The Horror Honeys: Hardcover Honey's Haunted Book Club: Just What Kind of Mother Are You?

Hardcover Honey's Haunted Book Club: Just What Kind of Mother Are You?

A Hardcover Honey Book of the Week Review

"Just What Kind of Monther Are you" - Paula Daly

Like most people, I find myself drawn to the same types of books over and over - aside from the fun scary books (The Strain, NOS4R2, etc), I love a juicy family drama.  Oh, wait, I also love a good mystery.  And did I mention I'm a little bit of an Anglophile?  Seriously - all their teatime snacks and extra-vowel spellings and such - I'm a sucker for the Brits.  And you know what else?  As a working mom myself, I love a good domestic drama about someone trying to balance it all (and usually failing miserably).  

When I was browsing recently for a new book, the cover and title of Paula Daly's debut novel, "Just What Kind of Mother Are You?" grabbed me instantly.  I read half of it in one go until I couldn't stay awake any longer, and promptly finished it the very next day.  For those of you who like your horror a little more supernatural, this may not be up your alley.  But for me, it was awesome, ticking off nearly every type of story that grabs me - and in a tight 300 pages to boot.
The plot centers on Lisa Kallisto, a harried mom of three who also runs a busy animal shelter.  Lisa and her family live in town called Troutbeck, which she dubs "the kind of place you find in books entitled 'Quaint English Villages'".  When Lisa inadvertently makes an error during one especially busy week, her world becomes fraught with guilt and terror - her daughter's best friend has gone missing, and the blame lies squarely with Lisa.  

As Lisa begins to dig into Lucinda's disappearance, her first-person chapters are alternated with third-person chapters focusing on Detective Constable Joanne Aspinall, who's been investigating the brutal rape of a similarly-aged girl in a nearby village.  Interspersed with those two chapter types is yet a third type of narrative (and I swear to God, this kind of jumping around in narrative voice has never worked for me like it did here) from the POV of the unnamed pedophile who is assaulting these girls.  Everybody is on edge, everybody is suspicious of each other, and Lisa couldn't feel worse.  And that's before you factor in some competitive mommying (always present in a school setting!) and some dark secrets, infidelity and jealousy.

As I raced to the end of this book, I was reminded again that no matter how well you think you know your friends and neighbors, nearly everyone has something to hide.  And it served a vivid reminder that sometimes the things we need to be afraid of aren't vampires, zombies, ghosts, and the like - but those very same friends and neighbors, and sometimes, even ourselves.


Hardcover Honey Verdict: Four out of five Evil Bookworms - can't wait for her next book!