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

The Mothers

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  220 ratings  ·  68 reviews
What if you gave birth to someone else's child? A gripping family drama inspired by a real-life case of an IVF laboratory mix-up.

'Engagingly and unflinchingly told, Gannon's new novel, The Mothers, is the story of every parent's worst nightmare. It is that novel that makes you muse on the most difficult of questions … What makes a mother? And can you ever un-become one?
Paperback, 384 pages
Published January 7th 2020 by Allen and Unwin
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

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

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Mothers, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Mothers

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  220 ratings  ·  68 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Mothers
Mandy White
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars! I don’t know where to start talking about this book. The Mothers is a book that will make you think. It is highly emotional and a story that will stay with you after you finish it.

The Tagline really says it all “Two couples, one baby, an unimaginable choice” What would you do? All these women want is a baby and when a mix up at the fertility clinic changes both of their lives forever the choice is impossible.

Grace and Dan have been through 6 cycles of IVF and desperately want a
Dale Harcombe
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Two couples are desperate for a child. Grace and Dan Arden, in their forties, have been undergoing IVF ever since they got married. Six attempts and they are no closer to having the child they both crave. With each failure hope dies a little more. Priya and her husband Nick Archer, though younger, are undergoing treatment at the same fertility clinic as the Ardens. When she discovers a dating app on her husband’s phone, Priya suspects Nick of cheating. Livid and hurt at his betrayal, she makes ...more
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
The Mothers is penned by award winning Australian journalist Genevieve Gannon, who has published four novels. The Mothers is Gannon’s latest piece of topical contemporary fiction. This impassioned novel looks at the agony and ecstasy of conception, pregnancy, birth, parenthood and motherhood. It is a devastating, heartbreaking and highly relevant. It will likely strike a chord with many readers.

Questions of birth and belonging circulate around The Mothers, a
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
Poignant and provocative, The Mothers is Genevieve Gannon’s fourth novel.

Shattered to learn her husband, Nick, has been unfaithful, Priya Archer (née Laghari) decides giving up on her marriage doesn’t mean she has to give up on her dream of becoming a mother and impulsively decides to move ahead with a planned IVF procedure, opting to use a sperm donor. Priya is upset when the procedure fails, but decides against a second attempt, choosing to focus on rebuilding her life on her own.
After a half
Thanks to Allen & Unwin for my copy to read and review.

For anyone going through IVF, this is probably NOT the book for you at the moment. And even if you aren’t undergoing IVF but desperately want a child, this still probably isn’t the book for you.

It is a heart-breaking story on both sides and I don’t know what I would have done in any of the situations in the story!

It was an engaging read with likeable characters.
Jenny (Bookbookowl)
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you so much to Allen & Unwin for providing me with a copy of The Mothers, in exchange for an honest review!

What makes a parent? Nature or nurture?

I think this book will hit some people harder than others. For parents, and especially parents (like me) who have been through IVF, the true level of horror is probably more apparent. My daughter was brought into the world via IVF and I know the realities of how strict their protocols and checks are, so although it doesn’t strike me as a
Jaclyn Crupi
Feb 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Genevieve Gannon kept me up until 2am and broke my heart with her latest book The Mothers. It tells the story of IVF heartbreak and the devastating and truly unimaginable consequences of human error in a self-regulated industry. This is definitely for fans of Jodi Picoult and page-turning/thought-provoking/sleep-denying novels. I’ve had so many friends go through IVF and Gannon beautifully shows how hard it is.
Theresa Smith
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: aww2020
‘They were both looking at the baby, and something was coming into focus. As they processed his features, his arrival, something else became apparent. His face was covered with the waxy substance that protects babies in utero, but there was no mistaking it. His eyes were brown. His skin was dark. His hair was black. There was no biological sense to what they were seeing.’

So, this was a novel with a twist! The Mothers is a gripping read, perfect for book clubs, which is exactly what I read it for
Feb 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
This got off to a slow start for me, for the first 100 or so pages I kept wanting to hurry the story along. Though it was necessary so as to give the backgrounds of each character I was impatient with it. Once the baby was born, the pace of the novel picked up and I found I couldn't put it down wanting to know the outcome. I have no knowledge of the IVF process and can't even begin to imagine what the characters were going through.
I enjoyed the parts of the novel that covered the custody
Sarah Dimmock
Jan 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Attention all fellow Embryologists! This book is about our worst fears, the thing that keeps you awake at night: An embryo is implanted in the wrong woman. This book follows two different couples through IVF, and then the emotional and legal fallout from this error occuring. It's set in a fictional IVF clinic in Sydney and while I loved the story, I couldn't help but get irritated by the incorrect information about the way the lab operates. E.g. Being able to WALK into a "freezer" to "look" at ...more
Catherine Davison
Jan 13, 2020 rated it liked it
New Australian novel, a quick read, plot-driven, quite well written, raises a lot of ethical questions about the medical options available to couples wanting to have children and the emotional costs involved when things don’t go as planned. I can see this being made into an ABC short series.
Gabrielle Blair
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Couldn't put it down, a great read, and so much a story of our time. Beautifully crafted, highly recommend this book.
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
5 stars

Grace and Dan Arden are in their forties and have had six attempts at IVF. They’re not getting any younger and each time Grace doesn’t fall pregnant, their dreams of parenthood appear further out of reach. Priya and Nick Archer are being treated at the same fertility clinic. They are younger than the Arden’s but their marriage is rocky and now Priya isn’t even sure if she wants Nick’s baby. When Grace goes in for her final embryo transfer, Priya has an appointment directly afterwards.
Ben Phillips
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I didn't want this book to end, yet couldn't stop turning the pages at a ferocious pace. Wow! This book isn't just for women and mothers, it's for anyone who loves a gripping read with unforgettable characters. I won't give too much away, but the burning question of 'what would you do in this situation?' kept me awake long into the night. 5/5 Stars.
Clare Stead
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a well-written with a plot that for the most part kept you guessing and pondering what you would do in a similar moral dilemma. The epilogue for me was a bit of a cliche - quite unnecessary. I don't need a shiny, neat ending.
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book raises the issues of infertility and IVF in empathetic way by constructing a scenario that presents an impossible happy outcome for both of the two couples involved..

More to come.
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was instantly hooked on this book. I found myself relating to both main characters for different reasons, my allegiance changing throughout the book. I laughed a lot, I cried a lot, but mostly I just couldn’t put it down.
Katie Clews
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
New release: The Mothers by @gen_gannon published by @allenandunwin
An absolute thought provoking, heartbreaking and heartfelt story which I devoured in two sittings.. This follows the journey of Grace Arden and Priya Archer, both travelling the IVF route desperate to become parents.. what unfolds is almost unthinkable and I couldn’t image going through something like this.. A big 5 stars for this absolutely fantastic story .. Thanks to @mrsb_book_reviews for recommending this one .. This year
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
"What if the baby you gave birth to belonged to someone else?"

A heart wretching and emotional roller coaster ride of two couples trying to conceive through IVF.

The turmoil of finding out that your embryo was implanted in another woman resulting in the life of a beautiful baby boy while you are left childless.

I could not put this book down! I was completely hooked from start to finish! I couldn't help but feel the emotion from both characters in this story and I found myself crying with
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
The Mothers is a story of two women on their journey to motherhood. Grace and her husband Dan have been trying IVF to conceive. Priya and Nick are just beginning to try IVF. When their marriage fails, Priya decides to try on her own with a sperm donor.

Grace and Priya both have transfers done on the same day. Grace is pregnant, Priya is not.

Told in 3 parts, the book covers the time up to conception, the arrival of baby Sam, and the resulting custody battle. We follow not just Grace and Priya, but
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book got me good!
I was warned that this one was heart wrenching but it came on slowly. You got to know the characters and their stories, you got invested, and then it started to be taken away from you, and towards the end I swear someone just ripped my heart out and I didn’t even see it coming.
Dramatic much? Yeah, well, you try reading this one

I posted the synopsis a few posts ago. This book deals with so many things, infertility, medical errors and their effects, relationships and love,
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Genevieve Gannon's novel certainly covers a lot of ground, it is emotive and will no doubt strike a chord with many. For many women it will be a difficult, heartbreaking read as it reflects on the devastation of failed IVF attempts and the financial, emotional, physical and mentally draining toll it takes on the couples and individuals involved. We are bought into a story that presents moral and legal dilemmas when a successful pregnancy is achieved but sadly due to a mix-up it is to the wrong ...more
Tony Nielsen
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Genevieve Gannon has created an intensely personal story in "The Mothers". Grace and Dan Arden are in their Forties and the clock is ticking as they become even more desperate to start a family. They've been on the IVF treadmill since the day they were married. So far they've only experienced disappointment, with six attempts and no result. Their hopes are dying day by day.

Priya Laghari and Nick Archer are also keen to start their family, and they're also being treated by the same fertility
Dianne Maguire
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Remember when you last found a book you put down willingly, only because you could look forward to the time you would pick it up again? ... Well, to me Genevieve Gannon's 'The Mothers' was that book.

I could not wait to rejoin two couples, Grace and Dan and Priya and Nick in their desperate quests for parenthood. Neither knew the other as they participated in the IVF program at the same time. But that was to change when one of the couples eventually experiences success and gives birth to a baby
Krystal Campbell
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you Allen & Unwen for the ARC copy

"If a human ovum is fertilised and placed in the uterus of another woman who carries the baby to term, who is the rightful parent of the child? "

"What if you'd wanted a baby all your life but you couldn't have one. Just as you've given up on hope you learn your baby already exists. He's happy and healthy and living with another couple. The only way you can have your baby is if you take him from them. You don't know them. But they're good people. It's
Michelle Jessen
Feb 17, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 08, 2020 rated it liked it
An interesting story which raises many ethical questions about nature vs nurture and the advances in reproductive technology we've seen in recent decades.

I found the story slow for the first third of the book, focussing too much on the lead-up to Grace and Priya's final IVF implantation, but once this had taken place, the pace picked up and I enjoyed the story more. I also didn't love how specific shops/brands were used rather than generic names (eg. Coles instead of supermarket, Gelatissimo
Rachael Dobson
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 06, 2020 rated it liked it
I found this book very slow to start. The first 200 pages sort of dragged for me but after that I was riveted.
It was an interesting read with a solid premise - an embryo implanted in the wrong woman and the legal battle that ensues over who is the rightful mother of the baby boy. My heart ached for the two mothers and I found myself tearing up more than once.
IVF is such a tricky business and I felt so much anger and disbelief that such an error could be made. I admired Dr Ashley Li and her
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • In The Clearing
  • Maggie's Going Nowhere
  • The Strangers We Know
  • Going Under
  • You Don't Know Me
  • Fauna
  • The Wife and the Widow
  • Riptides
  • Six Minutes
  • Just One Wish
  • One Summer Between Friends
  • Charlotte Pass
  • The Dilemma
  • Your Own Kind of Girl
  • 488 Rules for Life
  • Grown Ups
  • The Girl in the Painting
  • Who Did You Tell?
See similar books…
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »