THE PUSH by Ashley Audrain (Michael Joseph £12.99, 320 pp)
by Ashley Audrain (Michael Joseph £12.99, 320 pp)
This has all the hallmarks of a bestseller, with its riveting plot centring on Blythe’s struggles to love her daughter.
The author explores the fascinating theory that links Blythe’s mothering difficulties to those of her own mother and grandmother.
At the heart is the mystery of whether she or her tormented daughter Violet is responsible for the tragedy that blights her own once-happy marriage.
The graphic flashbacks to the lives of Blythe’s mother and grandmother explore the nature versus nurture cycle of blame and raise questions about whether it can ever be successfully interrupted.
Audrain has produced an intelligent, painstaking and thought-provoking account of parenting that will move anyone who is a mother or comes from an unhappy home.
by Deborah O’Connor (Zaffre £12.99, 416 pp)
In the near future, Hannah sits at home waiting for her husband’s murderer, Jem, to arrive. He will be imprisoned in a specially built cage in her kitchen where he will, thanks to a new restorative justice system, serve out his sentence.
The theory is that the murderer will become truly repentant. But Jem has other ideas and sets out to convince Hannah he is innocent. In the process, Hannah’s faith in the real character of her late husband, a policeman, is shaken.
It is a credit to her fresh, informed style that O’Connor maintains the credibility of such a far-fetched plot, but once you’re used to the preposterous premise, the story zips along and Hannah’s dilemma shines a light on justice and forgiveness in a highly original fashion.
OUR LITTLE CRUELTIES by Liz Nugent (Penguin £8.99, 384 pp)
OUR LITTLE CRUELTIES
by Liz Nugent (Penguin £8.99, 384 pp)
Don’t expect to like any character in this psycho mash-up of Shameless and a middle-class EastEnders. But the narcissist mother and her objectionable three sons will draw you into their tangled tale of jealousy and sibling rivalry.
We learn from the funeral on the first page that one of the brothers is lying in the coffin while the other two are exhibiting a suspicious kind of mourning.
The story takes us on the wild ride to discover why. The family’s glamorous lives are fuelled by bitter competition, betrayal and the shifting loyalties of Will, the arrogant film producer, Brian, the cunning manager and Luke, the drug-addicted superstar.
In the background at first, but maybe more significantly, lurks a mother who plays favourites and a daughter with a secret.
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