Category Archives: Sally Hepworth

Review: The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth

Title: The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Domestic Mystery
Length: 348 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


A heart surgeon at the top of his field, Stephen Aston is getting married again. But first he must divorce his current wife, even though she can no longer speak for herself.

Tully and Rachel Aston look upon their father’s fiancée, Heather, as nothing but an interloper. Heather is younger than both of them. Clearly, she’s after their father’s money.

With their mother in a precarious position, Tully and Rachel are determined to get to the
truth about their family’s secrets, the new wife closing in, and who their father really is.

Heather has secrets of her own. Will getting to the truth unleash the most dangerous impulses
in all of them?


The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth is a fast-moving domestic mystery.

Heart surgeon Stephen Aston blindsides his adult daughters, Tully and Rachel, with his announcement he is engaged to much younger interior designer, Heather Wisher. Tully and Rachel are even more stunned when he also tells them he is divorcing their mother, Pamela. The sisters are not all happy to be gaining a stepmother nor are they pleased about Stephen’s divorce plans.

Tully and her husband Sonny are parents of two sons who are five and almost three. Tully’s stress levels are through the roof as she navigates upcoming changes for her family and the situation with her parents and Heather. She has always had severe anxiety and her coping mechanism is about to land her trouble. Will Sonny stand by her when the truth is revealed?

Rachel is a sought-after baker who devotes all her time to her business. She has not dated since she was a teenager and she too is keeping a secret from her loved ones. Her new delivery person is quite unexpected and she finally begins to emerge from her shell.

Heather has not been honest about her past but she certain Stephen will not learn the truth. She never intended to fall in love with a married man but she eagerly grabs hold of her chance for happiness. But after moving in with her husband to be, Heather begins to notice things about Stephen that leave her questioning her decision about her future. Can she trust her interpretations of unsettling events?

The Younger Wife is a compelling domestic mystery that is very suspenseful. Tully’s deep-seated issues are becoming impossible to control. Rachel’s fears have held her hostage for decades but will she finally be able to move past them? Heather is surprisingly easy to like but is marrying Stephen the right decision? Can Tully and Rachel trust their mother’s shocking declarations? With plenty of questions to answer, Sally Hepworth brings this suspenseful domestic mystery to an absolutely jaw-dropping conclusion.

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Filed under Contemporary, Domestic Mystery, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Sally Hepworth, St Martin's Press, Suspense, The Younger Wife

Review: The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth

Title: The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Domestic Thriller
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Sally Hepworth, the author of The Mother-In-Law delivers a knock-out of a novel about the lies that bind two sisters in The Good Sister.

There’s only been one time that Rose couldn’t stop me from doing the wrong thing and that was a mistake that will haunt me for the rest of my life.

Fern Castle works in her local library. She has dinner with her twin sister Rose three nights a week. And she avoids crowds, bright lights and loud noises as much as possible. Fern has a carefully structured life and disrupting her routine can be…dangerous.

When Rose discovers that she cannot get pregnant, Fern sees her chance to pay her sister back for everything Rose has done for her. Fern can have a baby for Rose. She just needs to find a father. Simple.

Fern’s mission will shake the foundations of the life she has carefully built for herself and stir up dark secrets from the past, in this quirky, rich and shocking story of what families keep hidden.


The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth is mesmerizing domestic thriller.

Fern and Rose Castle are fraternal twins who are extremely close. Rose is married but her husband Owen is currently out of the country on business. Fern loves her job working in a library and she is very loyal to her sister. Fern has a sensory processing disorder, but she controls it by adhering to her routine and avoiding large crowds. After discovering Rose cannot have children, she decides to get pregnant and allow her sister to adopt her child. But after entering into a relationship with library patron Rocco aka Wally, will Fern go through with her plan?

Fern is a logical thinker who interprets comments quite literally. She also takes everything Rose tells her as the truth and never questions what her sister tells her do. So, after a lifetime of hearing she cannot raise a child, she does not believe she will have any trouble giving her baby to her sister. But will Fern be able to give up both Wally and her baby?

Wally is an American currently residing in Australia and he is now living a #vanlife. He works in IT and he is now freelancing.  Wally understands Fern’s sensory processing issues since he has a milder form than she does. He finds Fern easy to be with and he enjoys her company and sense of humor. Wally views Rose’s involvement in Fern’s life much differently than she does, but will she take his advice and impressions to heart?

Rose’s chapters are in the form of diary entries that are detailed accounts of her and Fern’s dysfunctional childhood. Rose describes how her mum is always unhappy with her behavior while also showing favoritism towards Fern. She also takes sister under her wing and tries to teach her to interpret other people’s emotions and facial expressions. After learning of Fern’s pregnancy, Rose becomes a force to be reckoned with until her sister gives birth.

The Good Sister is an absolutely riveting domestic thriller. Fern is a bit eccentric, but she is funny and very much liked by her co-workers and library patrons. Wally is a good fit for Fern but he does not know if he can convince her to take a step back from her sister. Rose is an intriguing person who wants protects her sister, but can her interpretation of events be trusted? With a few shocking twists and turns, Sally Hepworth brings this spellbinding thriller to a gratifying conclusion. I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend this domestic thriller to fans of the author and the genre.

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Filed under Contemporary, Domestic Thriller, Rated B+, Review, Sally Hepworth, St Martin's Press, The Good Sister

Review: The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth

Title: The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 347 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


A twisty, compelling new novel about one woman’s complicated relationship with her mother-in-law that ends in death…

From the moment Lucy met her husband’s mother, she knew she wasn’t the wife Diana had envisioned for her perfect son. Exquisitely polite, friendly, and always generous, Diana nonetheless kept Lucy at arm’s length despite her desperate attempts to win her over. And as a pillar in the community, an advocate for female refugees, and a woman happily married for decades, no one had a bad word to say about Diana…except Lucy.

That was five years ago.

Now, Diana is dead, a suicide note found near her body claiming that she longer wanted to live because of the cancer wreaking havoc inside her body.

But the autopsy finds no cancer.

It does find traces of poison, and evidence of suffocation.

Who could possibly want Diana dead? Why was her will changed at the eleventh hour to disinherit both of her children, and their spouses? And what does it mean that Lucy isn’t exactly sad she’s gone?

Fractured relationships and deep family secrets grow more compelling with every page in this twisty, captivating new novel from Sally Hepworth.


The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth is an enthralling domestic mystery.

Lucy Goodwin’s hopes of a close relationship with her mother-in-law Diana are dashed long before her marriage to Ollie.  After they are married, Lucy feels like she does not live up to her somewhat cold and standoffish mother-in-law’s expectations. Over the years, Lucy remains cordial with her and although they are not close, she does appreciate the effort Diana makes with her and Ollie’s three children.  When her mother-in-law dies under mysterious circumstances, Lucy, Ollie, his sister, Nettie and her husband, Patrick, are the subject of intense police scrutiny. Considering the complex history between her and her mother-in-law, does Lucy know more about Diana’s death than she is revealing?

Lucy is a stay-at-home mum to Edie, Harriet and Archie. She and Ollie are quite happy despite the long hours he works at his business. Their relationship with his extended family members has gone through its ups and downs over the years.  Things have been somewhat tense between them at the time of Diana’s death, but tragedy pulls them together.  Lucy is concerned about Nettie but she is mainly focused on discovering what Ollie is not telling her.

Diana is a complicated woman who is devoted to her charitable work with pregnant refugees. She is quite pragmatic and although she loves her children, she believes they should stand on their own two feet. Her beloved husband, Tom, is a soft touch and Ollie and Nettie know how to get around their mother’s refusal to help them.  When her life takes an unexpected turn, will she temper her responses to Ollie’s and Nettie’s pleas for assistance?

The Mother-in-Law is a multi-layered mystery that weaves back and forth in time and unfolds from different perspectives.  Each chapter proves to be quite illuminating while at the same time revealing the increasing stress between the various characters. The police investigation heightens the suspense since they remain very tight-lipped about what they have discovered about Diana’s death. Sally Hepworth builds the tension to a fever pitch as this engrossing mystery hurtles to a shocking conclusion. An absolutely spellbinding novel that readers of the genre will not want to miss.

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Filed under 1980s, Contemporary, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Sally Hepworth, St Martin's Press, Suspense, The Mother-in-Law

Review: The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth

Title: The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 341 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Small, perfect towns often hold the deepest secrets.

From the outside, Essie’s life looks idyllic: a loving husband, a beautiful house in a good neighborhood, and a nearby mother who dotes on her grandchildren. But few of Essie’s friends know her secret shame: that in a moment of maternal despair, she once walked away from her newborn, asleep in her carriage in a park. Disaster was avoided and Essie got better, but she still fears what lurks inside her, even as her daughter gets older and she has a second baby.

When a new woman named Isabelle moves in next door to Essie, she is an immediate object of curiosity in the neighborhood. Why single, when everyone else is married with children? Why renting, when everyone else owns? What mysterious job does she have? And why is she so fascinated with Essie? As the two women grow closer and Essie’s friends voice their disapproval, it starts to become clear that Isabelle’s choice of neighborhood was no accident. And that her presence threatens to bring shocking secrets to light.

The Family Next Door is Sally Hepworth at her very best: at once a deeply moving portrait of family drama and a compelling suburban mystery that will keep you hooked until the very last page.


The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth is an engaging and intriguing novel about the lives and secrets of five women who are neighbors.

Pleasant Court is a quiet and somewhat tranquil neighborhood where everyone looks out for one another. Eppie, Barbara, Fran and Ange are all neighbors who are on friendly terms but they are not overly close. However, when Isabelle Heatherington moves in, their curiosity about her brings them closer together. As time passes, the cracks in each of the families become more apparent and by the time they know the reason for Isabelle’s presence, their lives are forever altered.

Essie is mum to two daughters, three year old Mia and six month old Polly. Her husband Ben owns a fitness gym so she relies on her mum, Barbara, to help out with the girls. Essie is happy with her marriage and kids, but will the same darkness that overtook her after the birth of Mia engulf her again when Polly begins having trouble sleeping?

Fran is also a mum to two daughters, three year old Rosie and six week old Ava. Her husband Nigel went through a rough spot but the birth of their second daughter seems to have helped. Unfortunately, while Nigel is content with their family, Fran has something weighing so heavily on her mind that she has become a compulsive runner. She knows that a secret she is keeping could have an adverse effect on her family but can she continue to maintain her silence?

Ange owns her own business so her photographer husband Lucas is quite involved with their sons, eleven year old Will and eight year old Ollie.  Ange never has a hair out of place, her home is spotless and she is the consummate hostess. Following a trip to the ER with Ollie for a broken arm, Ange has reason to wonder about the future of her marriage.

Isabelle is carelessly glamorous with a beautifully decorated home. Essie is particularly happy to meet her since she could use a new friend. But she, along with Fran, Essie and Barbara, cannot help but wonder what prompted Isabelle’s sudden move from Sydney to Melbourne? And why is a single woman with no children so keen to get to know the women and their children?

Written from each of the  five women’s perspectives, readers get to see what happens behind the closed doors. Each of the women is harboring a secret that could have serious implications for their families and/or their respective futures. Although not a mystery, there is an aura of suspense as each woman wrestles with their particular issue. And of course, there is quite a bit of mystery surrounding Isabelle and exactly what she hopes to gain by moving into their neighborhood.

The Family Next Door is a compelling novel that is fast-paced with appealing characters.  Sally Hepworth once again has penned an imaginative story that grabs readers’ imaginations and attention right from the start. This heartwarming and poignant tale that has quite a few unexpected twists, turns and surprises.  A thoroughly captivating novel with just a hint of suspense that will delight readers.

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Review: The Mother’s Promise by Sally Hepworth

Title: The Mother’s Promise by Sally Hepworth
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: A

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


All their lives, Alice Stanhope and her daughter Zoe have been a family of two, living quietly in northern California. Zoe has always struggled with crippling social anxiety and her mother has been her constant and fierce protector. With no family to speak of, and the identity of Zoe’s father shrouded in mystery, their team of two works—until it doesn’t. Until Alice gets sick and needs to fight for her life.

Desperate to find stability for Zoe, Alice reaches out to two women who are practically strangers, but who are her only hope: Kate, a nurse, and Sonja, a social worker. As the four of them come together, a chain of events is set into motion and all four of them must confront their sharpest fears and secrets—secrets about abandonment, abuse, estrangement, and the deepest longing for family. Imbued with heart and humor in even the darkest moments, The Mother’s Promise is an unforgettable novel about the unbreakable bonds between mothers and daughters, and the new ways in which families are forged.


The Mother’s Promise by Sally Hepworth is a bittersweet novel about a single mother who discovers she has cancer.  Alice Stanhope is a devoted mom whose worry over her teenage daughter Zoe initially eclipses her concern about her health but she is soon forced to face the implications of her diagnosis.

At the age of forty, Alice has had a few health scares, so she is at first unconcerned about her doctor’s recommendation for surgery.  Reality quickly sets in and despite her claim she does not need any help, nurse Kate Littleton and hospital social worker Sonja step in to lend assistance.  Zoe’s severe social anxiety is difficult to manage when things are normal, so Alice is less than forthcoming with her daughter (and herself) about her diagnosis.  Although things are tense with her husband, David, Kate is more than happy to help out with Zoe but Alice is having a difficult time accepting Kate’s support for her daughter. Sonja is also trying her best to be there for both Alice and Zoe but she is struggling to cope with her psychologist husband’s increasingly rough treatment of her.  Alice’s alcoholic brother Paul is surprisingly helpful but maintaining his sobriety is an impossible endeavor.  In the aftermath of her surgery, Alice remains positive about her prognosis but is she deluding herself?  And if she is, what will happen to Zoe?

Alice and Zoe have lived a very insular life from the time Zoe was about two years old.  Alice founded a business that enabled her to keep her daughter out of daycare and until kindergarten, Zoe was a happy, well-adjusted little girl.  Zoe’s debilitating social anxiety and panic attacks began when she entered school and despite treatment, she has found little success in finding ways to cope with her disorder. Since Zoe only has one close friend, Alice and Zoe spend the most of their time together and Alice is fiercely protective of her daughter.

Kate is happily married with two teenage stepchildren whom she adores.  She loves her job and her affection for the patients in her care is genuine. When Zoe needs a place to stay while Alice is undergoing surgery and chemo, Kate is quick to welcome her into their home.   Although she has a full and happy life, Kate and David are at an impasse in their marriage and with each of them on opposite sides of an issue, the bond between them is becoming quite fragile.

Sonja is shocked by the changes in her husband George and she is not ready to admit his rough treatment of her might be crossing the line into abuse.  After all, a social worker would be the first person to recognize the signs of domestic violence, wouldn’t she?  For the first time in her career, Sonja is beginning to understand why the women she has tried to help continue to stay with their boyfriends and husbands.  Although Sonja remains uncertain about the future of their relationship, she is taking steps to protect herself when circumstances force her to take a stand.

The Mother’s Promise is a captivating novel that is heartwarming and deeply affecting.  Sally Hepworth broaches difficult topics such as social anxiety, cancer, alcoholism, abuse, Crohns Disease  and more with a great deal sensitivity. This deft handling  provides readers with  insightful and educational  information about topics that are rarely discussed. The various situations each of the women are facing intertwine into a meaningful storyline that is heartfelt and emotional. An incredibly moving novel that I absolutely loved and highly recommend.

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Review: The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth

things we keepTitle: The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 351 pages
Book Rating: A

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Anna Forster, in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease at only thirty-eight years old, knows that her family is doing what they believe to be best when they take her to Rosalind House, an assisted living facility. She also knows there’s just one another resident her age, Luke. What she does not expect is the love that blossoms between her and Luke even as she resists her new life at Rosalind House. As her disease steals more and more of her memory, Anna fights to hold on to what she knows, including her relationship with Luke.

When Eve Bennett is suddenly thrust into the role of single mother she finds herself putting her culinary training to use at Rosalind house. When she meets Anna and Luke she is moved by the bond the pair has forged. But when a tragic incident leads Anna’s and Luke’s families to separate them, Eve finds herself questioning what she is willing to risk to help them.


The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth is a bittersweet novel about an unconventional romance in an assisted living facility. Surprisingly humorous, this emotional novel is sure to resonate with anyone whose life has been touched by dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease.

Anna Forster knows she is at risk for early onset Alzheimer’s but unlike her twin brother Jack, she does not undergo genetic testing to find out for sure. Despite not knowing she has the gene, when symptoms begin, she has a pretty good idea what is happening to her. Once she receives the official diagnosis, she leaves behind her unhappy marriage and moves in Jack and his family. Fearing her illness will put her nephews at risk, she then moves into a privately owned assisted living facility. There, in the midst of the “oldies”, Anna meets Luke, who has also been diagnosed with early onset Alzhemier’s. As the youngest people in the facility, the two strike up a friendship that quickly turns romantic, but after a heartbreaking accident, their families insist they be kept apart. When newly hired cook Eve Bennett learns their shared history, she does everything in her power to help them.

Before her diagnosis, Anna is a vivacious and quick-witted paramedic who enjoys riding her motorcycle and spending time with her family during her off duty hours. Wanting to spare her family the burden of caring for her, she is proactive in managing her care, but her condition deteriorates rapidly, necessitating full time care much sooner than anticipated. Although not exactly overjoyed to be living with senior citizens, Anna quickly comes to appreciate their struggles since she too is experiencing some of the same issues. At first, she keeps to herself but knowing Jack will worry if she does not take a more active role in facility’s activities, she makes an effort to get to know the other residents. Naturally gravitating to Luke (aka young guy), she is grateful to have someone her age who also knows some of what she is going through. As both of their conditions worsen, Luke bolsters her flagging spirits and provides her a new perspective of their respective futures. Their romance is sweet yet heartbreaking as they are both aware their time together is limited but they are determined to spend whatever time they have left with one another.

Eve and her seven year old daughter Clementine are starting over after her financier husband’s Ponzi scheme is discovered by the SEC. Losing their fortune is difficult but trying to understand how the man she knew as a loving husband and father could do something so reprehensible is nearly impossible. However, her main priority is Clementine and the job at the assisted living facility will ensure Clementine won’t have to change schools. Eve is soon wrapped in the residents’ lives but as she forms an unlikely friendship with Anna, she knows that keeping her apart from Luke is not in either of their best interests. Despite feeling like she is missing crucial pieces of the puzzle, Eve devises a scheme to allow Anna and Luke to spend time together, but will this decision come back to haunt her?

Anna’s perspective provides readers with an insightful (and sometimes humor filled) perspective of what an Alzheimer’s patient experiences. From the earliest stages of forgetfulness to full blown cognitive decline, Anna’s journey is heartbreakingly realistic as she gradually loses the basic skills of everyday life. Her romance with Luke brings up interesting questions about a dementia sufferer’s ability to fall in love and fully participate in all aspects of a relationship. Anna’s deterioration is sensitively and accurately portrayed and her sense of humor helps keep the story from becoming overly maudlin or sentimental.

The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth is a poignant yet incredibly uplifting novel with a wonderful cast of lovable characters. The two story arcs are quite appealing and while Anna’s storyline has the most personal meaning to me, I enjoyed watching Eve and Clementine work through the aftermath of their personal tragedy.

A beautifully written novel that is heartfelt and engaging, I highly recommend The Things We Keep to readers of all ages.

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Filed under Contemporary, Rated A, Review, Sally Hepworth, St Martin's Press, The Things We Keep, Women's Fiction