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Sunday, February 19, 2017

(17)The Mother's Promise by Sally Hepworth


It has always been just Alice and Zoe Stanhope against the world.  Zoe's father has never been in the picture and the only family that Alice has left is an unreliable alcoholic brother.  In the past, it has been okay with just the two of the, but Alice has just been diagnosed with Stage III Ovarian Cancer.   Alice is terrified about the future and what will happen to fifteen-year-old Zoe if she can't beat cancer.   While Zoe is a terrific kid, she struggles with serious anxiety issues that manifest into scary panic attacks.  In this scary reality, Alice reluctantly leans on two women for help.  Her nurse, Kate, and the social worker assigned to her case, Sonja.  Together this team helps Kate fight the dreaded disease, but they also help Zoe deal with their new reality.  But what will happen to Zoe if Alice doesn't beat cancer?

My initial reaction to the first pages of this book was an intense rage that Alice would allow her daughter to stop therapy and only take Klonopin in "emergencies".  I was so angry I told my husband about it.  A teen girl in my life struggles with major anxiety. The minute her parents realized that it was starting to debilitate her they sought help.  You don't just let her quit therapy and not be on medicine to help her brain even out.  I know the book would have lost some of the dramatic appeal if Zoe didn't have these issues, but it was still incredibly irresponsible parenting in my opinion.  I stuck with the book because I wanted to see if Alice would redeem herself.  I wouldn't say that I ended up forgiving Alice, but I felt a deep compassion for her situation.  I liked that Zoe and Kate seemed to click and Sonja had her on issues that revealed themselves quite explosively.  The Mother's Promise was a heartbreaking story in so many ways, but despite everything, it was a good read.  - CLICK HERE FOR SPOILERS

Bottom line -  The Mother's Promise is a story about three women and a teen girl who all are fighting battles.  Anxiety, infertility, cancer, or domestic abuse.  The underlying theme that emerges in The Mother's Promise is that it is critical for everybody to have a support network.  To have somebody who will "get your back" no matter what the situation.  There is a lot of discussion topics in this one - your local book club will love it!  The Mother's Promise is on shelves 2/21/2017.

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