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The Wrong Mother  By  cover art

The Wrong Mother

By: Sophie Hannah
Narrated by: Elizabeth Sastre
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Publisher's Summary

Sally Thorning is watching the news with her husband when she hears an unexpected name: Mark Bretherick. It’s a name she shouldn’t know, but last year Sally treated herself to a secret vacation—away from her hectic family life—and met a man. After their brief affair, the two planned to never meet again. But now, Mark’s wife and daughter are dead—and the safety of Sally’s own family is in doubt.

Sophie Hannah established herself as a new master of psychological suspense with her previous novel, Little Face. Now, with accomplished prose and a plot guaranteed to keep listeners guessing, The Wrong Mother is Hannah’s most captivating work yet.

©2010 Sophie Hannah (P)2010 Penguin

Critic Reviews

"Shockingly (and refreshingly) blunt riffs about the violent emotions of motherhood and the familial yearnings of men, along with chilling and darkly funny revelations about lust and loyalty, make this novel one of the season's most absorbing reads." (O, The Oprah Magazine)

"Gripping... It's like watching a nightmare come to life." (Tana French, New York Times best-selling author of In the Woods)

"Paced like a ticking time bomb with flawlessly distinct characterization, this is a fiercly fresh and un-put-downable read." (Publishers Weekly [starred review])

What listeners say about The Wrong Mother

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Loved and hated

Wow. Just finished this book...and let me say, the negatives notwithstanding, I read it pretty steadily all the way through. The pros: excellent writing, excellent narration, excellent pacing. The cons: *I disliked the main protaganist, Sally, from the beginning; none of her decisions/actions, from start to finish (the last one almost made me abandon the book) were logical or comprehensible, and therefore I disliked her. *There were 3 five-year-old girls involved, all of whom were extremely precocious, manipulative and unlikable, (has anyone read that old book "The Bad Seed"?) and it made me wonder what the author's experience with children has been -I've known lots of 5 year old girls, and only one met that criteria and she was much less accomplished). *It started to drag a littlle towards the end, like the author was spinning out the story to get the right number of words.
Overall: very readable, and kept me tuned in right to the end, so it deserves 4 stars.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

The Wrong Mother and a Confused Lisitener

The book started off with imagination grabbing interest. The plot really caught my interest. My problem was with the transitions. I found it difficult to know which character was speaking. If some editing could have been used to let the listener know who was speaking it would have helped me. I wish some of the characters had been more developed. I had to use my imagination to fill in some gaps. Maybe that is what the author intended, but it was distracting. The ending did wrap most things up, but was a paragraph or two of to much information for me. The narrator did a great job and was pleasant to listen to. I am null on a recommendation for this book. Please vote and let me know if this review helped.

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good but...

I liked this story and I like this style of cop-drama (more psychological mystery-thriller, less maniacal serial-killer blood-lust) but I still had a few issues with the book:

•Not enough exposition regarding the reoccurring characters - the “Simon & Charlie” storyline.

This series was recommended to me by a friend, and when I saw that Books 1 & 2 (Little Face & Hurting Distance) were not available on Audible, I asked her if I could start with Book 3. She said yes so I dove in not knowing anything about it. If you are wondering whether you can start with Book 3, I would say no. I felt lost regarding their arc and had no real idea what their story was all about. I read the synopsis of the first 2 books to try and fill in the blanks but it was not that helpful.

•I SUCK AT NAMES!

If like me you have a hard time keeping names in stories straight, I urge you to pay extremely close attention because the plot centers around false identities & fake names... very difficult for me!

Aside from that, I think I will like this series. The mysteries seem very interesting... enough to keep going for now at least.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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A little confusing at times

Good story, but became confusing at times when listening rather than reading (cannot flip back a few pages to remind yourself who is who)

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

A LITTLE TOO "ENGLISH"

I was distracted by the complete English"ness" of this book... It was OK, but not great. It didn't keep my interest well.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

I could not follow story

The story was confusing for me. I listened all the way to the end hoping I would understand who killed whom. Then it ended and I was totally confused. Definitely could have been me. Please don’t decide based on my review. It may be clear to you.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

the style reminds me a bit of Liane Moriarty.

good narrator. good pace.

I like books that are psychological suspense but don't only focus on police procedural details. this style reminds me a bit of Liane Moriarty. fast paced

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Lost

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The story plot was good but the way it kept switching perspective from person to person made it very hard to follow. If I had been reading the book instead of listening, that might not have been the case.
A smoother transition from perspectives might be an improvement.

What could Sophie Hannah have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Smoother or not as abrupt transitions of perspective from character to character.

Have you listened to any of Elizabeth Sastre’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Elizabeth's performances are flawless.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

It could have been a good story but the confusion in switching back and forth ruined it for me.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A cannot stop listening read

What made the experience of listening to The Wrong Mother the most enjoyable?

That it was so very, very well-written and the suspense kept going and building until the very end. I read lots of British mysteries and this one kept me guessing throughout. Great detail and dialogue.

What other book might you compare The Wrong Mother to and why?

Perhaps a P.D. James or a Reginald Hill, but it is unique book and difficult to make a comparison accurately.

What does Elizabeth Sastre bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

She is a brilliant narrator. I have already downloaded the next in the series. By the way, can you please get ALL of Hannah's novels? Three is not enough.

If you could rename The Wrong Mother, what would you call it?

the Dirty Secrets of Motherhood

Any additional comments?

As with any good mystery, the characters were believable and with human frailties. I look forward to more of Simon and crew. The British really know how to write a perfect mystery. I can't get enough.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Just awful

Hoping for a mystery, I stumbled onto this pathological nightmare. No fun to listen to at all.