Published by Crooked Lane Books on September 10, 2019
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Medical, Domestic, Psychological
Source: Purchased Book
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One of POPSUGAR’s Top 15 Medical Thrillers One of REAL SIMPLE’s 35 Chilling Psychological Thrillers
A mother’s worst nightmare, a chance at redemption, and a deadly secret that haunts a family across the generations—“the psychological thriller everyone will be talking about” (Lisa Scottaline)
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.
Past, present, and future converge in this mesmerizing psychological thriller from critically acclaimed author Kira Peikoff.
Mother Knows Best highlights just what happens when obsession drives ulterior motives. It was a story that I enjoyed but certain aspects irritated me. It’s fiction, yes, and sometimes you have to suspend disbelief when reading it, even so, a lot made me say “really?” The characters were well-developed, and their backstories played a significant role in the unfolding storyline. However, Jillian’s decisions were misguided and seemed to fall out with her scope of intelligence. I’m not saying we can’t make rash decisions occasionally, but she was always one step ahead in the game.
So, we have the difficult theme of child loss. Clare, the main protagonist is dealing with the fallout from the death of her beloved son, who died at eight years old from mitochondrial disease which was passed down from Clare. She and her husband were left devastated by the death in which they tried to conceive another child. Each month passes and all they have to show for their efforts is a stark white test. Clare can’t bring herself to lose another child to the catastrophic disease she carries and wills some kind of solution to present itself when suddenly it does…
Robert Nash is a genius fertility doctor and between him and his assistant, Jillian has discovered a way of stitching an embryo together to eliminate Mitochondrial disease in the developing embryo. They’ve taken the mother’s healthy egg and nucleus stitched it with the mitochondrial donor and fertilised it with healthy sperm. It’s quite frankly ground-breaking. But, it is also highly illegal, with the supreme court deeming that no one should alter embryonic cells. One man who has interfered with Dr. Nash’s career and views is Clare’s husband, Ethan, who heads up the ethics department at Columbia University.
Jillian really is the wild card. She is an absolute nutter. She works under Doctor Nash and has the confidence and brash personality to really push this experiment forward. She is also obsessed with Robert. There’s a big age gap between them but this doesn’t seem to bother her. She seduces him with her good looks and her devil-may-care attitude. She knows this experiment could mean their careers skyrocketing. So, what does she do? She signs up for an online forum called mitomoms and poses as a mom that’s child has mitochondrial disease and lays the foundations that lead Clare to seek out the procedure from Robert Nash. It has dire consequences for all involved.
The result is that Clare falls pregnant with a little girl. Both she and Ethan are over the moon, they’ve finally done it. But after suspecting that his wife has been having an affair with Robert, Clare has to come clean about the entire procedure. Ethan is fuming, absolutely livid. He throws Clare out at 32 weeks pregnant and reports Robert Nash to the FDA. It then becomes a circus.
I did like Mother Knows Best, but I felt that Jillian was the one that made me really question her motives. It also blew my mind that a child could feasibly have three parents instead of the traditional mum and dad. It was a story with heart, grief and redemption.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kira Peikoff is a graduate of New York University with a degree in journalism. She also holds a Master of Science degree in bioethics from Columbia University. Her articles have been published in a variety of major media outlets, including The New York Times.
Since 2017, she has been the Editor-in-Chief of leapsmag, a digital publication that covers innovation and ethics in the life sciences for a mainstream audience. Peikoff lives in New Jersey with her husband, son, and the world’s cutest dog.
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