Then when I looked at the release date it was also on my birthday, so yet another sign/reason to read it too! I was also super lucky to be accepted to read an e-arc of the book via Netgalley! If you love a mystery to keep you on the edge of your seat, that also has a futuristic, dystopian element to it then this book is for you!
Title: The Mother Fault
Author: Kate Mildenhall
Publisher: Harpercollins UK, Harper Fiction
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Release Date: 8th July 2021
BLURB from Goodreads
Mim’s husband is missing. No one knows where Ben is, but everyone wants to find him – especially The Department. And they should know, the all-seeing government body has fitted the entire population with a universal tracking chip to keep them ‘safe’.
But suddenly Ben can’t be tracked. And Mim is questioned, made to surrender her passport and threatened with the unthinkable – her two children being taken into care at the notorious BestLife.
Cornered, Mim risks everything to go on the run to find her husband – and a part of herself, long gone, that is brave enough to tackle the journey ahead.
From the stark backroads of the Australian outback to a terrifying sea voyage, Mim is forced to shuck off who she was – mother, daughter, wife, sister – and become the woman she needs to be to save her family and herself.
There are two different covers for this book and if I am being totally honest the cover I absolutely adore, is the UK Harpercollins cover that has orange tones on it. (The one I have used in this review) I would definitely pick this book up from a book store shelf to learn more about it with this cover! As for genre, the ones listed are mystery, thriller which I certainly agree with, but would also add speculative fiction, dystopian, suspense and futuristic to that list. It’s dystopian with a different twist.
I love the silhouette of Mim, her children and their car on the cover. Then there’s the byline of To Keep Her Children Safe, She Must Put Their Lives In Danger which fits the rather drastic actions that Mim has to take when she receives the veiled threat of her children being taken away from her.
The world created in this book is ruled by “The Department” everyone has a chip fitted so there whereabouts can always be tracked. Those with addictions are taken into rehab units, and have their lives managed, being told when to eat, exercise and control contact with the resident’s families and friends. If children are taken into care they are put into the “Best Life” system where they are given the “perfect diet, exercise regime and schooling. Once in either of these systems it is both difficult and rare to leave them. The Department also controls the small amount of news that people can have as well as making it mandatory for everyone to know a minimum amount of news everyone is expected to know.
I felt almost immediately hooked into this book. It had me questioning if there was so much advanced technology why couldn’t Ben be tracked easily? But things are much more complicated in this advanced, futuristic world. The world building is really clever and interesting, and it keeps you reading on and on into the night!
Ben works for an important company called GeoTech and has basically disappeared and despite all the available technology cannot be tracked. Mim is naturally upset and confused as to where her husband could be. Things become even more serious when she is literally interrogated and has to hand over her own passport and her childrens too. When Mim shows signs of stress those in power offer to take her children into the care system called “Best Life.” Mim panics and goes to the one place she knows can help her go “off grid,” her best friend Heidi. Heidi helps her friend in the best way she can making them as untraceable as possible, removing their chips and advising Mim to use only cash etc. The only place/person Mim can go to for cash is her mum, who lives on the same property as her brother. When she arrives it quickly becomes apparent her brother is not pleased to see her and is happy when she leaves upon discovering her friend Heidi has had an accident in a fire. . . .was it purely an accident or something much more sinister. When on an impulse Mim ends up driving to a place she went on holiday as a child, meeting up with a guy she had a crush/fling with when she was much younger, it turns out he can help her get over the ocean to search for her missing husband. Within the close quarter of the boat old feeling rise to the surface and they once again find themselves drawn to each other.
My immediate thoughts upon finishing this book were that it was an action packed read that at times, had you on the edge of your seat wondering where Mim & her children were going to end up.
Summing up I felt there wasn’t a “final end” to the book, so I am wondering if that means there could be a bk2….or is that just how it all ends. The ending of the book sort of left me wanting more of the loose ends tying off. Having said all that I did really enjoy reading the book and would certainly check out other books by this author.
Kate Mildenhall is a writer and teacher, who lives on the outskirts of Melbourne with her young family. She has taught in schools, at RMIT University and State Library Victoria, and volunteered with Teachers Across Borders in Cambodia. Her debut novel, SKYLARKING, was published in Australia by Black Inc. in 2016 and in the UK by Legend Press in 2017. Skylarking was longlisted for the Voss Literary Prize 2017 and the Indie Book Awards 2017.
Kate has received residencies at Varuna, the Writers House and at Bundanon.
With friend and author Katherine Collette, Kate co-hosts The First Time podcast, a podcast about the first time you publish a book.