Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Book Review: Mother May I by Joshilyn Jackson

Title: Mother May I
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: April 6th 2021
Print Length: 336 pages
Genre: Domestic Suspense
The New York Times bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Never Have I Ever builds on her success with this addictive novel of domestic suspense in which a mother must decide how far she is willing to go to protect her child and the life she loves; a chilling and thoughtful tale of power, privilege, lies, revenge, and the choices we make, ones that transform our lives in unforeseen ways.

Revenge doesn't wait for permission.

Growing up poor in rural Georgia, Bree Cabbat was warned by her single mother that the world was a dark and scary place. Bree rejected her mother's fearful outlook, and life has proved her right. Having married into a family with wealth, power, and connections, Bree now has all a woman could ever dream of: a loving lawyer husband, two talented teenage daughters, a new baby boy, a gorgeous home, and every opportunity in the world.

Until the day she awakens and sees a witch peering into her bedroom window; an old gray-haired woman dressed all in black who vanishes as quickly as she appears. It must be a play of the early morning light or the remnant of a waking dream, Bree tells herself, shaking off the bad feeling that overcomes her.

Later that day though, she spies the old woman again, in the parking lot of her daugh­ters' private school . . . just minutes before Bree's infant son, asleep in his car seat only a few feet away, vanishes. It happened so quickly. Bree looked away only for a second. There is a note left in his place, warning her that she is being is being watched; if she wants her baby back, she must not call the police or deviate in any way from the instructions that will follow.

The mysterious woman makes contact, and Bree learns she, too, is a mother. Why would another mother do this? What does she want? And why has she targeted Bree? Of course Bree will pay anything, do anything. It's her child.

To get her baby back, Bree must complete one small but critical task. It seems harmless enough, but her action comes with a devastating price, making her complicit in a tangled web of tragedy and shocking secrets that could destroy everything she loves. It is the beginning of an odyssey that will lead Bree to dangerous places, explosive confrontations, and chilling truths.

Bree will do whatever it takes to protect her family, but what if the cost tears their world apart?

After loving Joshilyn Jackson's novel Never Have I Ever, I definitely knew I wanted to read Mother May I by Joshilyn Jackson. Jackson is a brilliant writer, and I was drawn in by the synopsis of this story. I was not disappointed at all!

Bree has everything and wants for nothing. She has three fantastic children, a loving husband, and plenty of money. She starts seeing an old woman that looks like a witch looking through her bedroom window and then again at her daughters' school. When her infant son keeps kidnapped from her daughters' school, it sets something sinister in motion. If Bree wants to see her son alive again, she has to agree to do some pretty messed up things. However, as Bree gets sucked in further and further, she learns some pretty crazy things about those she thought she knew.

First off, the world building for Mother May I was done so fantastically! It was so easy to get sucked into this book. I could easily imagine every little thing that happened throughout Mother May I as I was reading. The pacing was perfect. I found myself never wanting to put this book down. Not once did it ever slow down to become boring or speed up that I got lost. I wanted to make sure baby Robert was safe, and I was also frantic when he went missing and Bree was doing all she could to get him back. I didn't feel like there were any major plot twists. There are a few minor ones though. There is no cliff hanger ending, and all loose ends are tied up by the end of the book. I did enjoy how the book ended though. Mother May I definitely shows what having wealth and privilege can do for you even when you do something bad, so kudos to this book for bringing it to the forefront.

I felt that all the characters in Mother May I were well rounded and developed. It was easy to relate to Bree throughout the book. As a mother myself, I felt her fear and worry at her son being kidnapped. (That's one of my worst nightmares!) I never once blamed her for what she did to make sure her son would be safe and so she could get him back. I'm pretty sure I would do the same as she did. I loved that she came from humble beginnings as well. I loved her backstory. Marshall was such a stand up guy to help out Bree. It was obvious how much he cared for Bree. I admit that I was wary of him throughout the book. I kept waiting for him to somehow be involved in Robert's disappearance. Trey seemed like a stand up guy with how he treated Bree and how much he loved her although Trey was another one I was wary of. I also kept thinking he had something to do with Robert's disappearance. Coral was another one that I could kind of understand her hurt for what happened to her daughter. While I don't agree at all with what she did as an act of revenge (not a spoiler), I knew her heart was hurting for her daughter and what she went through. Coral was a fantastic antagonist though.

Trigger warnings for Mother May I include rape, sexual situations, drug use, drinking, murder, suicide, death, child murder, swearing, and kidnapping.

With such wonderful characters and fantastic world building, Mother May I is a book deserving of such high praise. It goes to show how unfair the world is and how money talks in a well done story. I would definitely recommend Mother May I by Joshilyn Jackson to those aged 18+ who are after a book with a fantastic storyline and a great cast of characters.
(A special thank you to William Morrow for providing me with a paperback ARC of Mother May I by Joshilyn Jackson. I was under no obligation to write a review.)

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