Just What Kind of Mother Are You by Paula Daly

Title: Just What Kind Of Mother Are You?
Author: Paula Daly
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 4 out of 5

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What is it about?

Lisa is a busy and stressed. She has three kids, a husband who works nights, and a job she needs to keep. Things keep getting on top of her and she feels like she can’t do anything right. Unlike well off, stay-at-home mum, Kate.

Lisa and Kate are friends through their 13 year old daughters and Lisa can’t help comparing herself. She always comes out worse. They can’t get much worse when Lisa forgets to tell Kate that Lucinda can’t do a sleepover because her daughter is ill. And then Lucinda goes missing.

At 13, the police might normally consider Lucinda a runaway. Only Lucinda isn’t that type of girl. She is a little timid, well behaved, young for her age. Just like the last girl that went missing a week or so before, and the one that goes missing a few days later. While the police begin the hunt for Lucinda, guilt pushes Lisa to do the same. This being a thriller, it is probably no surprise that Lisa finds out Kate’s life isn’t quite as perfect as it seems.

What did I think?

Just What Kind of Mother are You? is the debut novel by Paula Daly and a very good one. I found myself hooked from the start. The story takes place over three days and moves at a good pace. It is well written with enough mis-direction to keep me interested. Set in the Lake District in winter, I felt cold and claustrophobic reading it.

Saying, that, it isn’t perfect. The characters are a little cookie cutter for me; not only is Kate rich, for example, but beautiful and thin. There is reference to Lisa being beautiful too but she is not filled out enough for me to get a clear picture of what she looks like. I just wanted a bit more detail across all of the main characters.

The ending itself also seems a little rushed and unrealistic. A good three quarters of the book was spent on Lisa and Kate’s reactions, Lisa’s especially. How they felt, what they did. How their children and husbands responded to their at times rather erratic behaviours. Then suddenly, everything starts to fall into place through a series of coincidences. I know that is the way with suspense novels but, for me, some of the twists at the end didn’t feel right and I felt a little cheated.

That said, for me, the positives far outweigh the negatives and I would say well worth a read. Have you read it? What did you think?

Emma x

Note: I received a copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

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