I won a copy of Mother May I in a Bookstagram giveaway when it was first published and finally got around to reading it! Coincidentally the paperback just released and there is a book tour going on so definitely check that out if you’re interested!
This is a terrifying domestic suspense novel in which a baby is abducted, and then a battle of which female character is the craziest ensues. That’s my one sentence summary anyway 😂
Bookish Quick Facts:
- Title: Mother May I
- Author: Joshilyn Jackson
- Publisher & Release: William Morris, April 2021
- Length: 336 pages
- Rate & Recommend: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ for fans of that domestic suspense / thriller genre!
Here’s the synopsis from Am*zon:
The New York Times bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Never Have I Ever returns with an even more addictive novel of domestic suspense in which a mother must decide how far she is willing to go to protect her child and the life she loves—an unforgettable tale of power, privilege, lies, revenge, and the choices we make, ones that transform our lives in unforeseen ways.
Revenge doesn’t wait for permission.
Growing up poor in rural Georgia, Bree Cabbat was warned that the world was a dark and scary place. Bree rejected that fearful outlook, and life has proved her right. Having married into a family with wealth, power, and connections, Bree now has all a woman could ever dream of.
Until the day she awakens and sees someone peering into her bedroom window—an old gray-haired woman dressed all in black who vanishes as quickly as she appears. It must be a play of the early morning light or the remnant of a waking dream, Bree tells herself, shaking off the bad feeling that overcomes her.
Later that day though, she spies the old woman again, in the parking lot of her daughters’ private school . . . just minutes before Bree’s infant son, asleep in his car seat only a few feet away, vanishes. It happened so quickly—Bree looked away only for a second. There is a note left in his place, warning her that she is being watched; if she wants her baby back, she must not call the police or deviate in any way from the instructions that will follow.
The mysterious woman makes contact, and Bree learns she, too, is a mother. Why would another mother do this? What does she want? And why has she targeted Bree? Of course Bree will pay anything, do anything. It’s her child.
To get her baby back, Bree must complete one small—but critical—task. It seems harmless enough, but her action comes with a devastating price.
Bree will do whatever it takes to protect her family—but what if the cost tears their world apart?
The trophy wife of a rich lawyer, Bree decides to follow the kidnapper’s demands instead of going to the police. When she discovers that the kidnapper is also a mother, things get both weird and more interesting as we learn why the old woman would want to harm a innocent child. Who is she really targeting?
Through stories and flashbacks we learn about Bree, her husband, their history and family. There are a few sultry parts with mild adult content.
Seeing as the backstory related to the plot and didn’t slow things down too much, I didn’t hate it.
The book also raises an interesting debate about sexual assault and power in the context of race and class, and the influence of money and privilege in general. A poor girl with no resources might be derailed, while the rich male students involved aren’t so much as chastised. So, does one event (in which the girl initiated it and brought the drugs) make the men criminals? Do they deserve to be persecuted in the future? I have mixed thoughts on these situations, like wtf is the girl thinking vs wtf are any of them thinking. Jackson definitely succeeded in provoking thought around these different characters from different backgrounds and I found it quite interesting
I also think Jackson provided a rare accurate description of a resuscitation effort and the violence of the encounter, right down to pretty much how the person’s body looks. This is something that most authors gloss over but I loved how it added a measure of finality to the sequence of events.
Character wise … I definitely liked pretty much all of the side characters (Marshal, Gabriela,0 the kids, Marshal again), more than Bree and Trey. There were a lot of complicated feelings going around in the book and to emphasize how I feel about Trey, I was pretty satisfied by the ending of the book.
I guessed parts of the outcome but not all!
Definitely one to check out if you like thrillers, suspense, morality, family drama, moms in momma bear mode