Tag Archives: Pamela Dorman Books

Review: The Push

The Push

The Push
By Ashley Audrain
Pamela Dorman Books, 9781984881663, January 2021, 320pp.

The Short of It:

I had heard from many that this story was wild and it is. It’s like watching an accident happen in slow motion and you cannot look away.

The Rest of It:

Blythe and Fox can’t wait for their beautiful baby girl to arrive. After a difficult labor, baby Violet is placed on Blythe’s chest and it’s not quite the feeling she’s envisioned all her life. As a young girl whose own mother left her at a young age, Blythe silently vows to be the type of mother that she herself never had. But the constant feedings, the lack of sleep and honestly, the lack of a mother-daughter bond concerns Blythe. It concerns Fox too but he pins it on exhaustion. How could a mother not love her own child?

The thing is, Violet never seems to NEED Blythe. She is always reaching for daddy and doesn’t seem to notice the things he can’t provide like the around-the-clock nursing that only Blythe can manage. Years pass and this feeling that Blythe has can’t be shaken. There is something wrong with this child.

Enter Sam. If you have any doubts over your ability to be a mother, why not test the theory out by having another child? That’s exactly what Blythe does. She never shares her full intentions with Fox but secretly she wants to prove that she is a good mother and that a different child will see that. Sam is the baby she’s always wanted. He nuzzles into her, and doesn’t turn away like Violet did. He smiles when he sees her and looks to her for comfort. When she sees her son’s goofy grin, she smiles from ear to ear. While all of this is going on, Violet and her father also notice and Blythe is left wondering if there is something wrong with her to feel such dread whenever her daughter enters the room. How can Blythe not let this affect them? Then, the unthinkable happens.

What a book! This is a brutally honest look at motherhood. These characters are not depicted in a good light and some might think that Blythe’s aversion to her own daughter is way over-the-top but anyone who’s had a few rough years with a baby knows that it is right on the money. My daughter did not sleep through the night until age four and required two feedings an hour for years. So long that the doctor had her checked for a heart condition thinking she was expending too much energy and therefore requiring more food. This book triggered me in so many ways and yet I kept flipping those pages.

Many have described The Push as being compulsively readable. I agree 100%. It’s gritty and truthful and not at all pretty but it was impossible to put down. If you enjoyed Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage then you will want to read this one.

Also, Ashley Audrain has another book coming out in 2022, The Whispers.

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

Review: The Sanatorium

The Sanatorium

The Sanatorium
By Sarah Pearse
Pamela Dorman Books, 9780593296677, February 2021, 400pp.

The Short of It:

A quick, fast-paced read that will keep you guessing.

The Rest of It:

I knew nothing about The Sanatorium when I picked it up, except that it was a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick and that an old mental hospital was at the center of the story. I’ve been pretty lucky with the books Reese has chosen for her clubs and an old mental hospital sounded like the perfect, creepy setting for a mystery.

The story opens with the sanatorium being completely renovated and in its place, is a fancy hotel located in the Swiss Alps. Elin has taken time off from her job as a detective to attend her brother’s engagement party. Isaac and Elin have been estranged for quite some time, but she can’t really say no to this celebratory event so she and Will, her significant other, make the trip and decide to put the past behind them.

Shortly after their arrival, there is an avalanche which cuts them off from the rest of society. No one can leave and no one can get to them either. This wouldn’t be much of an issue normally but a dead body has been found in the snow, and it’s not looking like an accident. As details emerge, more people go missing including her soon-to-be sister-in-law and Elin can’t help but get involved since she’s the only detective on the scene and the only one who can investigate at all since the local police cannot get to them.

I’ve read many stories where the characters are stuck in a remote location and everything that CAN hit the fan, does. Although the concept is far from unique, the execution here is a lot better than some of the books I’ve read with similar plots. As the story unfolds, just enough is given to you to make you question what is going on and who could be responsible for it. The pacing is very good and if you are wondering if the mental hospital enters back into the story, it does, but not in a big way. I was hoping for more mental hospital and less hotel, personally.

What’s good about this story is that Elin is dealing with something from her past and her story is woven quite nicely into this murder mystery. The two storylines complimented one another and did not compete which is rare. If you look at other reviews for this book, you will see that opinions are mixed but I enjoyed it and thought it was well done. For those of you who have read it, do you see a sequel in the works?

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