The Tragedy – When we join the story, a thirty-seven year old man has recently died. David Wyatt Gillespie was charming, a successful businessman, an avid sportsman, was on the town council, and was married with an infant daughter. He was also an abusive husband.
“A Mother’s Confession” is the story of the two women who loved him.
The Wife – Thirty-five year old Olivia Gillespie, is deeply traumatized by her husband’s death. Swept away initially by David’s charm and persuasiveness, she learned, after a decade, that David’s love for her bordered on obsession. He was extremely controlling, emotionally manipulative, and physically abusive. Over the years he had cut her off from her own family and isolated her from all of her friends. Now he is dead, and Olivia finds she cannot move on. With a daughter who is only a few months old to look after, she rarely leaves her lavish home, and then only to visit her grief counselor in the accompaniment of her mother. Olivia once worked as a veterinary surgeon, but since the birth of her daughter Zoe, she has not returned to her career. Olivia blames herself for what happened to David.
“Sometimes I actually miss him, but then in the very next breath I find that I hate him so much that I hope there is a hell, just so that he can be suffering like he left me here to suffer.”
As the book progresses, so too does Olivia’s mental anguish gradually lessen. Enough so that she makes a list to get on with her life – using her maiden name, Olivia Brennan.
The Mother-In-Law – Ivy Gillespie is David’s mother. Reeling from the shocking death of her only and much beloved son, she is trying to grasp what has happened. We learn much about Ivy through her reminiscences of David’s life, starting when he was just a small boy. Ivy had an unhealthy relationship with her son. She couldn’t see that he had any flaws, and always completely centered her life around his. Unhappily married to the town’s only grocer, she wants for nothing, yet she has never really loved he husband Wyatt. Her only love has always been her handsome and athletic son who learned his manipulative ways at his mother’s knee. Ivy has always been jealous of her son’s relationship with Olivia, and she blames Olivia for what happened to David.
“David was my perfection – and raising him was instantly my purpose. I threw myself into motherhood with great abandon.”
The Vet – Sebastian McNiven is the veterinarian in Milton Falls. Once he was Olivia’s boss and good friend. He suspected what was going on, but felt he could not interfere…
The Setting – A small town in Australia called Milton Falls which is about four hours drive away from the city of Sydney.
The reader is never made privy to how David actually died until the very end of the book. We only know that it must have been something spectacular because Olivia mentions that his death was captured by national media. This is the crux of the whole book.
I absolutely hated Ivy’s character. I was often impatient with Olivia’s character. Yet, the author must have done something very right for me to FEEL so strongly about these two women.
Don’t let the cover misguide you, this is not your sappy romance. Though it does have a small element of love story, this is mostly a book about unhealthy parenting, abuse in marriage, and even more than that, it was about grief and the grieving process.
Although readers often expect a plot twist when reading thrillers, you don’t often get one in women’s fiction. This book was the exception. The twist when it came near the end of the novel was profoundly shocking to me. That being said, after I thought about it a bit more, I realized that there were many hints in the book that I should have picked up on, but didn’t. Shame on me.
Recommended to those readers who enjoy cleverly written women’s fiction.
Thank you to the publisher Bookouture for providing me with a digital copy of A Mother’s Confession via Netgalley. I was under no obligation to give a review.
Kelly Rimmer is the USA Today bestselling women’s fiction author of five novels. Her latest, Before I Let You Go, was released in 2018. This year, she will be releasing her new novel, The Things We Cannot Say. Her novels have been translated into more than 20 languages.
Kelly lives in rural Australia with her family and fantastically naughty dogs, Sully and Basil.
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