THE WRONG MOTHER

Sophie Hannah

Sally Thorning is watching the news with her husband when she hears an unexpected name—Mark Bretherick. It’s a name she shouldn’t know, but last year Sally treated herself to a secret vacation—away from her hectic family life—and met a man. After their brief affair, the two planned to never meet again. But now, Mark’s wife and daughter are dead—and the safety of Sally’s own family is in doubt. Sophie Hannah established herself as a new master of psychological suspense with her previous novel, Little Face. Now with accomplished prose and a plot guaranteed to keep readers guessing,

more …

Sally Thorning is watching the news with her husband when she hears an unexpected name—Mark Bretherick. It’s a name she shouldn’t know, but last year Sally treated herself to a secret vacation—away from her hectic family life—and met a man. After their brief affair, the two planned to never meet again. But now, Mark’s wife and daughter are dead—and the safety of Sally’s own family is in doubt. Sophie Hannah established herself as a new master of psychological suspense with her previous novel, Little Face. Now with accomplished prose and a plot guaranteed to keep readers guessing, The Wrong Mother is Hannah’s most captivating work yet.

less …
  • Penguin Books
  • Paperback
  • September 2009
  • 432 Pages
  • 9780143116301

Buy the Book

$15.00

indies Bookstore indies Bookstore

About Sophie Hannah

Sophie Hannah, is an internationally bestselling novelist, as well as an award-winning poet. Her other novels include The Dead Lie Down; Little Face; and The Truth Teller’s Lie. Her story “The Octopus Nest” won first prize in the Daphne du Maurier Festival short story competition. She lives in Yorkshire, England, with her husband and two children.

Praise

The Wrong Mother is an un-put-downable read, and as a $15 paperback, the bargain mystery of the year!”
Bookpage (Mystery of the month)

“A superior psychological mystery…Paced like a ticking time bomb with flawlessly distinct characterization, this is a fiercely fresh and un-put-downable read.”—Publishers Weekly (starred)

“The stress of mothering young children while working outside the home is at the center of this British mystery that’s part psychological thriller and part police procedural…A best-seller in Britain…this gripping novel deserves similar success here.”
Booklist (starred)

“[The Wrong Mother] is [Hannah’s] most accomplished novel yet. As the revelations tumble forth, the tension is screwed ever tighter until the final shocking outcome. Exemplary.”
Daily Express (UK)

Discussion Questions

Who is the “wrong mother” referred to in the novel’s title? 

Which character in the novel did you most identify with and why? 

Why is it important to voice the negative aspects of parenthood as well as the positive? 

Did Sally and Nick do the right thing by selling the home they loved to move somewhere they hated in order to allow their children to attend a good school? Is that kind of sacrifice something that ultimately hurts or benefits a child? 

Would Sally have been tempted to have an affair if she and Nick had remained childless? Should she confess her infidelity to Nick? 

It is ironic that Sally’s job involves preserving Venice from sinking into the sea when she herself is barely able to keep emotionally afloat. Are there any other instances in which the author employs metaphor to illustrate a point? 

What is Pam Senior’s role in the novel? 

Should mothers be able to take vacations from mothering? 

Did Encarna invite her own fate? Consider the lengths to which Jon went to protect his daughter’s good name: was he merely driven insane by their deaths, or was he trying to do something honorable? 

Cordy is the only character whose family remains unscathed by the madness that unfolds around her. Is it her selfishness or just luck that ultimately preserves Oonagh? 

If it is at all possible to compare two unspeakable horrors, which crime is worse—a mother who kills a child or a child who kills his or her mother? 

Is Amy’s chronic lying evidence of her unhappiness at home? If so, to what would you attribute Lucy’s ruthless honesty? Do parents generally accept too much blame for their children’s unsavory attributes or not enough?