Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Mother-in-Law” as Want to Read:
The Mother-in-Law
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Mother-in-Law

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  82,497 ratings  ·  8,265 reviews
Someone once told me that you have two families in your life - the one you are born into and the one you choose. Yes, you may get to choose your partner, but you don't choose your mother-in-law. The cackling mercenaries of fate determine it all.

From the moment Lucy met Diana, she was kept at arm's length. Diana is exquisitely polite, but Lucy knows, even after marrying Oli
Hardcover, 340 pages
Published April 23rd 2019 by St. Martin's Press (first published January 29th 2019)
More Details... Edit Details
Featured Notes & Highlights

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Mother-in-Law, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Tannis Laidlaw Tom, her husband, was offered a partnership when he came up with an interesting idea to his employers way back when. It took off and thus Tom and Dian…moreTom, her husband, was offered a partnership when he came up with an interesting idea to his employers way back when. It took off and thus Tom and Diana ended up with quite a lot of money. I loved this book, btw. I'm recommending it to all my friends and rellies who like good women's fiction!(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  82,497 ratings  ·  8,265 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Mother-in-Law
Emily May
May 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
I've read a number of thrillers lately, ranging from the quiet character drama of Miracle Creek and Disappearing Earth, to Coben's high-octane Run Away. And this book just sits blandly somewhere between the two.

I had to think about my rating here. I almost upped it to 3 stars because it’s not that BAD. But then it’s not much of anything really. I found it a very tame lukewarm domestic mystery/thriller that lacks either the urgency or depth of characterization needed to make it compelling.

The bl
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr...

I am a huge fan of this author. “The Mother’s Promise” was my first Sally Hepworth novel and is one of my favorite books.

The first line in the description of this novel grabbed my attention…

A twisty, compelling novel about one woman’s complicated relationship with her mother-in-law that ends in murder…

I couldn’t wait to start reading!

The story begins with a police car pulling up to the home of Lucy and her husband, Ollie.
All I can say is, Magnificent!! This book is headed straight to my favorites’ shelf!!

Oh that poor mother-in-law! Boy, she’s been getting a bad rap lately. This is the third book I’ve read recently regarding a so called “evil mother in law.” This’s just a bit different.

There are two sides to every story. Maybe it’s time we all heard the mother in law’s side of the story....

Told from 2 points of view of Lucy the daughter-in-law and Diana. Yup, you guessed it...Diana “the mother in law.”
Susanne  Strong
5 Simply Irresistible Stars.

Sally Hepworth is the Master of Domestic Suspense! This is a heart pounding mystery that I was racing to finish! It’s complexities and craziness had me wild-eyed right up until its shocking end. A favorite read for this the year!

Mother-in-Laws, as well all know, are not to be trifled with.
Sometimes they’re scarier than others and sometimes you hit the jackpot. Perhaps it’s because of the competition factor, mothers not being able to let go of their sons, or wives
Meredith ( on Semi-Hiatus until February)
Mixed Feelings: One fascinating character coupled with one who was lacking turned this into just an ok read for me.

The Mother-in-Law is a family drama that tracks the tumultuous relationship between a mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law.

The book begins with the reader learning of the death of Diana, mother to Ollie and mother-in-law to Lucy. The narrative is divided into both Lucy and Diana's perspectives over the course of ten years.

Diana has been described as some as a hateful character.
1.5 stars

Let me be clear that I think an author can choose to write her characters any way she wants, and I can choose to read it or not. But this was an issue book with characters vs a book with characters who have issues. I prefer the latter. If the author is going to write an issue(s) book then I’m going to comment on what I disliked about her stance on those issues. It is not the characters so much as the fact the author seems to be pushing an agenda.

We are told from the start that Diana, th
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Families - there is the one you are born into, the one you marry into and the one you choose.

When Lucy marries Ollie, she desperately wants to be accepted into his family, especially by his Mother Diana, as Lucy lost her mother at an early age. But from day one, Diana appears reserved and distant. The rest of Ollie's family embraces Lucy but Lucy feels that she just can't do anything right in Diana's eyes. Lucy is a lively woman who chooses to stay home with her children and is doing the best sh
Mary Beth
Apr 22, 2019 rated it liked it
I am just going to put my thoughts down and I am not going to get into the story but you can read the blurb for that.

This is not a thriller. It is a contemporary fiction and a slow burning mystery. I want thriller fans to know this because I really struggled with This book. I am the wrong audience for it. I am not a big fan of contemporary fiction or a slow burning mystery. I did like it close to the ending but I didn't love it. I did love the premise of the book and I was intrigued enough to fi
4 This was NOT what I was expecting BUT I LOVED it stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Diana was a complicated woman. Her outward appearance depicts a wealthy, strong and even altruistic woman. Yet we instantly come to see that her family had a vastly different view of her and it wasn't all positive. Thus, when the story opens and we find Diana dead we are easily enveloped by the questions - was her death a case of suicide or murder?

The story is told from multiple view points as well as alternating timelines, filli
Katie B
I try not to give out 5 stars too often but this one was special and deserving in terms of how much I enjoyed it and took away from it. I went into this thinking it would just be a typical mother in law story but there was so much more to it than that. It explored not just the mother and daughter in law relationship but also the dynamics between child/parent, husband/wife, and siblings. It was one of those reading experiences in which you seriously start reflecting on your own life and how you d ...more
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Intensely Readable and Immensely Dishy!

What is it about in-laws that makes them so abhorred? Is it their constant meddling? Perhaps their subtle, but persistent disapproval of every little thing. For Lucy, she just wants her Mother-in-law, Diana, to love her. Accept her. But that is never going to happen. At least not as long as Diana walks the earth . . .

For originality, this one deserves five stars. In addition, this was Hepworth's first attempt at the thriller genre, and I think she naile
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
5 stars! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

(Updated with full review for pub day today!)

The opening scene is where a family, specifically a son and his wife, are being told that their mother (mother-in-law) was found dead. The story proceeds in dual narration. We hear from Lucy, the son’s wife/the daughter-in-law, and Diana, the mother-in-law who was found deceased.

Through that narration, we quickly learn that Lucy and Diana have a flawed and challenging relationship as many mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law do
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
Once again I find myself in the minority regarding reviews for this book, it is well loved by many.

Truthfully I was hoping for a really good mystery but this is really more contemporary women’s fiction. Knowing that the main character is dead at the beginning definitely takes away some of the suspense in the novel.

Here’s what we know:
Lucy is the new daughter in law who has married Ollie, son of Diane and Tom Goodwin. Lucy had no idea that the family was wealthy until she entered their mansion of
Elyse  Walters
Oct 26, 2018 rated it liked it
When Jordan at St. Martin’s Publishing presented this book to me to read and review- I definitely ‘paused’’, thinking this could be an interesting topic, yet I definitely had reservations of concern. I didn’t want to create problems - add more to my already - sometimes challenging relationship with my mother in-law.
However - this book is so far off from anything in my life - I didn’t relate to any of it.

NOTES OF INTEREST.....about in-laws’ ......It’s a hot topic in the news today. Review of t
Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley-arcs
So lately there seems to be many "mother-in-law" books that have overtaken the psychological thriller genre. Some more successful than others. However, Sally Hepworth does something different here. Most definitely it wasn't what I was expecting. This is NOT a psychological thriller but there is a mystery to solve.

Lucie and Ollie meet and fall in love. Ollie decides it's time for Lucie to meet his parents and Lucie wants nothing more than to impress them. Having lost her own mother at a young ag
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Nothing makes us so lonely as our secrets.

Standing at the door of those secrets is the sentinel of our choosing who presents the face of the moment. We don the mask we find appropriate and carry it forward while protecting the truism of self.

Sally Hepworth presents an absolutely dynamic story that weaves its way into a family unit that has locked down their deceptions with bolt and key. She is a wizard at revealing just enough backstory on her varied characters to more than wet your whistle. Cha
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley

This book has perfect timing. With the whole college scandal going on, the whole concept of what parents owe their children or how much help they should provide is especially apt.

Losing her mother to cancer when she’s a teenager, Lucy envisions becoming bosom buddies with her mother-in-law. That’s before she meets Diana, who has a frosty nature and is not the buddy sort.

I know many will see Diana as the cold, uncaring MIL, but I actually sympathized with her. Yes, some of the things she did we
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received a widget for this all the way back in October from St. Martin's Press. Otherwise, I would have never requested an arc of this book. I'm not sure what prompted me to accept the widget, because I've kind of dreaded the thought of reading this book, and here am finally cracking the pages a week prior to its publication. The irony of this is that I really LOVED this book! Maybe it was PTSD from my experience with my own mother-in-law that inspired a feeling of dread. However, quite unexpe ...more
Heart-wrenching mystery

I'm glad I read some reviews before starting this one. I knew it wouldn't be a thriller, but a family drama with some twists. Knowing that, I appreciated every bit of it! And I don't give 5-star ratings easily, believe me...

I'm a really sensitive person and reading about all these complicated relationships broke my heart. Yeah, it was so good. This novel makes you think about a lot of things in your own life!

Read it asap if you like slow-paced and character driven mysterie
Mackenzie - PhDiva Books
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Gripping and haunting — there’s a poetry to the story told in The Mother-in Law that is so captivating and suspenseful, you will think about it for days after reading it.

Over 24-hours after finishing Sally Hepworth’s The Mother-In-Law, there are still so many nuances I’m left turning over in my mind and unpacking. This is a thought-provoking novel of domestic suspense. I hate to compare it to other authors, though there are a few I see, because Hepworth to me has a truly unique voice and a story
Nilufer Ozmekik
Apr 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Three a little disappointed, when I was expecting thriller I found regular fiction stars.

I think I designated my place in the minority team because so far too many readers enjoyed this book a lot.
It’s really good written and never gets you bored but as soon as I read the blurb, I visualized an evil mother-in-law and a big mystery about her death but when I start to read it, I realized there is no twist, mystery and any gripping, riveting story to captivate your mind. You may guess the killer s
Joey R.
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 Stars— After reading several glowing reviews, I decided to give Sally Hepworth’s “The Mother-in-Law” a try. This has been a year that I have focused on reading authors I’ve never read before, and this book looked interesting. After finishing the book I can definitely say that Ms. Hepworth is a very talented writer. She does a good job in character development and paints very realistic relationships between her characters. The book details the complicated relationship between Lucy and her ver ...more
Holly  B
Relationships can be complicated, especially when it involves the "Mother-in-law". 

A  twisted family situation and a hidden motive lead to murder. The MIL is Diana and my opinion of  her changed so many times throughout the book and she certainly surprised me in the end.

The first chapter was intense and sets the stage for a compelling read. We get the POV of Diana and Lucy (the daughter in law).  Their relationship is complicated and Lucy has many insecurities when it comes to Diana. The aut
Anne Bogel
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 stars for the audiobook version: I INHALED it. I went into this book knowing nothing and that really worked for me.

In the ten years she’s known her, Lucy has never felt her mother-in-law Diana approved of her—an especial disappointment because she’d hoped Diana would finally become the mother she’d never had. Yet she’s distraught when the police show up to announce that Diana has died by apparent suicide—and even more so when they reveal that the evidence points to possible murder.

As we get
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sally Hepworth completely sucked me in with this compulsive engaging addictive story! This book took a hold of me and did not let go until the last page was turned!

This was an intense twisty story full of complex characters and complicated relationships. I absolutely love books that dig deeply into the psychology of the characters, and oh boy did this book do that! Perhaps there is no relationship more tenuous than that of mother-in-law and daughter-in-law. My own mother in law unfortunately pa
Sally Hepworth
Apr 22, 2019 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Dear Reader,

A lot of people have asked me about my inspiration for The Mother In Law.

Let’s just say that it is not a coincidence that my British in-laws were staying with me when I came up with the idea for this book. In fact, they were with us following the birth of my third child. But it’s not what you think! I get along great with my mother-in-law. It was my father-in-law, of whom I am very fond, who inspired this book. He’s a talker, you see. God love him, he doesn’t stop talking from the mo
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
4+ stars! A twisty, addictive, suspense-filled family drama!

Lucy yearns to connect with her mother-in-law Diana. Having lost her own mother, she craves a maternal connection. However, Diana has always kept Lucy an arm’s length away - always being kind and available, but never quite embracing her with warmth and welcome into the family.

The police knock on Lucy’s door one evening to inform her and her husband, Ollie, that Diana was found dead in her home, a suicide note tucked into her desk drawe
Sarah Joint
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had a lukewarm response to a book I read from this author before, but this one really defied expectations. I couldn't get through it fast enough, but then I had that sad, empty feeling when it was over that we're all familiar with. Not because it wasn't great, but that it was over.

Lucy lost her own mother some time ago, and she was determined to have an amazing relationship with her mother-in-law. After all, she loves her son and will provide what she's sure is much longed for grandbabies. Th
Dec 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read one of Sally Hepworth's earlier novels last year and immediately connected with her writing style and storytelling approach. I marked the rest of her books as TBR, then saw The Mother-in-Law available via NetGalley. I was lucky enough to be approved for an ARC earlier this week and began reading it right away. What an emotional and angst-ridden tale about the relationship between several family members who can feel all too real and all too fake at the exact same time. I truly enjoyed this ...more
Christina - Recipe & a Read
3, I was expecting a thriller but this is definitely more contemporary fiction with a mystery but I still enjoyed it stars!!

Full review along with a recipe for a lightened up chicken parm featured on my blog Recipe & a Read!

When Lucy meets the love of her life Oliver “Ollie” she doesn’t just see a future with him, she sees one with the family she’s never had. She has a loving and doting father, but having lost her mother when she was young she has long yearned for the mother-daughter relationshi
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • My Lovely Wife
  • The Family Upstairs
  • The Other Mrs.
  • The Wives
  • Never Have I Ever
  • The Guest List
  • You Are Not Alone
  • The Turn of the Key
  • Ask Again, Yes
  • Someone We Know
  • The Wife Upstairs
  • One by One
  • The Last House Guest
  • Lock Every Door
  • The Wife Stalker
  • The First Mistake
  • Dear Wife
  • Invisible Girl
See similar books…
Sally Hepworth is the bestselling author of six novels, most recently The Mother In Law (2019). Her forthcoming novel, The Good Sister, will be available in early 2021.

Sally's books have been heralded “enchanting” by The Herald Sun, “smart and engaging” by Publisher’s Weekly, and New York Times bestselling authors Liane Moriarty and Emily Giffin have praised Sally’s novels as “women’s fiction at

Articles featuring this book

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
42 likes · 15 comments
“but I doubt there is a loss in the universe more profound than a daughter losing her mother.” 13 likes
“People underestimate the role fate plays in our lives.” 6 likes
More quotes…