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The Mother-in-Law Paperback – 27 Aug 2019
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About the Author
Sally Hepworth has lived around the world, spending extended periods in Singapore, the U.K. and Canada, where she worked in event management and Human Resources. While on maternity leave, Sally finally fulfilled a lifelong dream to write, the result of which was Love Like the French, published in Germany in 2014. While pregnant with her second child, Sally wrote The Secrets of Midwives, published worldwide in English, as well as in France, Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 2015. A novel about three generations of midwives, The Secrets of Midwives asks readers what makes a mother and what role biology plays in the making and binding of a family.
The Secrets of Midwives has been labelled "enchanting" by The Herald Sun and "smart and engaging" by Publisher's Weekly and New York Times bestselling authors Liane Moriarty and Emily Giffin have praised Sally's debut English language novel as "women's fiction at its finest" and "totally absorbing".
Sally has continued writing about women's issues and family ties in The Things We Keep (published February 2016), The Mother's Promise (March 2017), The Family Next Door (March 2018) and The Mother-in-Law (February 2019).
Sally lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and three children.
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The book is written in then and now sequences and through flashbacks we understand where Lucy and Diana are coming from. Diana didn’t have an easy time as a young woman and had to toughen up quickly. As is always the case, nature and nurture form character that in turn affects future generations. One excellent aspect of the novel is that the relationship between Lucy and Diana evolves after reaching a low point, becoming nurturing and even affectionate. The family faces various dramas but the big one comes with Diana’s death. It looks like euthanasia but is it? Certain things don’t add up and the police become involved.
The novel starts OK and improves as it goes along. I have a problem when a character says “I have done xyz” when people would normally say “I’ve ...”. While we’re being picky, I don’t think a woman of Diana’s vintage would say “There’s two pieces of advice ...”. She would say “There’re ...” or write it out in full: “There are ...”. Plural nouns need plural verbs. Yes I know “There’s” is used all the time now but not so much by older folk who learnt grammar. Good story though: well-plotted with well-realised characters who evoke an emotional response.
I loved the story but even more, I loved how relatable this one was. The kids especially, behave exactly like me and the family interactions are the same too (IPad, NOW!). The Brighton and Sorrento houses are all too familiar(sadly not in my family).
Finally, I enjoyed seeing the mother in law relationship from both perspectives. As always, insightful and heartwarming.
The story was well written and loved how I was surprised with the ending. Which was great as I usually figure it out, but I didn’t with this one.
Looking forward to book no 6 now.