Review: The Mother-In-Law

The Mother-In-Law

The Mother-In-Law
By Sally Hepworth
St. Martin’s Griffin, 9781250120939, March 2020, 368pp.

*No Spoilers*

The Short of It:

Whether you can relate to having a Mother-In-Law of your own, or not, this book has you flipping the pages. It’s one of those easy, fast, reads that I am reaching for like crazy during this pandemic.

The Rest of It:

The story is told by the two main characters and alternates between the past and present. When Lucy meets Diana, everything she has heard about Mother-In-Laws is put to the side. After all, she’s not even married to Ollie yet and she’s a pretty agreeable person. Surely, they will get along.

But, Diana is a little different. She’s guarded and although she looks perfectly pleasant and is polite to a fault, there is something off putting about her. She’s a little cold, perhaps. Even to her own children, Ollie and Nettie, she lacks affection and Lucy immediately picks up on it but when she marries Ollie the deal is sealed. Diana is her Mother-In-Law whether she likes it or not.

As the story unfolds, Diana and Tom are asked countless times to help their kids out financially. Although Tom is up for it and certainly has the money to hand out, Diana doesn’t believe in handouts. She believes in hard work and struggle. This is a running theme throughout the story.

One day, Diana ends up dead. How did it happen? Why? Is there more to the story than meets the eye?


On top of all the family drama, there is the question of what happened to Diana. This family has a lot of secrets and you know that always makes for good reading. Although I felt like the ending was a tad rushed, I enjoyed this book a lot and read it in just a couple of sittings.

You wouldn’t necessarily think of this book as a club read but there were questions in the back and I must admit, they were pretty thought provoking.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

10 thoughts on “Review: The Mother-In-Law”

  1. I listened to the audio in 2019. I think I kinda liked it yet details escape me now until I read your review LOL

    1. It’s pretty good. I thought it would be a little more deceptive and that the MIL would be really difficult but I could relate to both characters actually which was refreshing.

  2. I sent it to my Mother in Law simply for the title and she really liked it, so I read it too. Then I nominated it for my book club (two members are newly crowned Mothers-in-Law) and we’ll discuss it in a couple months. I thought it was a fun, easy read, but also unexpectedly deep in some ways – how every interaction can be seen from a completely different POV and how easy it is to misunderstand someone’s feelings and intent. Good book, I thought.

    1. I agree. I initially wanted to read it because I figured the MIL would be a nightmare and it would make for good reading but it was a lot more complex than that and I felt the author did a good job of showing both sides of it.

  3. I really enjoyed this book, too! My mother just finished reading it today, but I read it too long ago to really discuss it with her. She passed it on to my sister, so maybe they’ll be able to talk about it.

    1. I really enjoy passing books on to others so it’s nice when the gesture is returned. I love that my student and I like the same kinds of reads.

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