Book club questions for The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth covers all the twists and reveals in this domestic thriller. There will be spoilers so for more context about the story, check out my spoiler-free review first.
This is one twisty read! While I was a bit disappointed by the ending, I really liked the character development in this story. I wish more thrillers would add in this kind of depth to their stories.
Here’s a quick and fun interview on Good Morning America with the author Sally Hepworth:
Here’s the synopsis:
From the moment Lucy met her husband’s mother, she knew she wasn’t the wife Diana had envisioned for her perfect son. Exquisitely polite, friendly, and always generous, Diana nonetheless kept Lucy at arm’s length despite her desperate attempts to win her over. And as a pillar in the community, an advocate for female refugees, and a woman happily married for decades, no one had a bad word to say about Diana…except Lucy.
That was five years ago.
Now, Diana is dead, a suicide note found near her body claiming that she longer wanted to live because of the cancer wreaking havoc inside her body.
But the autopsy finds no cancer.
It does find traces of poison, and evidence of suffocation.
Who could possibly want Diana dead? Why was her will changed at the eleventh hour to disinherit both of her children, and their spouses? And what does it mean that Lucy isn’t exactly sad she’s gone?
Book Club Questions for The Mother-in-Law
- We read the story from the perspectives of Lucy and Diana—both in the past and present. Why do you think it was important for us to read both of their perspectives?
- Diana is impressed with Lucy at the beginning and seems to believe that she’s the kind of woman who just got everything easily. Why do you think Diana was so hard on Lucy to begin with?
- There’s a lot of missed opportunities and also just plain misspeaking when it comes to Diana and Lucy. Let’s talk about how their relationship could have been more different, and better, if they were able to actually communicate more.
- While it seems that Diana committed suicide because of cancer, the autopsy reports that there’s no cancer. But there’s evidence of suffocation. Who did you think murdered Diana? Did you think Lucy had something to do with it?
- Why do you think Diana was so tough on her children and didn’t want to give them money?
- Lucy and Diana have quite the volatile relationship, which comes to head, when Lucy pushes Diana in the hospital after her daughter’s accident. Let’s talk about the impact of this scene.
- So in the video the author Sally Hepworth mentions that she has a great relationship with her mother-in-law so it doesn’t seem to be the influence for this novel. Why do you think the dynamic between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law can be complicated? How does your mother-in-law compare to Diana?
- After Diana’s husband Tom dies, Diana goes through a deep depression and is determined to commit suicide. Why did she ask Lucy for help? What were the key factors to change her mind about killing herself?
- Throughout the story we learn more about how obsessed Nettie was in becoming a mother. Were you surprised Nettie was the one to murder her mother or did you see it coming? Why did she do it?
- What did you think about the ending with Lucy and Ollie starting the recruiting company that Diana had suggested?
- What were some of the key themes that you picked up on?
What to Read Next
Hope you enjoyed book club questions for The Mother-in-Law! Here are some more recommendations along with links to book club questions.
You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
Shay Miller wants to find love, but it eludes her. She wants to be fulfilled, but her job is a dead end. She wants to belong, but her life is increasingly lonely.
Until Shay meets the Moore sisters. Cassandra and Jane live a life of glamorous perfection, and always get what they desire. When they invite Shay into their circle, everything seems to get better.
Shay would die for them to like her.
She may have to.
The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica
Sadie and Will Foust have only just moved their family from bustling Chicago to small-town Maine when their neighbor Morgan Baines is found dead in her home. The murder rocks their tiny coastal island, but no one is more shaken than Sadie.
But it’s not just Morgan’s death that has Sadie on edge. And as the eyes of suspicion turn toward the new family in town, Sadie is drawn deeper into the mystery of what really happened that dark and deadly night. But Sadie must be careful, for the more she discovers about Mrs. Baines, the more she begins to realize just how much she has to lose if the truth ever comes to light.