Motherthing by Ainslie Hogarth #Motherthing @AinslieEm @AtlanticBooks @theotherkirsty #BookReview

Motherthing by Ainslie Hogarth

Originally published: 6 October 2022

Author: Ainslie Hogwarth

Published by: Atlantic

Genre: Literary Horror

Length: 288 pages

Reading dates: 13-18 October 2022

Abby Lamb has done it. She’s found the Great Good in her husband, Ralph, and together they will start a family and put all the darkness in her childhood to rest. But then the Lambs move in with Ralph’s mother, Laura, whose depression has made it impossible for her to live on her own. She’s venomous and cruel, especially to Abby, who has a complicated understanding of motherhood given the way her own, now-estranged, mother raised her.

When Laura takes her own life, her ghost starts to haunt Abby and Ralph in very different ways. Ralph is plunged into depression, and Abby is being terrorized by a force intent on taking everything she loves away from her. With everything on the line, Abby must make the ultimate sacrifice in order to prove her adoration to Ralph and break Laura’s hold on the family for good.

When Kirsty sent me the blurb for Motherthing and asked if I’d be interested in receiving a copy, my answer was a resounding yes! And then I saw @TwoFondOfBooks shouting about it over on Twitter so it got bumped up the TBR, especially as I fancied something a little bit creepy for Halloween!

Motherthing begins as Ralph’s mother Laura has just committed suicide in the basement of their house. She has been suffering from depression for years so Ralph and his wife Abby moved in with her to try and help but Laura is belittling to Ralph and spiteful to Abby so she is a difficult person to live with.

Abby herself has a complicated relationship with her own mother and is desperate to live happily every after with Ralph and start their own family and is hopeful after Laura’s death they will now be able to do this. But it soon becomes apparent that despite Laura being dead, she is still very much around. Ralph’s mental health deteriorates as he stops going to work and instead spends time with his dead mother in the basement. And it isn’t long before Abby herself sees signs of Laura and it becomes a battle between for two women for Ralph.

Abby works in a care home and has a particularly strong bond with Mrs Bondy, one of the elderly residents. When her daughter turns up and says she wants to move her mother to a new facility, Abby is distraught and things take a sinister turn…

I loved the way the author played with the formatting of the novel, some of the conversations taking place in a script form. And I really liked her writing style – she uses a lot of similes which I really enjoyed. All of the characters are a little bit crazy but we only hear directly from Abby. She desperately wants to be the best wife for Ralph and let him move on from his mother’s suicide and one way she is convinced she can do this is through food. She makes a jellied salmon which hangs around for a fair portion of the book as she takes it to work where her colleagues are reluctant to eat it. And when she goes into her final battle with Laura, she is convinced it will be what she feeds Ralph that will break their bond.

I really enjoyed Motherthing – it is a fantastic, twisted novel which I will certainly never forget! It is dark, shocking, creepy and a little bit gruesome which are all the things I love!

Thank you to Kirsty at Atlantic Books for gifting me a finished copy of Motherthing.

About the author:

Ainslie Hogarth

Ainslie Hogarth is the author of THE LONELY, THE BOY MEETS GIRL MASSACRE (ANNOTATED), and MOTHERTHING. You can find her short fiction in Hazlitt, Black Static, and more.


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