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Joshilyn Jackson's MOTHER MAY I--Unexpected and Twisty

by Sara Voigt (@meaningfulmadness)

Book cover of Mother May by Joshilyn Jackson

Joshilyn Jackson's Mother May I ( |

I have read several of Joshilyn Jackson’s books and have enjoyed them, so I was excited to see her new release in April. I was in the mood for a twisty book, so I listened to this one on audio. Jackson narrated the audiobook, and hearing her narrate her own characters added an extra layer of authenticity to the characters as I read.

*Before I proceed, I want to make a clear trigger warning for violence against children and sexual assault.*

Bree Cabbat is married to a wealthy, successful lawyer. She has three children–two teenage daughters who are twins, and a brand new 10-week-old baby named Robert. The book starts with Bree seeing a “witch” in her window one night as she and her husband are going to sleep. Then, she sees the same “witch” the next day at her daughter’s theater rehearsal. This strikes her as odd, but she continues with her day. As she is in the balcony of the school watching her daughter’s rehearsal, she takes her eyes off of Robert’s carrier car seat for a few minutes to watch her daughter perform a solo. When she looks back, the carrier is gone. What follows is a twisty, harrowing story of a mother desperately trying to find her missing child and the sinister plot to keep her from him.

This book is very compelling. There were some parts that I found very disturbing and hard to read, but ultimately, I thought it was a solid suspense novel with enough twists and turns to keep me guessing. It also poses a lot of questions for the reader to ponder, which I felt elevated it to more than just your run of the mill thriller or suspense book.

“As time passed, events became mutable. People justified their actions, and the more shame they felt about a memory, the more they chewed it over, fretting and defending and editing, until they could live with it.”

As with many novels, it is difficult to discuss in too much detail without giving too much away. So, I will leave you with the description from the publisher:

“Revenge doesn’t wait for permission.

“Growing up poor in rural Georgia, Bree Cabbat was warned that the world was a dark and scary place. Bree rejected that 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.

“Until the day she awakens and sees someone 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 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.

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

“The world was dangerous and broken. But people had to feel safe anyway, to get on with the business of living.”

Let me know if you decide to read this one! I would love to know what you think. It is definitely not what I expected when I started it, but ultimately I am glad I read it.


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