The Bad Mother by Isabelle Grey

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The Bad Mother by Isabelle Grey

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: An intriguing story, with some excellent characters, but others are two-dimensional. The plot is unconvincing in places.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 368 Date: May 2013
Publisher: Quercus
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0857386489

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When we first meet Tessa Parker she has a major problem on her hands. Her seventeen-year-old son has been missing since the previous day. The police are involved and Tessa is beside herself with worry. She's told the police quite a bit - however you can't help but feel that there's a lot more going on that she's not telling. To find out the full story we go back four months...

Tessa inherited an upmarket B&B from her grandmother and it's not unusual to have people turning up asking if there's a room available. The Australian lady says that she stayed there as a child, but later Tessa visits her parents and the visitor is there. Tessa's world is turned upside down when she discovers that Erin - her mother's sister - is actually her mother and she was adopted by Hugo and Pamela at birth. When Tessa turns to her husband Sam for support he can give her little more than sympathy. He's decided to end their marriage and is moving in with the new woman in his life. Stunned, traumatised, let down by everyone - Tessa decides to track down her father.

She does find him, but I'm not going to tell you where or how. Suffice it to say that it creates a major dilemma for Tessa - and for her son Mitch when he finds out. But, hurt as she was by the secrets which were kept from her, she continues the situation by keeping as much as she can from her children and only lets her adoptive parents into as much as she has to. Fourteen-year-old Lauren struggles emotionally and is obviously in the early stages of an eating disorder. Mitch is besotted with his girlfriend but at sea in the rich world she inhabits. And Tessa puts her father before everything, everyone else.

You can't help but feel sympathy for Tessa. She had a right to expect support from her husband and honesty from her adoptive parents, but there are occasions when she's downright irritating and unbelievable. On the other hand I loved Mitch and his girlfriend, Tamsin and they come off the page fully clothed (or not - as the case may be) and their relationship shone through. I felt for Lauren too - there was a real sense of her emotional turmoil and food was her way of dealing with it. At the other end of the scale there are some characters which struggle to make two dimensions and at one moment of high tension I found myself laughing aloud... The idea behind the plot is good but the ending left much to be desired. One major plot line almost seemed to fizzle out as 'not worth further pursuit'.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If this type of book appeals to you then we can recommend One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis or The Cuckoo Boy by Grant Gillespie.

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Buy The Bad Mother by Isabelle Grey at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Bad Mother by Isabelle Grey at


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