Just What Kind of Mother Are You?

Paula Daly. Grove, $24 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2162-2
A distinctive voice, masterful plotting, and pitch-perfect characterizations mark British author Daly’s superb debut. Set in the Lake District, where history coexists with economic hardship, the story revolves around two mothers of teenage girls. Perpetually stretched by obligations to family and work, Lisa Kallisto knows she’s partly to blame when Lucinda, the daughter of her friend Kate Riverty, is abducted. Had Lisa properly followed up on the girl’s sleep-over plans with her own daughter, Lucinda’s absence would have been discovered a day earlier. As Det. Constable Joanne Aspinall compares the disappearance to a series of similar unsolved crimes, Lisa battles her self-doubt and tries to save the enviably perfect Kate from crumbling. Daly’s detailed, richly imagined world and surprising plot twists bring fresh life to the familiar theme of child abduction. In the end, the novel is not just an intriguing puzzle but also a nuanced exploration of friendship, motherhood, fallibility, and the mystery of human relationships. Agent: Jane Gregory, Gregory & Company (U,K.). (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/22/2013
Release date: 09/01/2013
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