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    A good, fast read!

    Sally Hepworth knows just what buttons to push to bring tears to your eyes and contentment to your heart. Set in Australia, The Mother-in-Law is a compelling tale of family, all the things that draw a family together, and those missteps that pull them apart. Told in the first person voices of Lucy Goodwin and her mother-in-law Diana, with traveling snippets from the past interposed in the present, this is a story that is very difficult to step away from. The protagonists in this novel aren't all compassionate, or empathetic, or even honest. But they are all captivating and flaws are what makes us all human. Tom started his adult life as a plumber and as soon as he begins pulling in cash with realty investments, Diana set up a charity to help unwed mothers bear and keep their babies, and fit into their world as a self-sufficient single parent. She also works with refugees who need help with medical care and midwifery. The elder Goodwins have had a full life, been very lucky in their choices and live very comfortably. Tom loves to tease the second generation about what they will do with that fortune in time. Diana insists passionately that the kids must make it on their own, that they have to learn to depend only on themselves. Tom often loans them money behind her back. Their son Ollie is married to Lucy and with his partner, Eamon, has a shaky headhunter business, a modern but middle-class home, and three children. Despite an IT degree and experience in the human resources field, Lucy is a stay at home mom. Daughter Nettie is married to Patrick and despite years of miscarriages and expensive IVF, Nettie is not able to carry a child to term. It has become an obsession with her. She does not see that her husband Patrick is a lazy womanizer, just hanging on until Nettie comes into her half of the Goodwin fortune. Diana sees it all too well. And then Tom is diagnosed with advanced ALS. He is gone much too fast. Eamon is siphoning cash out of Ollie's company, so no matter how hard he works he can't get ahead. And Nettie's doctors tell her that with her history and the fact that she will soon be 40 there is no sense in more in-vitro fertilization. Nettie decides to go with a donated egg and surrogate mother - she WILL have a child. It is all she ever wanted. If Diana will just loan her the massive piles of cash that will cost. Everything could end differently if Diana were able to show affection or explain her harsh decisions to the kids. But she can't seem to do that. If something doesn't change and fast, this family will fall apart. Or maybe it is already too late... I received a free electronic copy of this novel from Netgalley, Sally Hepworth, and St. Martin's Press. I have read and reviewed this novel of my own volition. This assessment of this work reflects my honest opinion.

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