Book Reviews

Mama’s Gonna Buy You a Mockingbird: The Mother’s Mistake by Ruth Heald @RJ_Heald @bookouture #BlogTour

Mothers. Do we need to be one to talk about one? I don’t think so. Anyway, the subject is one we all relate to, in one way or another, and today, I’m excited to kick off the blog tour for The Mother’s Mistake with fellow bloggers to let you know you should read this book!

Happy publication day, Ruth!!! 🎉🎉

Hugs to Team Bookouture for providing me with a copy of this book and to Kim and Noelle for inviting me to be part of the blog tour!

Title: The Mother’s Mistake
Author: Ruth Heald
Publisher: Bookouture
Date of publication: 11 June 2019
Format: uncorrected NetGalley copy
Source: publisher
Number of pages: 374

Everyone makes mistakes. But does everyone deserve to be forgiven?

She runs past the tinkling of children’s laughter that fills the park. Heart hammering, feet stinging, she reaches the riverbank, her breath catching in her throat. And then she sees…

Three years later.

Claire has everything she’s always wanted. A new-born baby. A doting husband by her side. A picturesque home in the countryside.

But behind closed doors, Claire’s life is falling apart. Her husband is barely ever home, she’s struggling to bond with her baby girl, and she swears that she is being watched in the remote, lonely cottage.

And when a threatening note is posted through her letterbox, saying she doesn’t deserve her daughter, it’s clear that someone knows about the terrible mistake that Claire made – someone won’t let her forget it. Three years ago, she would have known who to turn to. But now she no longer recognises those closest to her, or the person she’s become. Who can she trust?

An atmospheric, chilling and absolutely unputdownable psychological thriller about a mother’s worst nightmare. Fans of K.L. Slater, Shalini Boland and The Girl on the Train will love the twists, turns and gasp-worthy shocks of this stunning debut from Ruth Heald.


Are mothers allowed to make mistakes?

We know they do make mistakes. Of course, they do. Mothers are human beings. But that is something we tend to forget. Even the mothers themselves forget about it. Why? Because society shows us amazing moms-to-be still doing yoga two weeks before their due date. Mothers walking in heels and wearing the brightest smile. Maybe only mothers glowing with happiness, looking at their upbringing with adoration. So we make them the perfect example of what mothers should be like.

My mother is a super-hero. I learned it a long time ago. She always knew how to soothe my fears and cries. With one look, she could tell whether I was happy, sad, ill, uneasy. She still can, but I no longer put pressure on her to be my rock. It takes adulthood to see mothers with their flaws, to consider them again as people, not just your umbrella against the world. Yet, my mother herself can’t take off that coat of responsibilities. When we grow up, they grow up with us, and their role changes, but never leaves them.

The Mother’s Mistake. What a catchy title! Simple but efficient. To the point. You have an immediate idea of where you’re going. Or so you think!

Matt, Claire, and baby Olivia are off to a new life, away from London. What better than the countryside and a cottage right next to Matt’s parents to offer your daughter a lovely childhood? I noticed it immediately. ‘Perfect’ A two-syllable word that can make or break you. Usually, yes, it breaks you. Trust me, I’m a perfectionist! Right away, I felt Claire’s will to create the perfect (see, that word again!) life for her family. I thought why not. Isn’t that what we all want?

Except perfect doesn’t take into account a mother-in-law who has her own ideas about how things should be done, a busy husband, and a past to hunt them all on top of a baby with needs and a personality that you must learn how to bond with. How’s that for a good programme?

When I remembered this was a psychological thriller and not women fiction, I wondered how the author would manage to tackle motherhood, a (possibly deadly) mystery, and enough room for characterisation. Soon, it became evident that Ruth Heald knows what she is doing!

Claire struggles to adjust to her new role of mother. Details on why are subtly scattered throughout the novel, as we watch Claire fight the muddy waters she finds herself in. There is no handbook about motherhood. Well, yes, there are many, but in a remote place, with only your baby as company, old scars itching and waiting at the back of your head for the first opportunity to jump back and make your life hell, you can’t be expected to be the perfect mother (we shouldn’t be expected to be perfect anyway!) The demands put on mothers are awfully heavy and I found that Ruth Heald dealt with postnatal depression in a very caring, non-judgemental way. It is important for us to read about it, yes, even in fiction. I learn how to be a better person (or how to always suspect the husband!!) when reading. What better way to give you an example of what women go through than with a character you can connect to? The intensity of the issue between Claire and Olivia only grows as other elements are thrown into the mix: a new friend, an old ex. Claire doesn’t know who she is, what she can be, and she unwillingly clings to a past that devours her. Yet, her unreliability didn’t feel like it was coming from her. Let me explain. Yes, she gets diagnosed, yes, she has a problem with alcohol that I totally couldn’t forgive (but that’s just my own past haunting me, see how the author gets to talk to every reader through all the little things she puts in her novel, including part of her heart!) but there was something off, something that kept whispering ‘she’s not crazy’ Weird cracking sounds, a threatening note, a suspicious behaviour from her husband and his family, you can’t blame Claire for all of this! I knew there was a chance she was misreading everything, and I was kept on the edge, but deep down, I knew Claire was not just chasing shadows.

With a darkening sky above her head, Claire falls deeper and deeper into a hole that seems to have been dug just for her… while in different chapters, a woman is fighting another battle. No name, sketchy details of her life, but those chapters are just as intense, painful, and they feel so real that, had I been holding a physical book, the pages would have shaken with all the feelings I was holding! I ended up guessing the who, but never could I have imagined the why, and for this, I must thank the author!!!

The Mother’s Mistake has such a force at its core, it reunites all kinds of secrets, it drives guilt to the highest point, it gives suspicion a bitter taste, it makes you run in circles until you reach the point where past and present clash in emotional and powerful fireworks. Absorbing and totally brilliant, Ruth Heald’s book is one not to miss!

Available now, you can grab your copy just in time for lunch! 😃

Buy Links


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about the author


Ruth Heald is a psychological thriller writer from a suburban Buckinghamshire town. She studied Economics at Oxford and then worked in an eclectic mix of sectors from nuclear decommissioning to management consulting.

Seeking a more creative environment, she found a role at the BBC and worked there for nine years before leaving to write full time. Ruth is fascinated by psychology and finding out what drives people to violence, destruction and revenge. She’s married with one daughter and her novels explore our greatest fears in otherwise ordinary, domestic lives.

Social Media Links:


Twitter: @RJ_Heald.


25 thoughts on “Mama’s Gonna Buy You a Mockingbird: The Mother’s Mistake by Ruth Heald @RJ_Heald @bookouture #BlogTour”

  1. I love anonymous narrators so I am curious about Claire and also that unnamed woman. This sounds like a great read, Meggy. Wonderful review!


  2. Oh damn, sounds awesome!
    There’s defo this general idea that parents have to be perfect and mothers are not allowed to make mistakes – which is so harmful i can’t even begin. :/
    Mystery lady is certainly intriguing too!


  3. This looks super intense! Mothers are always difficult characters to write well in psychological thrillers but looks like the author succeeded here. Great review, Meggy!


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