Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Book Review: Mother Knows Best

I think we all know someone who is struggling with infertility so I tried to keep that in mind while I read this. If you like crazy thrillers that make you think, question your ethics, and puts you in a position where you're not really sure where you'd fall? Here's your next read.

Mother Knows Best - Kira Peikoff

Claire Abrams’s dreams became a nightmare when she passed on a genetic mutation that killed her little boy. Now she wants a second chance to be a mother, and finds it in Robert Nash, a maverick fertility doctor who works under the radar with Jillian Hendricks, a cunning young scientist bent on making her mark—and seducing her boss.

Claire, Robert, and Jillian work together to create the world’s first baby with three genetic parents—an unprecedented feat that could eliminate inherited disease. But when word of their illegal experiment leaks to the wrong person, Robert escapes into hiding with the now-pregnant Claire, leaving Jillian to serve out a prison sentence that destroys her future.

Ten years later, a spunky girl named Abigail begins to understand that all is not right with the reclusive man and woman she knows as her parents. But the family’s problems are only beginning. Jillian, hardened by a decade of jealousy and loss, has returned—and nothing will stop her from reuniting with the man and daughter who should have been hers. Past, present—and future converge in a mesmerizing psychological thriller from acclaimed bestselling author Kira Peikoff. 

I went into this book with a pretty unclear idea of where I stand with genetically modified babies. I mean, that sounds strange and I'm not sure if it's an accurate description of the situation. Here we have Claire, who after the death of her beloved son, is desperate to have another child but she knows with her genetic mutation that likely would be passed down to her next child and end in a similar circumstance, she isn't optimistic. Her husband things she's too cautious and eagerly wants to try again. She finally agrees, under the condition they do it under Dr. Robert Nash.

Her husband isn't a fan because he has serious doubts on the legality of his practices, but is certain his ethics aren't where they should be but he agrees because he wants a child as well and if this is the way to do it, he's willing to do it. Claire, on the other hand, has an ulterior motive. She knows (through a private Facebook group for women struggling with infertility) that Robert Nash has been experimenting with a process that would use eggs from two different women but the sperm of one man- thus producing a child with three parents. While this sounds very bizarre, it would give Claire the opportunity to carry her child without the fear that her genetic mutation would manifest itself later on. They would all keep it a secret. Claire would have her baby, Dr. Nash would have his critical research, and his assistant (the second egg donor) Jillian would make history.

Except it all goes to hell because this blurs the edges of ethics but it's also incredibly illegal. Jillian is left holding the bag while Dr. Nash and Claire disappear into the ether.

Until Abby, Claire's teenage daughter, participates in a science project at school involving DNA and finds missing relatives to connect with. One of them is a long lost "cousin" of her mom's and she sets up a surprise family reunion but the cousin is really Jillian.

Everything starts imploding and secrets come out.

Claire is effectively losing her mind (or is she?), Abby is digging around and uncovering the past without any idea of the consequence of the future, and Jillian is completely unhinged. I could not be more serious- but she is so unhinged even I am completely blown away at how crazy she is.

The entire story starts unraveling quickly, Jillian's prison time, stolen sperm, kidnapping, I mean- this story legitimately has everything. I had such a hard time putting this book down because every time I thought things would kind of mellow out, something even more insane would happen. If you know me in real life you know I often say, "No wait, it gets worse.." and that's the best way to describe this book.

I will say I am still conflicted on how I feel about the process this book describes. I can see both angles of it and it seems like the only way you can really form an opinion and understand it is by being in it yourself. It definitely gave me something to think about long after I finished the book.

I always seem to read a lot of thrillers in the fall and I'm really glad this is the one to kick that off this year. Absolutely 5 stars.

A huge thank you to Crooked Lane Books and Meryl Moss Media for my ARC! This post contains affiliate links as well. 


Beth (Coffee Until Cocktails) said...

I'm really interested in reading this, it sounds like an even darker version of Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner. I like books that kind of get in your head so to speak. Adding this to my TBR!

Shooting Stars Mag said...

ooh definitely seems like a good one for the Fall season. Lots of twists and turns!! Thanks for sharing - glad you loved it.