Sally Hepworth’s latest novel, The Mother’s Promise, should come with a “Tissues needed” warning. I cried. More than once. Chances are you will, too. Here’s the blurb:
The bestselling author of The Secrets of Midwives delivers her most powerful novel yet.
Alice and her daughter Zoe have been a team of two all their lives. With no family to speak of, and the identity of Zoe’s father shrouded in mystery, they’ve never needed anyone else – until Alice gets sick.
Desperate to find stability for Zoe, Alice reaches out to two near-strangers: Kate, her oncology nurse, and Sonja, her social worker. As the lives of the three women become inextricably tied, a chain of events is set into motion, forcing them to confront their deepest fears and secrets.
Imbued with heart and humour in even the darkest moments, The Mother’s Promise is an unforgettable novel about the strength of a mother’s love.
Courage and resilience are explored with a sensitive touch in this bittersweet tale about love’s limits. You know from the outset that it’s going to be an emotional read, that it’s going to tug at the heart strings. But while there are moments of despair, so too are there moments of hope – and even humour – as the ensemble of characters face life-changing circumstances that could either make or break them. Hepworth takes readers on an emotional ride that teases out almost the full spectrum of feelings: shock, loss, grief, pain, desire, jealousy, betrayal and more. And the way the characters develop through their ups and downs, and with each other, is really what stands out about this book. Hepworth gets her characters and she does them justice all the way.
While this is an ensemble novel, giving insights into all the women’s lives, for me this was really Zoe’s story. She stood to lose the most, but she also gained so much along the way, and I was left with the sense that her light would shine even in her darkest moments.
Available from good bookstores (RRP $29.99). My copy was courtesy of Pan Macmillan Australia.
For more of Monique Mulligan’s writing on books, check out Write Note Reviews
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David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television