A Mother Would Know: A Novel

Image of A Mother Would Know: A Novel
Release Date: 
December 13, 2022
Reviewed by: 

“Powerful characters with unforeseen events make this novel a page-turner. This is a psychological thriller sure to keep the reader on tenterhooks up to the unexpected conclusion.

Valerie Jacobs is in a quandary. She is beginning to forget things, and now she has to write herself notes so she won't miss something important. When her mother had been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease when she was still young, Valerie learned the ailment runs in families. Has this illness caught up with her, too? After all, she forgot to pick up her grandson for Kendra, her daughter, and her oldest never ceases to remind her of her transgressions.

Things have been tough for Valerie for quite a while. Though she lives in her Victorian dream house, one that's said to be haunted by six-year-old Grace Newton who died a mysterious death more than 50 years ago, Kendra constantly tries to get her to sell the old place and move in with her, her husband, and baby, Mason. No way. Valerie would be smothered living with her staid and arrogant daughter not to mention her stick-in-the-mud, son-in-law, Theo.

Married to Darren for many years, Valerie loved her career as a singer with a band called, Flight of Hearts, which did well. But did this affect her family? She and Darren drifted apart with him taking to the bottle and more often than not, he was inebriated while in the care of Kendra and younger brother Hudson, leaving them to fend for themselves. The two kids were always at odds with each other and never failed to show their disdain for Valerie, believing she "abandoned" them.

Now they are grown. Kendra has a family, and Hudson, a deadbeat, who left a long time ago, returns home. Kendra claims their mother is losing her faculties and needs Hudson to be with her. So it wouldn't seem as if he's to be her caretaker, Hudson informs Valerie his last lover threw him out, and he has no place else to go. In reality, he does not want to return to his childhood home where his presence is frowned upon by the neighbors. When only a teenager, Hudson's BFF and girlfriend Heather died in a freak accident. Hudson was cleared of all charges, yet everyone still considers him guilty of killing the young girl, though he swears he is innocent.

Valerie, lonely with only Bowie, the pooch who keeps her company, is thrilled to have her son back home. A few years before, Darren passed away thanks to his drinking, and the band split up, all because of Valerie, making her world crumble around her. Now she is alone and considered a pariah in her neighborhood, so she is happy to have Hudson back with her, though he's hardly ever home. As time progresses, they become closer, which annoys Kendra to no end. She always maligned her mother saying she put her band before them, so she was close to her father, and she blamed Valerie for his passing.

Hudson now works at a decent job and socializes a lot with his friends, and when Valerie happens to notice a text sent to him by his ex, she starts to worry—worry to the point of checking her out and going to see her, needing to find out what happened between them. She learns the woman had a restraining order out on Hudson, which has Valerie questioning Heather's death. Could Hudson have pushed her off the cliff causing her to perish? Though Hudson has a temper, would he go so far as to kill someone?

Then when a new neighbor named Molly is found murdered, suspicion turns again to Hudson. He was seen talking to her at a local bar the night before she was killed, though Hudson is adamant about having nothing to do with her demise, saying he just chatted briefly with her.

Valerie's antenna goes up, and she breaks into Molly's home looking to see if she can find anything that could implicate Hudson. When she finds a man's watch, she thinks it looks familiar, but who does it belong to, and was it left there by mistake? Could it be Hudson's?

As her thoughts and suspicions grow, her mind becomes more distorted, and Kendra is more certain Valerie is in need of constant help. Sure, Valerie's mind is jumbled for she cannot figure out what is happening or who she can trust. She also wonders if how she raised her children caused them to still be rivals with each other, even as adults, when she notices their rivalry and malice toward each other has escalated. What exactly is going on with her children? Has she lost her mind?

Powerful characters with unforeseen events make this novel a page-turner. This is a psychological thriller sure to keep the reader on tenterhooks up to the unexpected conclusion.