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The Mistake

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  142 ratings  ·  34 reviews
The past isn't dead. It isn't even past …

Jodie Garrow is a teenager from the wrong side of the tracks when she falls pregnant. Scared, alone and desperate to make something of her life, she makes the decision to adopt out her baby – and tells nobody.

Twenty-five years on, Jodie has built a whole new life and a whole new family. But when a chance meeting brings the illegal a...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published February 2nd 2012 by Penguin Australia (first published January 1st 2012)
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Helen McKenna
The first thing I was struck by when I read this book was the striking similarity to the Kelli Lane case (involving a water polo player who was charged with the murder of her baby when she couldn’t prove it had been “unofficially” adopted out). I’m not sure if this novel is loosely based on that or whether it’s just an eerie coincidence – in any case, whatever the inspiration for the plot, this book is an absolutely compelling read.
One of the first things I really liked about this story was how...more
Aussie author Wendy James has a brilliant book in The Mistake. The incredible role of the media in putting the ‘facts’ out there, and therefore shaping everyones opinions, be they true or false, complete or partial, makes for very provocative reading.

Jodie Garrow has a wonderful life, she is happy and extremely contented with her husband Angus, who is about to run for Mayor, and two gorgeous children, Hannah and Thomas (Tom). But all that changes when Hannah goes away on a school excursion to Sy...more
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
The carefully constructed and comfortable life of Jodie Garrow, a forty- something housewife and mother, unravels after a chance encounter reveals her closely guarded secret putting her at the center of a police investigation and under intense public scrutiny. At barely 19, Jodie gave birth to a baby girl in a small suburban hospital and The Mistake focuses on determining the fate of the infant, as well as exploring the effects of the subsequent accusations and suspicions on Jodie and her family...more
The Mistake is centered around a well to do family, the Garrows, in particular Jodi Garrow and her secret. For twenty-four years Jodi has kept the secret of her first baby - Elsa Mary Evans - a secret. At the time, no one knew she was pregnant (not her family, or her fiance), so it only seemed natural for nineteen year old Jodi to keep the pregnancy and the adoption of the baby a secret too. That is until a chance encounter turns Jodi's, and the Garrow's carefully crafted and scripted world up...more
Bree T
Jodie lives a very comfortable life. Married to her childhood sweetheart Angus with two children, she is a well-preserved woman in her 40s with a lovely home, new car and a very good social standing. She helps out with local events and has an active social life and Angus, a lawyer, is thinking of running for mayor. Jodie’s carefully-cultivated life is about to come crashing down all around her when her teenage daughter Hannah breaks a leg on a school trip to Sydney and is inadvertently sent to t...more
The Mistake is told in alternating POV with flashbacks to Jodie's childhood and her courtship with Angus and her relationship with her teenage daughter, Hannah.

After Hannah is injured in a car accident, Jodie finds herself back at the hospital where she gave birth 25 years earlier, completely unknown to her family, friends and Angus. When a well-meaning midwife discovers that Jodie adopted out her first child, she takes it upon herself to try and reunite mother and daughter with disastrous cons...more
I still remember the profound sense of disquiet that WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? left me with, and Wendy James has done it again with THE MISTAKE.

There's something about Jodie Garrow that I suspect is going to trigger differing responses in readers. Personally I couldn't get past a very obvious sense of Stepford Wife syndrome. She's a socialite, immaculately made-up, coiffured, dressed to the part of the wealthy wife of a high profile husband. There's the perfect family - a boy, a girl, a modern house....more
Steve lovell
Did the dingo do it? That has been the eternal question that has existed in the nation’s consciousness for the latter decades of my existence, ever since baby Azaria disappeared at the Rock back in 1980. Initially the nation was divided as to Lindy’s innocence or guilt, as her ‘story’ seemed plausible enough. Hubby Michael was as stoic as men are meant to be, but it was his wife’s hard po-facedness that swung the pendulum against her. Where were the tears? Surely she must break at some point! It...more
Angela Savage
The Mistake is a knockout read by award-winning Australian author Wendy James, with a plot that will haunt you long after the final pages.

The story centres on Jodie Garrow, who rises above a wretched childhood, marries wealthy lawyer Angus -- albeit against his mother's wishes -- bears him two children, forgives her husband's infidelities, and leads a 'happy enough' life in the affluent country town of Arding NSW.

Even as a child Jodie aspired only to be 'one of those normal grown-ups...with pink...more
The Mistake follows the life of Jodie Garrow, a woman who is living the life of her dreams. It's a life she has carefully constructed, built up from her childhood dreams. Her husband, Angus, is an old-moneyed, good looking lawyer with political aspirations. Her children Hannah and Tom are thriving in expensive, high performing schools. Jodie lives in a good neighbourhood, in a nice home, with good supportive friends and does regular charity work. She has all she ever wanted. But Jodie has a secr...more
Jessica Craven
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sophie Masson
Brilliant, haunting and disturbing, with a twist that will leave you gasping, this is both a subtle and closely-observed portrayal of a family under stress, and a gripping thriller that leaves you guessing to the very end.
Kerrie Paterson
I have found a new 'must-read' author for my list. The Mistake shows us what could go wrong in an ordinary family, how the actions of the past can have such repercussions in our current life. It's set among a normal family, with normal family problems - whose world is rocked by a chance event.

The writing is terrific, keeping me reading far later at night than I intended to :) The ending had a twist that left me shocked and heartbroken for the main character.

Luckily I have another Wendy James on...more
Dale Harcombe
Three and a half stars. Don't know that really liked it is quite the right term. I did I find it an interesting and gripping read as Jodie finds her past has come back 24 years later to haunt her. And to affect her family.It all starts when her daughter Hannah is in an accidemt and the nurse at the hospital she is taken to remembers a baby who had webbing between her toes just like Hannah. Jodie explains that as a young unmarried mother she had that child adopted out but further investigations b...more
An interesting read that took me a while to get into. I found Jodie and Hannah the most compelling characters and was surprised by the ending.

The next day I found myself thinking about the book. The title is The Mistake, having you believe that there is only one mistake, that being Jodie's. But Jodie is not the only one to make a mistake that has consequences for others and self.

Is Jodie's mistake worse than the others? Is it bigger?
Jodie had an upbringing that she wasn't proud of, that's why she ran away as far as she could. Years after she thinks her tracks are covered, a farfetched (but believable) accident happens which takes her to somewhere she never wanted to revisit. Her fears are justified when chance intervenes and she sees the one person who unravels it all. She only met Debbie once, and it was over 20 years ago, so how does one chance meeting see Jodie at risk of going to jail??

This book was very good. It had su...more
Very disappointing! Quite a good read but ended very cliched and predictable.
Dee Cameron
Slow to start, tiresome in fact --- but perseverance pays off in the last 150 pages.
The old saying is “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. Well I do. All the time. First impressions count (although it doesn’t always mean they are correct). The Mistake by Wendy James does not have a cover that attracts me – it’s a bit too soft, a bit too ‘middle-aged-mum-trash’ and the big, gold ‘Women’s Weekly Great Read’ sticker on the front confirms my suspicions. So, why did I hand over $24.99 for The Mistake?

Read my full review here - http://booksaremyfavouriteandbest.wor...
Deb Bodinnar
I read Wendy's first book a couple of years ago and enjoyed it, then had the pleasure of meeting her at SheKilda last October in Melbourne. So of course when I found The Mistake on the shelves I just had to buy and read it. I enjoyed the way she has the news reports scattered through the story and that the story was put forward by not only Jodie (the main character) but also her husband and teenage daughter Hannah. A very touchy subject... very well written. I'd suggest you get a copy and read f...more
It was ok. Found it hard to connect with the characters, especially jodie. Perhaps it because I had no sympathy for her and her choices. She wasn't a stupid person so seriously how could she not sort out an adoption throu the right channels. she was old enough to know better. the ending was really odd and disappointing. There wasn't enough detail given of what actually happened to the baby and afterwards. All in all, an ok read if you can get it cheap (as I did)
Newtown Review of Books
It’s impossible to read Wendy James’s fourth novel and not think of the real-life case of Keli Lane, jailed for the murder of her baby Tegan, whose body has never been found. In sentencing her, the judge said Keli Lane ‘tore asunder the natural relationship between mother and daughter’.

Read full review here:
This book drew me in from the very first page and finished it within a few days which is a record for me. I found Jodie a really interesting character but I was a bit frustrated that she didn't seem to care much about her missing baby - she seemed more concerned about how the fallout was affecting her own life and the image she'd created. Great read.
I loved this book. I read it a year ago, so can't remember if there were things I didn't like about it (possibly a slow sub-plot about her childhood). I just remember the feeling I got from the last chapter, when my heart skipped a beat; exactly the feeling I want from a book.

If you liked "Before I go to Sleep", read The Mistake.

I would like to have given this more stars if the writer had just built the characters more and quicker. There was nothing endearing about any of them or anything identifiable which made this story hard to get in to. It was well written and a great idea. I guess I was looking for a happier ending.
I have no idea how to rate this. On the one hand, the writing is excellent, the characters complex and believable - if totally awful. I did empathize with MC Jodie though, which is all that matters.

Despite the great writing this wasn't an enjoyable story for me - and the ending felt wrong.
Am impressed by this novel, although I am sitting here mulling (not sure if that is exactly the right way to express it) over the ending. Look forward to hearing what others thought. Thanks for a great read Wendy and I will be seeking out your other novel.
Kerri Jones
Enjoyed this book, was well written and you weren't sure what had happened even right up to the end. Highlighted the effects of the media on a case (such as Lindy Chamberlain) with a great deal of understanding.
Nikki Maclean
I thought the first few chapters were fantastic. They kept me interested. But then the book started to drag and took a long time to get anywhere. I feel the ending was not really an ending at all.
I thought I would give this author another go and I'm not glad I did. I didn't enjoy this book and I found the writing horrendous! Don't waste your time.
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Wendy James is the author of six books, including The Mistake (2012) and Out of the Silence, which won the 2006 Ned Kelly Award for Best First Crime fiction and was shortlisted for the Nita May Dobbie Award for women’s writing. She currently lives in Newcastle, New South Wales with her husband and two of their four children.
More about Wendy James...
The Lost Girls Where Have You Been? The Steele Diaries Out of the Silence : A Story of Love, Betrayal, Politics and Murder Why She Loves Him

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