Review: “The Mother’s Promise” by Sally Hepworth

29939223“The Mother’s Promise” by Sally Hepworth
336 pages, St. Martin’s Press
Expected publication date: Feb. 21, 2017
ISBN: 1250077753
Single mom Alice Stanhope and her 15-year-old daughter Zoe are leading a safe, insulated existence that’s turned upside down when Alice is diagnosed with Stage 3 ovarian cancer. The prospect of losing her mother only serves to aggravate Zoe’s crippling social anxiety disorder, which is tested as new people begin to invade her safe haven – Alice’s social worker Sonja and nurse Kate are insistent that, now more than ever, Zoe can’t close herself off from the world.

As Zoe is forced to step outside her comfort zone, she learns to build trust with a select few people – the seemingly perfect boy who sits in front of her in one of their classes, the best friend who struggles to understand her, and especially Kate. Zoe comes to rely on Kate, which Alice can’t help resenting. Even the school therapist seems to be getting through to Zoe, and slowly but surely she emerges from her protective bubble and learns to trust herself and the world around her.

Meanwhile, Kate and Sonja are struggling with their own demons – ones that have serious implications for Zoe and Alice.

This was my first time reading a Sally Hepworth novel, and I wasn’t disappointed. The characters felt so real to me as the POV shifts between these four women and the joys and sorrows they face on a daily basis. I kind of saw part of the ending coming from a mile away, but I don’t think Hepworth was trying too hard to conceal that outcome.

The relationships between the four women and the people in their lives also felt very natural and relevant. I think most readers will find a bit of themselves in Zoe, Alice, Kate and/or Sonja. The author tackles issues that are painful to confront, yet so important to deal with.

I don’t usually find myself crying over books, but if you’re prone to that sort of thing, you’d better have the tissues handy.

After reading “The Mother’s Promise,” I definitely want to check out more of Sally Hepworth’s books. I hope her other works are just as refreshingly honest as this one.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


5 stars


About the author

Sally Hepworth is the bestselling author of The Secrets of Midwives. The Secrets of


Bio and photo courtesy of author’s Goodreads profile

Midwives has been labelled “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 debut novel as “women’s fiction at its finest” and “totally absorbing”. The Secrets of Midwives was also the highest selling debut Australian fiction of the year in 2015.

Sally is also the author of The Things We Keep, published in January 2016. The Things We Keep was a Library Journal Pick in the U.S. for January 2016, and an Indie Next Pick in the U.S. for February 2016. NYT bestselling author of The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion praised The Things We Keep calling it ‘A compelling read that touches on important themes, not least the different forms that love may take.”

Both novels were published worldwide in English and have been translated into several languages.

Sally is currently working on her next novel, to be published in early 2017.

Sally lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and two children.


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