The New Mother
By Nora Murphy
Published by Minotaur Books, 9781250822444, May 30, 2023, 304 pp.
The Short of It:
Buy a copy and read it.
The Rest of It:
Natalie Fanning and her husband Tyler are two law professionals, living in a new house and neighborhood, when their first son Oliver is born. Everything should be golden. Both are partner material at their respective firms, but Natalie’s expectation of motherhood is not at all what she imagined.
Oliver is a hard baby to love. He cries non-stop. Wants only Natalie. Won’t sleep. Seems to know exactly when to push Natalie’s buttons. Natalie’s plan was to return to work after two months but how can she? She’s had zero sleep and Oliver rebels whenever she is not around. Punching the air in her absence, Oliver is anything but sweet and Nat’s husband Tyler, although sympathetic to Nat’s struggle, proves to be useless, always using the excuse that Oliver only wants Nat. Not him. He can’t do feedings because Nat nurses Oliver. He can’t take over night duty because the kid just screams and screams.
As Natalie hits her breaking point and realizes that she is not at all herself anymore, she meets Paul, the neighbor across the way who raised his own difficult child, who is now 10. Paul’s experience with this kind of difficulty gives Nat a sense of comfort and he’s always home, as the stay at home Dad for his family. His wife Erin, provides for the family. Nat immediately takes to Paul’s kindness and finds herself desperate for the brief breaks he provides during the day.
But all is not what it seems. Their pristine little neighborhood is filled with secrets and nosy bodies and what begins as a kind gesture quickly becomes something else.
Oh! This book. It’s so good. I plowed through it. The details of mothering a difficult child is spot on! My daughter did not sleep through the night until age 4! I was nearly hospitalized by my doctor for exhaustion, so I could relate to Nat’s struggle in a very personal way. But then a little something extra is added to keep it interesting and I gotta tell ya, I was riveted. I’ve not read anything else by Murphy but she is going straight to my list of must-read authors. Highly recommend.
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
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