The bestselling author of The Secrets of Midwives delivers her most powerful novel yet.
Alice and her daughter Zoe have been a team of two all their lives. With no family to speak of, and the identity of Zoe's father shrouded in mystery, they've never needed anyone else - until Alice gets sick.
Desperate to find stability for Zoe, Alice reaches out to two near-strangers: Kate, her oncology nurse, and Sonja, her social worker. As the lives of the three women become inextricably tied, a chain of events is set into motion, forcing them to confront their deepest fears and secrets.
Imbued with heart and humour in even the darkest moments, The Mother's Promise is an unforgettable novel about the strength of a mother's love.
The Mother's Promise
Pan Macmillan Australia
10 Reader Reviews
This is exactly what I love about contemporary fiction!
Three women fighting their own personal battles, one troubled teenage girl, and a devastating diagnosis.
The Mother’s Promise is a warm and touching yet heartbreaking story of love, strength and resilience at times of great adversity.
This novel is exactly what I love and look for in contemporary fiction – I highly recommend you read this book!
Alice is a single mum who works hard running her business to provide the best she can for her 15-year-old daughter Zoe. Kate is the cancer-care co-ordinator who sits with Alice as the specialist delivers the devastating diagnosis that will change Alice’s life forever. Kate is surprised when Alice admits she has no family members or friends she could ask to support her during this time, and is even more worried when Alice is adamant that Zoe is not to be involved; ‘She can’t handle this‘, she says, ‘She isn’t like a normal teenager‘. Kate quickly calls Sonja, the social worker, for help.
As Alice confronts the fight of her life and Zoe is forced to find courage she didn’t know she had, both Kate and Sonja are facing their own personal struggles. Their lives become inextricably intertwined as all three women are forced to face their greatest fears and make decisions that will affect them all.
This is a devastatingly beautiful story; precisely what I love when I read contemporary fiction. The Mother’s Promise is a story of the bond between a mother and her daughter, of a woman’s strength at the most challenging of times, and of the goodness that can result when women come together for a common cause. It shows that women can be strong and independent, yet also rely on each other without dependence being a sign of weakness.
Within the first few chapters I did predict correctly how the story would end. This did not affect my enjoyment of the novel at all, and there were unexpected twists along the way and definitely some surprises. Initially I did feel the narrative was a little too convenient to be realistic; however I was not to fear. The characters quickly captured my heart and I became so engrossed in their lives, I could not put this book down. The characters were incredibly realistic and relatable, and the writing was easy to read.
The subject matter addressed in this novel was wide-ranging, from social isolation, domestic violence and crippling social anxiety, to infertility, sexual assault, blended families, alcoholism and the effects of chronic disease on adolescents. There is always a risk when so many issues are touched on, no matter how briefly, in the one narrative. However I loved how each of these were handled – with sensitivity and honesty, and with characters that were not portrayed as victims.
[Warning – some may consider this following paragraph to include spoilers!]
I feel this last point is particularly important. Characters in fiction do set examples and can be role models for how different situations and challenges can be handled. It does bother me when an opportunity is missed to show that women can remove themselves from domestic violence, or to show young people that you can live with an anxiety disorder, or to show you can recover from alcoholism. As already said – I loved how this book portrayed the characters dealing with difficult circumstances.
This was a brilliant novel, and is exactly what I am looking for when I read contemporary fiction. I will be looking out for more of Sally Hepworth’s work.