version over a couple of evenings. I was totally engrossed, intrigued, horrified and so rooting for it to work out well. It’s not easy to review without giving away too much of the story, but it involves three generations of mothers and daughters. The relationships between each vary considerably and at one level this is a book which explores familial bonds and expectations.. However, woven around that theme is a taut psychology thriller where the reader is wondering with every page ‘what can happen next’. It’s one of those rare books where you almost want to shout ‘she’s behind you’ as you realise the potential for the next disaster. One of the characters is totally lacking in empathy, but able to charm and manipulate. There are marriage tensions, relationships break down, there’s obsession, fear and throughout a strong sense of wanting things to turn out well.

Ashley Audrain’s writing is lyrical at times. In describing how one of the characters looked after weeks of sleepless nights she commented that below her eyes was ‘like plum hammocks’. She turns the written word into something visual and enjoyed this book from start to finish. Very skilfully plotted with complex relationships, turns that surprise and a well rounded ending. If this author has the skill to write something like this as a debut, I can’t wait for her next book. Narration is excellent and I highly recommend this story.

My thanks to Penguin for a review audio file via Netgalley. Eight or so highly rewarding hours.

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This is a story of mothers and daughters and the complicated relationships that can exist between them. Blythe, the narrator, comes from a line of women who did not take to mothering: they struggled to bond with their daughters, to nurture and to nourish them. As a child, Blythe's mother Cecelila says to her:

"One day you'll understand, Blythe, the women in this family, we're different."

The story opens with Blythe outside her ex-husbands house, looking in the window on a scene that once belonged to her: the loving husband, daughter and son - only a different woman has taken Blythe's place. This story is Blythe's version of events; how her unhappy ending came to pass.

When Blythe meets Fox at university, they quickly fall for each other. Their love is good and strong. Fox quickly becomes her 'everything.' He is kind, caring and supportive, and he says he can't wait to have children with her. With her mother's words and actions echoing through her, she swallows her anxieties, smiles and hopes that with Fox, she can be different to Cecelia, and her grand-mother, Etta.

But Blythe struggles after giving birth to Violet. She can't seem to settle her crying, can't comfort her or meet her needs. Blythe feels like she's loosing control of everything. Fox thinks she just needs to show Violet more love, he thinks she should try harder. And she does. She tries really hard. But what if the problem is not with Blythe? What if the problem is Violet?

This is a brilliant psychological thriller which had me absolutely gripped and engrossed from beginning to end. The writing is beautiful and visceral. It shines a light on a different version of motherhood - a version which is dark and filled with mental anguish and self-soubt. The story is gripping and so cleverly structured so that it keeps you wanting more, wanting to know how everything went wrong for Blythe and Violet. Whose fault was it? Who could be trusted?

Believe the hype! This is an accomplished debut - I can't wait to see what Audrey Audrain brings us next. The audio book is narrated by Marin Ireland, and is a wonderful listen.

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This book is mind blowingly brilliant. On the uncomfortable theme of Dysfunctional mothering through generations,, it investigates the lineage of Blythe and her daughter Violet. This book weaves in and out through the generations causing some confusions, as many of the events could easily fit into the lives of many of the female characters in the story.
Blythe seems to have trouble bonding with her daughter Violet. Is it because she is a selfish woman, or because she has never had good mothering experience? To tell more would be to add spoilers.

This is such a shocker of a book. Horror unfolds at many levels and by the end, Blythe and the reader are left uncertain of whether we have an unreliable narrator, a confused or deluded narrative.
I really enjoyed this story. It’s going to be huge, I will be recommending it.

Trigger Warning #Neglect #DysfunctionalMothering

Thanks to #NetGalley for the opportunity to listen to this audiobook in exchange for an honest review

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