The Mother’s Promise
by Sally Hepworth
Why I chose this book? the similarity to Five Days Left
When I read this book? January 2016
Source: Reading Group Gold
Here is a synopsis of The Mother’s Promise from Goodreads
My Rating: ★★★★½ 4½ Stars
With every book, Sally Hepworth becomes more and more known for her searing emotional portraits of families—and the things that test their bonds. In The Mother’s Promise, she delivers her most powerful novel yet: the story of a single mother who is dying, the troubled teenaged daughter who is battling her own demons, and the two women who come into their lives at the most critical moment.
Alice and her daughter Zoe have been a family of two all their lives. Zoe has always struggled with crippling social anxiety and her mother has been her constant and fierce protector. With no family to speak of, and the identity of Zoe’s father shrouded in mystery, their team of two works—until it doesn’t. Until Alice gets sick and is given a grim prognosis.
Desperate to find stability for Zoe, Alice reaches out to two women who are practically strangers, but who are her only hope: Kate, her oncology nurse, and Sonja, a social worker. As the four of them come together, a chain of events is set into motion and all four of them must confront their sharpest fears and secrets—secrets about abandonment, abuse, estrangement, and the deepest longing for family. Imbued with heart and humor in even the darkest moments, The Mother’s Promise is an unforgettable novel about the power of love and forgiveness.
First things first….will you LOOK at that COVER?! Beautiful, isn’t it? That was the first thing noticed about this book. Then I saw that the author is Sally Hepworth. I’d read and loved her last book, The Things We Keep, ( you can read my review of that one here) so when I saw that Reading Group Gold was offering Early Reading copies of the book, I jumped at the chance. I’m so glad I did!
In the story, we learn immediately that Alice has been diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer, a grim diagnosis with only a 20% survival rate at three years. However, Alice’s biggest worry is her teenage daughter Zoe, who suffers from severe social anxiety. Alice is a single mother with no family to speak of, except for her alcoholic brother. She doesn’t speak of Zoe’s father at the beginning of the story; we only learn he is ‘not father material’ and depending on him is not an option. A social worker, Sonja, is called in, and Kate, the oncology nurse steps up to fill some of the needs. To say much more would be giving a lot away, so I won’t. Just know that all the women have problems and bond over them, forming a close relationship.
I could not find a reading guide, but this is a new release and I’m sure one will turn up soon, because this will make a FANTASTIC book club selection! Some of the topics touched on in the book are infertility, domestic abuse, rape, facing death, and others. You probably will be able to come up with plenty of discussion questions for this without any help.
There is only one issue I have with the book; it left me hanging. I would like to know what happens next (particularly with Sonya and her husband). I can’t go into more detail, but if I had a group in front of me who’d read the book, I’d have a lot to discuss! Pick this one up!
I received an Advanced Reader’s Edition of this book from Reading Group Gold.