“Just What Kind of Mother are You?” by Paula Daly – Book Review

This novel is told via three voices:

Lisa Kallisto – a married mother of three who never has the time she needs for all she wants to do. Harried and often overwhelmed by her busy life and her job in an animal rescue shelter, she and her husband Joe are living day to day, paycheck to paycheck. She is constantly feeling guilty about not spending any ‘quality’ time with her kids: Sally aged 13, James, aged 11, and Sam, aged 7. When her friend Kate’s daughter Lucinda goes missing she blames herself. Lucinda was supposed to be staying the night at Kate’s house with her daughter Sally.

DC Joanne Aspinall – in her late thirties, Joanne lives in her own house in Windermere which she is now sharing with her Aunt Jackie.

The Abductor – young, charismatic, and well dressed, the abductor is an enigma throughout most of the book. He desires very young girls who have no blemishes or scars. Girls who look even younger than they are…

Set in a small, intimate village near Lake Windermere in the Lake District, this is Paula Daly’s debut novel – and what a page turner!

Told via the point-of-view of three characters, Lisa Kallisto, Detective Constable Joanne Aspinall, and, to a lesser extent the abductor, this story is about a missing thirteen year-old girl. What sets it ahead of other novels about missing children is the truly authentic voice of all the characters. They seemed like REAL people, with no artifice and brutal honesty.

These characters draw you in so that you become invested in their lives. Lisa’s work at the animal shelter was fascinating to me, and the scenes with the ‘rescues’ will be keenly appreciated by all animal lovers. DC Aspinall’s home life, and personal issues had me invested in her struggles as well.

The novel is primarily about parenting. Those who do it well, those who are struggling, and those who seem to be doing well, but are anything but. It explores how we never really know what goes on behind closed doors and how a person’s facade can be misleading. How parents, especially mothers, push themselves to be all things to all people. Perfect parents, perfect partners, perfect employees. The attempt is seldom, if ever, successful.

All in all, this was an enjoyable, character-driven read. Highly recommended!

Anna Friel who stars in the ITV television drama “Deep Water”

Published in 2013 by Penguin/Random House Canada.

ISBN: 9780802121622 – ASIN: B00B6OVPDA – 320 pages

This title has been patiently waiting on my Kindle for some time. I purchased it a few years ago, and chose to read it now because there will soon be a new television drama based on it and another Paula Daly title “The Mistake I Made“. The TV drama is called Deep Water and stars Anna Friel (of “Marcella” fame). I hope to read the second book before the show finally arrives in Canada.


Paula Daly is the acclaimed author of six novels. She has been shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger Award.

She was born in Lancashire and lives in the Lake District with her husband, three children, and dog Skippy.

Follow Paula Daly on Twitter @PaulaDalyAuthor

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
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9 Responses to “Just What Kind of Mother are You?” by Paula Daly – Book Review

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  3. wonderful review, sounds excellent. wish it was an audiobook!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh man. The title alone is giving me a panic attack.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So glad you enjoyed this one Lynne, I loved it too!

    Liked by 2 people

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