Friday 13 September 2019


Title: Mother Know Best
Author: Kira Peikoff
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Release Date: 10th September 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
A mother’s worst nightmare, a chance at redemption, and a deadly secret that haunts a family across the generations.

There’s only room for one mother in this family.

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.



It was the cover of the book that originally caught my attention, the long red-haired plait, coupled with the title “Mother Knows Best” just made me curious. Then I read the blurb which had me even more curious! The genre is a bit different to my usual ones that I read but something about this book just held my attention.

The book begins by introducing Abby with her cool, glacier ice eyes, freckled nose and shiny red hair. The redness of Abby’s hair upsets her mother Claire, even more so since a stranger once made an offhand comment of, Are you sure she is your daughter? Since then it has obviously played on Claire’s mind. Then Claire goes on to describe their annual trip to the Natural History Museum. They go every year as a way to remember Colton, who was Claire’s son who sadly died due to a hereditary genetic condition. To be honest Claire has never really gotten over the loss of her son Colton, who would have been twenty one. They don’t go on outings to busy or crowded places normally, as Abby’s parents, Claire and Michael have a secret that they don’t want any one to discover. If found out it could mean prison for Claire and Michael, then who would care for Abby. Usually Abby isn’t overly excited for the Natural History Museum but this year she can’t seem to get there quick enough. When Abby reminds them of the school project Map DNA and that she has spoken someone online who is related to them via the site, both parents panic.

The book then goes back to the past to tell us the story of how Abby’s birth came about. Originally Claire was married to Colton’s father Ethan, after losing Colton they decide to try for another baby via IVF. Though Ethan disagrees with the genetic research and experiments that Dr Robert Nash does, he eventually gives in to Claire choosing him to help them. Though unbeknownst to Ethan a deal is struck between, Dr Robert Nash, Jillian Hendricks his scientific researcher and mum to be Claire. What the trio decide to do is unheard of, in fact some would say should never be done, no matter what the circumstance. Dr Nash creates a child using the genetics of one father, Ethan and two mothers, Claire and Gillian. Dr Nash and Jillian remove the hereditary part of the gene from which Colton died. Ethan is totally oblivious to the genetic engineering that is happening. Ethan simply thinks that eggs are being tested and the best one is being used in the IVF. Everything seems to be going well with Claire’s pregnancy until, Ethan finds Claire secretly messaging Dr Nash and jumps to the wrong conclusion thinking his wife has been having an affair with him. Which isn’t true as Dr Nash and Jillian Hendricks are in a relationship, though Jillian see’s more of a future in it than the Dr does. Claire ends up telling Ethan the whole truth about the experimental genetic experiment and being in the medical field he reports what has happened. In a panic as she flees from her home, Claire calls Dr Nash to warn him and Jillian but they are arrested. A date for the trial is set and things don’t look good for the scientific geniuses. When Claire becomes ill, once again she calls on Dr Nash and after some squabbling with Jillian he goes to Claire’s aid. Time goes on in the hideaway home that Claire and Dr Nash are in and just as he should return for his court date Claire goes into labour so he stays with her. Leaving Jillian Hendricks to take to the stand in court alone. Jillian is sent to prison, though she vows she will find Claire, Dr Nash and the baby the three of them created.

There comes a point in the book that Michael and Claire have to explain and reveal the details of the experimental genetic procedure to Abby. They had always planned on telling the unique child but perhaps when she was much older herself. Things take a drastic turn for the worse and Abby ends up reaching and receiving help from an unlikely source.

Jillian is the “evil genius” character in the book that I guess you could say causes all the trouble and strife. It is her scientific ambition and the way she urges on Dr Nash that is a decisive factor within the genetic engineering done. Then you also kind of feel sorry for her, she loves Dr Nash and though she agrees he should go help Claire, she truly trusts he will return to her and they will continue with their relationship until the trial. Jillian expects them to stand united in court, to end up being lauded as the first geniuses to come up with the techniques of ruling out hereditary conditions. Jillian is even expecting Dr Nash to come rushing into the court to rescue her at the last minute, but instead he stays hidden away with Claire and their genetically engineered baby. Jillian see’s Claire as having everything. In her mind Claire has taken both her man and their baby! I think Claire and Jillian were both desperate, and slightly flawed by life characters. In other circumstances they perhaps could even have been friends.

As a woman that has lost a child via late term miscarriage, I felt I could to an extent identify with Claire and Ethan’s desperation for another child, yet at the same time being afraid it could all happen again. The way they couldn’t bear thinking about losing another child. Would I have gone as far with all the genetic engineering behind the back of the father, I don’t think so. Though unless you are in that exact position how can you really know? I think perhaps if Claire had been honest with Ethan he may have eventually come around to the idea of the genetic engineering and interference as he looked at it.

The book is revealed with alternating sections of past that covers creating Abby, and the present with Claire and Michael worried as to who this relative is that Abby has contacted, could it be that Jillian is back for revenge? All this makes for a thrilling read and keeps you on the edge of your seat. All the careful secrecy, staying hidden away and it’s a school project that brings their secret out into the open. However just when you think it’s all over, there’s another super twist in the whole genetic engineering experiment revealed, as well as the past and present coming crashing together. This book really kept you guessing right to the end. I had a couple of times I wondered if I would read all way to the end of the book but after the first third of it, I really didn’t want to put it down. It’s also one of those books where you wonder if it’s ever really happened. Is there already an “Abby” out there some-where. The book also had me thinking about any possible side effects or problems the genetically engineered children would or could suffer in their future lives.

My immediate thoughts upon finishing this book were that I found this book to be such an interesting look at genetics and what can happen when someone is so desperate for a healthy child that ethical lines become blurred. I loved the brilliant twist in part four.
A lot of people/characters in the book eventually end up having to rethink their stance on the ethics and practices of genetic engineering. It is extremely easy to judge and make a decision when there are no parental emotions involved. 

So to sum up if you like a thought provoking read, then this one should be on your “to read” list.

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