The Mother’s Promise

the mothers promiseWith every book, Sally Hepworth becomes more and more known for her searing emotional portraits of families—and the things that test their bonds. In The Mother’s Promise, she delivers her most powerful novel yet: the story of a single mother who is dying, the troubled teenaged daughter who is battling her own demons, and the two women who come into their lives at the most critical moment.

Alice and her daughter Zoe have been a family of two all their lives. Zoe has always struggled with crippling social anxiety and her mother has been her constant and fierce protector. With no family to speak of, and the identity of Zoe’s father shrouded in mystery, their team of two works—until it doesn’t. Until Alice gets sick and is given a grim prognosis.

Desperate to find stability for Zoe, Alice reaches out to two women who are practically strangers, but who are her only hope: Kate, her oncology nurse, and Sonja, a social worker. As the four of them come together, a chain of events is set into motion and all four of them must confront their sharpest fears and secrets—secrets about abandonment, abuse, estrangement, and the deepest longing for family. Imbued with heart and humor in even the darkest moments, The Mother’s Promise is an unforgettable novel about the power of love and forgiveness.



The Mother’s Promise by Sally Hepworth is a heartbreaking story about survival, love of family, and necessity of friendship.  Alice is a single mother to Zoe.  It has been only the two of them for the last fifteen years.  Her only other family is her brother who happens to be a drunk.

Alice and Zoe are inseparable.  Because of Zoe’s severe social anxiety, she has one friend other than her mother.  So when Alice is diagnosed with ovarian cancer, the silent killer, she knows she has to make a plan.

Kate is Alice’s nurse.  They meet for the first time on the day of Alice’s diagnosis.  Kate is nurturing, selfless and kind-hearted.  She and her husband are dealing with unsuccessful infertility treatments.  The only thing Kate wants is a baby of her own, but her husband dies inside each time he witnesses his wife’s heartbreak.

Sonja is the social worker.  She is called in by Kate to support Alice through her surgery and chemotherapy.  Sonja is fabulous at her job, but she makes some mistakes in the beginning when working with Alice causing some friction in their friendship.

This story is gorgeous.  At times it becomes quite busy:  three characters, three separate lives that intertwine.  All three women are cluttered with emotional baggage that becomes intense.  I actually caught myself begging the characters to work through their difficulties for everyone’s sake on several different occasions.  This is definitely an emotional read that I will recommend to my friends.

4/5 stars

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