The Guilty Mother by Diane Jeffrey

Joining The Dots

The Guilty Mother by Diane Jeffrey is the most marvellous contemporary psychological thriller that had me gripped and guessing from the start. I picked up the clues that the author fed me along the way and tried to join the dots until the jaw dropping finale.

Diane Jeffrey has constructed a fabulous plotline that is both intricate and engrossing. All was very cleverly done as she drew me in from the start, holding my attention to the very last sentence.

The action was seen from several different points of view and alternated between 2012 and 2018. The result was that I ‘walked’ through the events alongside the characters. I watched the action unfold at the same time as the characters.

All the characters were realistic and well drawn. They elicited various responses from me. I instinctively liked the main character Melissa and found her easy to empathise with. Other characters produced feelings of mistrust and dislike, whilst yet others I was full of admiration for. My emotions were cleverly manipulated by Diane Jeffrey’s skill with her pen.

There are themes of parenthood and loss. It made for difficult reading. There were some excellent examples of parenthood and extended parenting to all those around them.

The loss portrayed was a deep chasm. “I wasn’t sure how to pull myself out of the dark abyss I’d fallen into.” There were several characters suffering from loss. Grief hurts. It never lets up. “It creeps up on me when I least expect it.” People are shown to have different coping mechanisms from self-harm to self-medication to hitting the bottle. Sometimes they tried to box away the loss. Others are “fuelled by hope.” There is always guilt, even if in reality there was nothing that could be done.

The reader experiences the world of investigative journalism and we also see inside a women’s prison. Both are places where you need to have friends to survive.

The Guilty Mother breaks down any preconceived ideas that the reader might have about heroes and villains. In make-up people are not always black and white but varying shades of grey.

I absolutely devoured The Guilty Mother . I just could not put it down. Diane Jeffrey is a master craftsman as she skilfully constructs her psychological thrillers so you do not spot any reveals until she wants you to.

I think The Guilty Mother would make a brilliant television drama – any producers out there please take note.

I am hoping that The Guilty Mother is only the start of a new series – a little crumb of hope is thrown to the reader towards the end of the book! More, more, more please Diane Jeffrey. Absolutely brilliant.

I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.

JULIA WILSON

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