Blythe Connor comes from a family of broken mother-daughter relationships, spurred by the ravages of mental illness. But Blythe is determined that she and her new baby girl, Violet, will be different – she will be the warm, comforting, supportive mother she never had.
But in the thick of motherhood’s exhausting early days, Blythe doesn’t find the connection with her daughter she expected. In search of an explanation, she convinces herself that something is wrong with Violet – she’s distant, rejects affection, and starts to behave maliciously towards Blythe and the children at preschool. Or is it all in Blythe’s head? Her growing obsession with Violet’s unusual behavior quickly causes friction in her marriage to Fox, her eminently rational architect husband who doesn’t see in Violet what Blythe sees. Blythe begins to question if she’s right about Violet’s malevolence, or if it’s simply a manifestation of her anxiety about her family’s difficult maternal past.
The birth of her second child, Sam, offers a new opportunity for Blythe to experience the blissful side of motherhood she longs for. But her worst fears are realized when her infant son dies in a tragic accident, and Blythe is convinced Violet is responsible. Blythe’s and Fox’s marriage is pushed to the limits in the aftermath of Sam’s death. The devastating fall-out forces Blythe to face the truth about herself, her past, and her daughter.View book
Press and Reviews
“Audrain nimbly stokes the mystery as to whether nature or nurture is at play in Violet's increasingly hostile disposition. Executed with gripping precision. ”
“A compelling, compulsively readable thriller that never lets up and will keep you guessing right to the very last page.”
“Reminiscent of We Need to Talk About Kevin, Ashley Audrain has delivered a provocative, compulsive novel about modern motherhood.”
“Ashley dares us to find the relatable in the worst we can imagine . . . the knife-edge between relatability and horror keeps the reader hooked.”
“An inventive twist on the psychological thriller formula . . . Audrain sustains the suspense expertly through assured handling of her unravelling protagonist's voice.”
“A gripping debut that explores and manipulates the fears and insecurities of mothers everywhere . . . Well thought out, vividly realised and gripping.”