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  • Barbara Copperthwaite

Review: MOTHER, SE Lynes

Mother, by SE Lynes. Review by Barbara Copperthwaite

‘Wonderful story-telling builds slowly to a crescendo’


Christopher would never hurt anyone. Not intentionally. Even after everything that’s happened I still believe that... Christopher Harris is a lonely boy. A boy who has never fitted in to his family. Who has always felt something was missing from his life. Until one day, when he discovers a suitcase in his family’s attic. Inside the suitcase is a letter. Inside the letter is a secret about his mother that changes everything. What price would you pay for the perfect family? Christopher finally has a chance at happiness. A happiness that he will do anything to protect…


With an opening scene that is full of action, fear, and tension, Mother then moves to a slower pace, transforming into a character-driven psychological thriller. And what characters! Each one is a clear individual, with their own fascinating little tics and tells. The author saves the best for the main character, though – Christopher is out of step with the world, and will stay with me for a long time. Is he misunderstood or creepy? Misfit or madman? Manipulator or manipulated? These were the questions swirling round my head as his life story played out, pushing me to keep turning the pages and discover the truth.

There is an unknown narrator in the book, who is telling the reader the story, and I will admit that at first I wasn’t sure how I’d get on with that. Would it read awkwardly, or get in the way? Not at all. Instead, it helped to build tension and intrigue.

The book is set in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and the author really packs it with period detail. I lost myself in the world of Christopher and the narrator. This is a tale to take your time over. It’s not a fast-paced thriller, but that is not a criticism at all. It’s wonderful story-telling builds slowly to a crescendo, like a tsunami that starts as a small wave far out at sea, then raises higher and faster, until it sweeps away everything in its path, leaving only destruction. Loved it!

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