Review: Mother May I by Joshilyn Jackson


Title: Mother May I 

Author: Joshilyn Jackson

Published: 13th May 2021, Raven Books

Status: Read May 2021 courtesy Raven Books/Netgalley


My Thoughts:

Mother May I is a gripping, fast paced domestic thriller from Joshilyn Jackson.

“A note. Handwritten in large block print. IF YOU EVER WANT TO SEE YOUR BABY AGAIN, GO HOME—“

When Bree Cabbat realises her ten week old son has been abducted, the only thing she can think to do is exactly as the kidnapper demands in the note left for her. So she goes home, leaving her teen daughters with a friend, assuming Robert is being held for ransom given both her lawyer husband, Trey, and his family are conspicuously wealthy, feeling certain that once the demands are met her son will be returned safely to her. Waiting for Bree is a gift bag hanging from her front door, inside is a cell phone and a bottle of pills.

The phone rings and Bree learns the woman on the phone who has her son doesn’t want money, she claims to want justice. All she asks of Bree is to follow a few basic rules and complete a relatively simple task that will allow for redress against the man, Bree’s husband’s friend and colleague, who hurt her daughter, and then she’ll return Robert to her. But Bree soon realises the woman isn’t seeking justice, she wants revenge, and if Bree wants her son back, she will have to learn why he was taken, and decide how far she will go to ensure his return.

The kidnap of a child is an emotive hook, a nightmare scenario every mother has likely imagined. Through the first person narrative, Jackson nurtures our sympathy for Bree, appealing to our own protective instincts. From the moment Robert is taken we are on Bree’s side, eager for mother and son to be reunited, and quick to judge his abductor as an irredeemable human being. It’s not that simple of course, the woman who has taken Bree’s son is a mother too, and she is convinced she is granting her daughter justice. The ambiguity of her character, as we learn bits and pieces of her story, is challenging.

The themes of motherhood, justice and privilege are crucial elements of the story. Jackson explores questions about the lengths a mother will go to protect and defend her child, and where the line is drawn between justice and revenge. She exposes the disparity between the rich, who are so often insulated from their mistakes, and the poor who are not. She reveals the privilege of men who, in never facing the consequences for their actions, believe there are none for their victims.

Jackson introduces suspense from the first page of Mother May I, and it never fades as Bree fights for the life of her infant son. With the spectacular pacing, and steadily increasing tension I flew through the book. Though realism is a little elastic at times, I enjoyed the twists, willingly suspending disbelief where required.

Addictive, dramatic and thought-provoking, I found Mother May I to be a sharp and satisfying read, equal to her genre debut, Never Have I Ever.


Available from Bloomsbury Raven Books

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository I HiveUK I Indiebound

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jennifer
    May 23, 2021 @ 12:26:37

    Great review, Shelleyrae. This is on my reading list for later in the month and I’m looking forward to it.

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Anne - Books of My Heart
    May 24, 2021 @ 02:46:44

    I’ve thought about this one. Reading about it puts me on edge even. Terrific review!

    Liked by 1 person


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  4. sydneyeditor1
    May 26, 2021 @ 21:39:33

    Oh my, I need this on my TBR. It sounds fantastic, and the themes it tackles sound so good!

    Liked by 1 person


  5. RAnn
    May 30, 2021 @ 03:51:10

    This sounds great.



  6. Jasmine Zust
    Jun 05, 2021 @ 08:09:19

    This book was one recommended based on another book I read, The Last Thing He Told Me. Maybe I will check out this author. I have never heard of them!

    Liked by 1 person


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