Today, I am happy to be a part of the blog tour (This tour is sponsored by the publisher Sourcebooks) for What A Mother Knows by Leslie Lehr. This is an engaging story about a woman who comes back from the brink of death, only to find her whole life has fallen apart, and the worst thing is that her eighteen year daughter ran away. It is a terrifying thought to think of your child out alone somewhere in the world, and it presents the question: What would you do to recover your child? I have Leslie here to answer a few short interview questions. Be sure to check out the rest of the tour and enter the giveaway!
Here is Leslie's bio:
Award-winning author of 66 Laps and Wife Goes On, Leslie Lehr’s essays have appeared in the anthology Mommy Wars, The Honeymoon’s Over,and Arianna Huffington’s On Becoming Fearless. She was the screenwriter for a romantic thriller Heartless, which is screening in Europe, and sold the script “Club Divorce” to Lifetime. She has a BA from the USC School of Cinematic Arts and an MFA from Antioch. She lives in Santa Monica with her husband and two daughters. You can find out more about Leslie on her website, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.
Here is my interview with Leslie:
How did you come up with the idea for What A Mother Knows?
When my daughter was in middle school, she started crying at night, every night - and I
felt so helpless. I imagined the worst. I wrote an essay called “Parenting Paranoia” that Arianna Huffington excerpted in her book, On Becoming Fearless. But I was still afraid.
Then I had jury duty on a manslaughter case in which two women were suing the driver of a car that crashed into a sports bar and killed their sons. We had to decide on the value of their loss. And so, in the worst of what-ifs, I started worrying about what my daughter’s value was to me, who I was without her…and how far would I go to protect her.
What kind of research did you do on brain injury and memory loss? What was the most interesting thing you uncovered?
I consulted with a specialist in Traumatic Brain Injury who runs the Semel Institute at UCLA. I also did a lot of research on the web and read studies from facilities across the country. Then, when Gaby Gifford was injured, there was even more information available.
My opinion of Michelle wavered throughout, at first I was very sympathetic toward her, but by the end not so much. What were your feelings toward Michelle by the end of the book?
I was a bit frustrated with Drew. Why did he never want to sit down and discuss everything with his wife? Did his behavior stem from things that occurred before the accident or after?
Where do you think Michelle will go from here? Do you think she will put back the pieces and become a much better person than she was before?
That’s a good question. I hope she will relax a bit and learn to enjoy the moment. She has a lot of options to explore. It could be another book.
What are some of your recommendations for summer reads?
What do you enjoy most about being an author?
I enjoy answering thoughtful questions like these, when someone has really read your book. There are so many layers and details that go into the writing – it’s a real gift to explore them with someone who cares. So thank you!
Thanks so much, Leslie, for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions, especially while you are undergoing chemotherapy! My best wishes are prayers are with you for a speedy recovery. Best of luck with your release! For one lucky U.S. resident there is a chance to win a copy of What A Mother Knows thanks to the good folks at Sourcebooks who are sponsoring this giveaway. To enter fill out the Rafflecopter See Contest Policies for details.. Good Luck!
Be sure to check the rest of the stops on the tour. Here is the full schedule:
April 29 - Crochet Nirvana
May 1 - Chick Lit is Not Dead
May 2 - Bookfoolery
May 3 - The Bookworm
May 4 - Lori's Reading Corner
May 5 - The Self Taught Cook
May 6 - Mrs Condit Reads Books
May 7 - From the TBR Pile
May 8 - Cocktails and Books
May 9 - Burton Book Review
May 10 - Chick Lit Plus
May 12 - The Book Diva’s Reads
May 13 - Peeking Between the Pages
May 14 - Long and Short Reviews
May 15 - Rainy Day Ramblings
May 16 - Help4NewMoms
May 17 - Winey Mommy
May 18 - Cozy Up with a Good Read
May 20 - A Bookish Way of Life
May 21 – Confessions of a Book Junkie
May 22 - 5 Minutes for Mom
May 23 - Angela Klocke
May 24 - WeeShare
May 26 - Brianna Lee
May 28 - Reading Shelf
May 29 - Socrates Book Reviews
May 31 - Passionate about Booksa Rafflecopter giveaway
Here is my review:
What A Mother Knows by Leslie Lehr
An unsettling, emotional and suspenseful novel of the unshakable bonds of motherhood, in which Michelle Mason not only loses her memory after a deadly car crash, but can't find her 16-year-old daughter, the one person who may know what happened that day. But the deeper Michelle digs, the more she questions the innocence of everyone, even herself. A dramatic portrayal of the fragile skin of memory, What a Mother Knows is about finding the truth that can set love free.
Paperback, 384 pages
Published: May 1st 2013 by Sourcebooks
Source: Publisher/Netgalley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review
Three and a half Stars: An unsettling tale about memory loss.
Michelle wobbles as she takes the last steps to her house. At last, after eighteen months in the hospital, she is returning home to her family and friends. A horrific car crash put her in a coma. She wasn't expected to survive, but she did! The only drawback is her memory of the events of that day and those leading up to it are swept clean. As Michelle attempts to settle into her former life, some unsettling and frightening truths come forth, the biggest one being that her now eighteen year daughter is not in Australia studying abroad as her husband told her. Nikki is instead missing, and no one is sure of her whereabouts. Michelle's fragile world shatters. She is determined that she will find her daughter at whatever cost. How far will Michelle go to find her daughter?
What I Liked;
- The first half of this book is riveting. I was completely caught up in Michelle's desperate story. She, in the beginning, comes across as very sympathetic. I felt so sorry for her as I watched her stumble and falter trying to regain her footing. Not only did she almost die, but she sustained devastating injuries such as the loss of movement in her arm and memory loss. Just when she was looking forward to a bit of peace and happiness, she is barraged with some harsh and disturbing truths. The worst being the disappearance of her daughter. My heart went out to her at this point, since I am a mother. I can't imagine the horror of not knowing where your child is. The beginning of the story totally sucked me in!
- I liked watching everything unravel as Michelle again and again discovers some big secrets. It was certainly shocking from one revelation to the next, and honestly I never knew what was coming. There were certainly some startling twists in this one! The suspense kept me totally on edge, and I was thinking about the story between reads.
- At the heart of the story is Michelle's unwavering, unconditional love for her lost daughter. Even though some of her decisions frustrated me at times, I had to admire her fierce resolve and drive to find her daughter at any cost. I know as a mother, I would go to the ends of the earth to find one of my children if they were missing. I liked that the love for her child was such an important aspect of the story.
- I was relieved to see that the ending drew to a satisfactory close. Michelle in a way redeems herself, and I was glad to see that she finds closure and got a somewhat happy ending after all the drama. It is always nice to read a book that has a solid ending without a jarring cliffhanger or an open/ determine your own ending.
And The Not So Much:
- During the first half of the story, I felt very sympathetic toward Michelle, but as the plot wore on, I grew increasingly frustrated with her and her decisions. I thought at times she was a bit selfish, and I didn't like the way she treated her son and her husband. Some of her antics were very questionable, such as considering a big movie deal and her relationship with her doctor. At the end during her trial, I was also a bit shocked at her choice. After all that,though, she does redeem herself with her donation and her reconciliation with her mother. I liked that this led to a warm, feel good ending.
- Drew, Michelle's husband, frustrated me to no end. I could not believe his behavior and understand his motives for constantly lying to his wife. I hated that they not once sat down after her return from the hospital and had a frank discussion about everything that had happened during her recovery. Instead he continually ignores her and tells her to rest. I would liked to have understood his motives better, and I never got that. Furthermore, I hated the way everything played out between them. I didn't understand if his behavior stemmed from events that transpired between them before the accident or if they came while Michelle was in the hospital.
- There were a few times when I felt that the uncovering of a clue was a bit of a stretch. This isn't a big deal, just an observation.
- The second half didn't grasp my attention as much as the first, and I blame that on my lack of sympathy toward Michelle. While I was totally vested in her well being and such the first portion, when she starts to make some questionable decisions, I started disliking her, and this led to me not staying as engaged in the book.
What a Mother Knows is an interesting book that explores the devastating aftermath of a women who survives a near life ending car crash and suffers memory loss. Just when it seems her life will steer back on course, everything falls apart as she learns everything that transpired during her convalescence. Now she is faced with the fact that her daughter is missing, and Michelle will stop at nothing to find her. This brings up the terrifying question: Just how far would you go to recover your child?
"She used to think that the worst thing that could happen, to have Nikki working at McDonald's."
"She thought of Nikki again, still, always. Was she watching the same sunset? Or was she on a different patch of the planet, where the day was done and the stars were winking down at her?"
"Did she really love this man, or did she love the idea of him? Was this painful longing one loss, or just plain loneliness?"
I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.