Joshilyn Jackson rose to heights with her last release, Never Have I Ever. It was like everyone I knew was reading it or trying to get their hands on it. Jackson had published eight novels before Never Have I Ever, but she gained notice from her first attempt at the thriller genre. She’s hit it out of the park again with her newest psychological thriller, Mother May I.
Bree Cabbat married up. Her husband, Trey, is a big-time lawyer who came from a family of privilege and wealth. Bree herself did not, but she’s adapted to her new role of Stepford wife, tending to her two daughters and newborn son.
One morning, Bree awakens to see a witch standing outside her bedroom window. She dismisses it until her son is taken at her daughter’s school play rehearsal as her back is turned. The mysterious witch woman leaves a note telling Bree to follow her instructions — not to call the police or her husband and follow her directions, no questions asked, to see her son back home safe again.
As Bree traverses every mother’s worst nightmare, secrets begin to emerge from the past — ones that threaten her family, her relationship, and her morals.
Jackson is a master of pacing, forcing the reader to hang on her every written word. We race to find out the mysterious abductor’s motive and whether Bree will rescue her newborn son in one piece. The characters are multi-dimensional, and act as one might in real life if this scenario became true. One pet peeve of mine in thrillers, whether domestic or not, is when characters behave in ways I do not find to be true to real life. Jackson makes sure her characters traverse situations exactly like you or I would. We feel connected to Bree, desperate as she is, our breath hitched in our sternum.
While the secret that lies at the center of the abduction is a predictable one, the reveal is not as important as Bree’s motherly journey to save her child. We feel Bree’s pain and experience her desire for her son’s safety as if he is our own.
I have seen some reviews that find the ending gets a bit too preachy, which I can more than understand. However, the ending aligns with Bree as a character, as we do live through her experiences for most of the novel.
I read this novel in 24 hours. I couldn’t put it down, and I couldn’t stop thinking about Bree.
Visit Jackson’s website to purchase any of her novels.(4 / 5)