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What a Mother Knows

3.19  ·  Rating details ·  815 ratings  ·  134 reviews
An unsettling, emotional and suspenseful novel of the unshakable bonds of motherhood, in which Michelle Mason not only loses her memory after a deadly car crash, but can't find her 16-year-old daughter, the one person who may know what happened that day. But the deeper Michelle digs, the more she questions the innocence of everyone, even herself. A dramatic portrayal of th ...more
Paperback, 370 pages
Published May 1st 2013 by Sourcebooks (first published January 1st 2013)
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3.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  815 ratings  ·  134 reviews

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May 20, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.0 out of 5 stars - This mother wants to know.

The premise was good -- woman wakes from year-long coma after an automobile accident. She can't remember anything. She goes home and finds out that everything has changed AND her daughter is missing.

Unfortunately, the unlikeable characters, unbelievable scenarios and ludicrous dialogue made this novel less than a winner for me. The notion that a woman who'd had that severe of a brain injury - and has no use of one arm - could come home and immedia
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
*I won this book in a GoodReads First Reads giveaway*

I'm kind of surprised how many great reviews this book received. I thought it was rather poorly done. Perhaps I'm being harsh because of my extreme dislike of the main character Michelle. I found her to be obnoxious and completely unsympathetic. Top that off with some rather unrealistic (at least in my opinion) moments and I'd recommend passing on the book. Honestly, the lying in this book made no sense (except it was the only way for the auth
Dec 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
NetGalley arc. A tragic tale set among the glamour of Hollywood, or at least the author's imagined Hollywood life. If you can accept traumatic brain injury patients awakening from a coma only to slip into some stilettos and fiercely negotiate a contract, this book is for you. It seems the editor slashed away at this one, trying to improve it perhaps; but there' s chunks of connective narrative missing. skip it.
Judy & Marianne from Long and Short Reviews
Originally posted at:

After months in the hospital following a horrendous car accident, Michelle Mason is finally able to come home. The trouble is, nothing is as how she remembered it. And is that due to her faulty memory or is there something else at work? When Michelle discovers that one of the things missing is her daughter, all hell breaks loose. There isn’t anything she wouldn’t do for her girl.

The struggles that Michelle endures throughout the cours
Feb 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic book filled with suspense and mystery! I couldn't figure out what happened to the daughter and this is the kind of book I love... one that keeps me guessing! Comatose Michelle awakes and after months in rehabilitation she is released to go home. She has very little memory of the accident or anything leading up to it, not even the fact that she had a passenger and that he was killed. Lawsuits have been filed against Michelle by the victim's family and by the automaker.

Michelle is exp
Jen Murray
Jul 08, 2013 rated it liked it
I'm giving this book 3 out of 5 stars only because there were parts I did like - but there was more I didn't. I thought the premise was great - this horrific car accident, waking from a coma to find out all that's happened. But, it went downhill from there. So many characters were completely unlikeable - the husband, especially. And some of her friends? I think the term friend was being used loosely. I wasn't thrilled with the protagonist, Michelle, either but the other characters were far worse ...more
Kari Andersen
Dec 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book! What a Mother Knows is a true page turner with lots of surprises and twists. Leslie Lehr takes her readers on an emotional and psychological journey and uses her first-hand knowledge of Hollywood and fame as well as motherhood to deliver a really intense story. The protagonist, Michelle, travels to various exotic locales to look for her missing daughter and the vivid descriptions made me want to book a trip! I have always been a fan of Lehr but this is her finest wo ...more
Caroline Leavitt
Dec 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Unsettling and gorgeously written, What a Mother Knows gets at the dark heart of how we belong to others and what depths of strength we manage to find in ourselves. Who far will someone go to protect her daughter? I've read and loved all of Lehr's other novels, but this one is really her best.
Aug 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Full review at Since I was provided with a free copy of this book from Sourcebooks in exchange for an open and honest review. However, I had to admit to my co-worker this morning that I am tired. Why, you may ask? Because I did not make it to bed until after midnight last night! Why, you may ask, did I stay up so late? ('Cause I'm old and typically do not stay up late any more--I need my sleep!) This book is the reason. I began reading it on Sunday morni ...more
Jul 23, 2013 rated it did not like it
I only made it 37% of the way through before violating my personal policy of not quitting books. This was completely unreadable. The characters were all shallow and unlikable. Michelle may be the worst mother, wife, friend, and human being ever. There were some very odd word choices that made me question whether a professional editor ever looked at this.

And what complete ruined it for me (yes, somehow I was able to get past the going from a serious brain injury and coma with gray chopped hair a
Jun 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
I learned about the book through Hope Edelman's Facebook page (she did an interview with the author, Leslie Lehr). I was intrigued, so I put in a request for the book from the library. I'm quite glad I did not buy this book. I was disappointed.

The premise is interesting, if not a little formulaic: The protagonist, Michelle Mason, is in a car accident. She has no memory of the accident or the events leading up to it. She returns home to learn that life is not at all what she expected it would be.
Mar 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I couldn't put the book down. I was completely engrossed. The characters were very real and the story very believable. Suspenseful and dramatic until the very end. Very well written to keep you guessing. As the character's memory comes back in segments due to a tramatic brain injury, she keeps trying to find more clues to her daughter's disappearance. I had no idea it would end the way it did! Never saw that coming!
I won an advanced copy of this book from the Goodreads First-Reads Giveaway. Few
Jan 12, 2013 added it
What A Mother Knows, delves into the most deep-seated fear of every mother--losing a child. The characters face both the loss of a child through death as well as the loss of a child through running away. Michelle Mason, the lead character must confront not only her physical wounds and scars but her emotional ones as well. In confronting her losses as a mother, she also confronts her losses as a child and the losses that her own mother, Elyse, suffered as a woman and a mother.

This multi-generati
Pamela Hovanec
Apr 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
AT THIS POINT ON PAGE 25 THIS BOOK HAS MY ATTENTION! WONDERFUL SO FAR! great book to this point cant wait to get home and read more!
im back at page 101 and this book is page turning i love it, all i want to do is read more
oh my gosh this is a excellent book this mom michelle knows whats shes doing without even realizing it, shes a rock and her journey will inspire you,,, cant wait to finish this today!
well after reading this book i have to say its Wonderful!! this book is a page turner, i cant g
Kivalina Gwynn
Jun 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What a Mother Knows gets at the dark heart of how we belong to others and what depths of strength we manage to find in ourselves.I loved this book.Its 1 I will pass on and recommend to others.I learned about the book through Amazon.I really liked the way it ended.It did keep me guessing and interested
May 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
This story warrants a solid 4.5 stars. This book was a wonderful surprise. I loved it. Any book that has me in tears at the end of the story deserves at least 4 stars. I really, really, really enjoyed this story. The plot involves memory loss, actual loss, rehabilitation, and recovery. So good.
Karen J
Dec 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I had the privilege of reading an advance copy of Leslie Lehr's latest novel.
I say this as a fellow writer, mother and daughter. Not only I am sure I'll read this again, it'll be my Mother's Day gift to my mom, daughter, sister in laws and girlfriends. Can't wait till May!
Maria Sphaler
Mar 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Really good book, didn't like the way some of the friends treated her after her accident, her determination to look for daughter is awesome! She does not let anyone or anything stand in her way. (even her husband) Loved the book!!!!!
Becky Condit
May 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
From its heart wrenching prologue to the finale Leslie Lehr’s What a Mother Knows is a book that will grab your attention and your soul. I could not put it down.

Join us for the Blog Tour and an interview with the author on May 6, 2013 at
Feb 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
A very nice advanced copy :)
the story line was so amazing!!
Jul 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: shelf-2
Fabulous--all moms will love this story!
Cocktails and Books
I have never read a book that had such an engaging story but so many characters that I disliked so much.

Michelle Mason comes home after spending eighteen months healing from a horrific car accident she was in. She's excited to move forward with her life with her family, especially her eighteen year old daughter she hasn't seen in over a year. But her excitement soon turns to dread when she discovers nothing is as she was told it was.

Michelle was an awe inspiring character. She had determinatio
May 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
What a Mother Knows by Leslie Lehr is one of those books that grabs you from the very first pages. You find yourself unable to put it down because as both the suspense and the mystery escalate so does your attention to it. At its core What a Mother Knows is a story of the bonds between mothers and daughters and poses the question as to just how far one will go to protect those they love.

Michelle Mason is married with two children, Nikki and Tyler. It all seems pretty normal really except that it
May 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Michelle Mason used to have it all, a great job, a loving husband and two wonderful children. Everything changed after she has a horrific car crash that seriously injures her and kills her passenger. Michelle is finally able to return home after dealing with major surgeries, a medically induced coma that lasted months, and one year in rehabilitation. The home she returns to isn't the home she remembers. Her husband is now residing in New York, her son is in a boarding school, and her daughter ha ...more
Nov 30, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed-2016
I have read a couple of books published by Sourcebooks and I’ve come to expect their level of mediocrity. But they have really lowered their standards to publish this book. The premise sounds great and it has an enticing cover. That’s the only good things I can say about this book.

I really couldn’t stand the MC. She lies, steals, hides evidence, is destructive, abusive, rude, narcissistic, is an unfit mother who takes her underage son to a dive bar, and she’s judgmental and opinionated about all
Melanie Coombes
Mar 15, 2013 rated it liked it
This was a pretty good, suspenseful read. I was a little misled by the cover. I at first thought the story was going to be about a young girl who disappeared.
So mom, Michelle is in a car crash that winds up leaving her daughter's 19 year old boyfriend dead. Michelle is in a coma, survives and when she leaves the hospital 18 months later, discovers her 16-year-old daughter, the one person who may know what happened that day, went missing shortly after her moms accident. Michelle also only has fl
Sep 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
I picked this book up completely by chance. I happened to be at the library (to find a different book) and while browsing the new fiction section I came across this title. I read the jacket and thought it sounded interesting. On a positive note I will say this is a page turner and a fast read. It did keep my interest, but it really was missing quite a lot. There were times in the book where the author would really detail something that really had no significance to the story, but then when some ...more
Nov 07, 2012 rated it liked it
I so wanted to like this book more than I did but there was something about Michelle that was just off-putting to me. I liked the storyline setup. The lost memories of what happened before and after the crash were something you wanted to find out but I just didn't like Michelle so that distracted from the story for me.
Jul 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was my first book by author Lehr. It was a different sort of mystery. I kept thinking I knew what was going to happen, but then, surprise, not so! I did enjoy though I got confused a few times as sometimes happens when the story has two threads, past & present. Nicely tied up ending. Felt the husband was a shit, but I guess that was part of the point.
Linda Bowes
Jun 08, 2013 rated it liked it
The book asks the question, "How far will a Mother go to find her daughter?" Michelle Mason survives a horrific car crash and a long recovery only to discover that all is not as it seems upon her arrival home. The story has several twists in the plot and urges the reader on. A quick read for the cottage or beach.
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Ask Leslie Lehr: Ask me something! 7 14 May 02, 2013 08:59AM  

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Novel Consultant for Truby Writers Studio, Lehr mentors privately as well as at conferences around the country. Prizewinning author, screenwriter, and contributor to the New York Times Modern Love column, she reviews books AS A WRITER, pointing out how narrative techniques make these stories shine. Her seven books include of 7 books including the Target recommended read, the literary thriller, Wh ...more