Jessica's books

The One and Only Ivan
Revolutionary War on Wednesday
Leprechaun in Late Winter
Ella Enchanted
The Courage of Sarah Noble
Plain Murder
Gone-Away Lake
Circling the Sun
Maggie and Max
The Haunting of Sunshine Girl
The Night Sister
Tuck Everlasting
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Bedknob and Broomstick
Mister Monday
Alice Through the Looking Glass
The Birchbark House
The Hobbit
The Witch's Daughter

Jessica's favorite books »

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Book Review: The Perfect Mother by Nina Darnton

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  When an American exchange student is accused of murder, her mother will stop at nothing to save her.

A midnight phone call shatters Jennifer Lewis’s carefully orchestrated life. Her daughter, Emma, who’s studying abroad in Spain, has been arrested after the brutal murder of another student. Jennifer rushes to her side, certain the arrest is a terrible mistake and determined to do whatever is necessary to bring Emma home. But as she begins to investigate the crime, she starts to wonder whether she ever really knew her daughter. The police charge Emma, and the press leaps on the story, exaggerating every sordid detail. One by one, Emma’s defense team, her father, and finally even Jennifer begin to have doubts.
  A novel of harrowing emotional suspense, The Perfect Mother probes the dark side of parenthood and the complicated bond between mothers and daughters.
My Thoughts:
Jennifer is awoken in the middle of the night by a phone call from her oldest daughter, Emma.  Emma is attends school at Princeton but is studying in Spain for the year.  The news Jennifer gets shocks her.  Emma has been arrested in Spain for the murder of a young boy.  As Jennifer tries to sort through everything Emma is telling her and trying to free her daughter, she discovers that she doesn't truly know Emma at all.

This book is obviously loosely based on the Amanda Knox story so I was instantly interested in it.  As a mother, I found myself wondering what I would do in this situation.  I found Jennifer to be very naive when it comes to her children.  She is constantly telling Emma's lawyer and the private investigator and even her own husband that if Emma said it happened this way then that's what happened because Emma wouldn't lie.  Now, as a mom myself, I want to believe my kids are perfect.  However, I know they're not and I know that they don't always tell the truth.  I would certainly want to give my child the benefit of the doubt but Jennifer seemed to be very blinded.  

I didn't care for Jennifer's husband, Mark, either.  Mark is an American lawyer and instead of heading to Spain to be with his wife and daughter, he stays to finish up some cases.  Throughout the book, while Jennifer is in Spain the entire time, dealing with all these issues by herself, Mark constantly tells her that he has to work to pay for all the legal expenses and Jennifer's living expenses in Spain.  I do see where the expenses would be a serious issue and how he might need to stay and work and also be there for their other kids, I thought he appeared cold and not very caring.  

There were a lot of unresolved issues in this book.  First off, is Emma really telling the truth?  There is quite the twist at the end but it just left you hanging.  There are unresolved issues with Jennifer and what she ends up doing with her life now.  What happens between Jennifer and Mark (did Mark ever cheat on her?  Was he currently cheating on her?  Do they make their marriage work?) and what happens with the relationship between Jennifer and Roberto.  There are just a lot of remaining questions that I have and it annoys me (just my personal feelings here) when I don't have all the loose ends tied up.  

I enjoyed this book and it definitely showed me what kind of mother I do NOT want to be.  I really would have liked more answers at the end but the book was easy to read and had some twists the kept you interested.

**I received this book from NetGalley for an honest review**

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