‘WOULD YOU BELIEVE HER?’
– The Guilty Mother
[ About the Book]
Melissa Slade had it all: beauty, money, a successful husband and beautiful twin babies. But, in the blink of an eye, her perfect life became a nightmare – when she found herself on trial for the murder of her little girls.
Jonathan Hunt covered the original Slade Babies’ case for the local newspaper. Now that new evidence has come to light, Jon’s boss wants him back on the story to uncover the truth.
With Melissa’s appeal date looming, time is running out. And, as Jon gets drawn deeper into a case he’d wanted to forget, he starts to question Melissa’s guilt.
Is Melissa manipulating Jon or telling him the truth? Is she a murderer, or the victim of a miscarriage of justice?
And if Melissa Slade is innocent, what really happened to Ellie and Amber Slade?
[ My Review ]
The Guilty Mother is the latest book by Diane Jeffrey and has just been published in digital format with HQ Digital, with the paperback due in October 2019. Described as a ‘chilling psychological thriller’ , The Guilty Mother is a very emotive book as it looks at motherhood and it’s impact on the person, the marriage and the family.
Jonathan Hunt is a newspaper reporter who has recently suffered a great tragedy in his own life. Struggling to cope with rearing his two young boys , Jonathan’s life is in a state of flux. His job at the newspaper is a lifeline for him, a place where he can focus on stuff outside of his own personal realm, but when his boss wants him back on an old case, Jonathan rebels. The Slade Babies case is one that Jonathan covered when Melissa Slade was in court in 2013 for the murder of her twin babies. Now Melissa’s case is up for appeal with new evidence having been discovered and Jonathan’s newspaper want to be first with the big scoop, the truth about what really happened all those years ago. Jonathan is appalled with this case and with the possibility that Melissa Slade is guilty of murdering her own two children. He cannot comprehend how any parent could take the life of their child and he is uncomfortable delving deeper into Melissa Slade’s history. But his boss is firm, leaving Jonathan with no option but to begin his search for the truth.
Melissa Slade is behind bars for the murder of her two babies, Ellie and Amber. Her ex husband, Simon, is very supportive of Melissa and has always proclaimed her innocence, continuing his search for new evidence. Simon and Melissa have a son, Callum, now a teenager, a young man who is trying to distance himself from what his family has become. After the break up of their marriage, Melissa went on to remarry Michael, followed by the birth of their twin girls, Ellie and Amber. Melissa had coped well after Callum’s birth but with Ellie and Amber it was different. Thirteen years after Callum and with a less supportive husband beside her, Melissa struggled, her coping mechanism gone.
‘I remember vividly the first time I realised something was wrong with me. It was when I caught sight of my reflection in the mirror above the sofa one afternoon. The woman looking back was unrecognisable. My hair was greasy and lank, my face blotchy and my eyes were bloodshot from lack of sleep. It struck me that I’d been wearing my pyjamas for at least three days and nights. The top had baby sick down the front. I couldn’t recall when I’d last taken a shower. I looked awful, I felt awful.’
Michael became frustrated with Melissa’s behaviour. He married a strong, competent woman with a soaring career in the police force. After childbirth she lost all interest in him, in herself and, apparently, in their babies. Melissa had been a marathon runner, having become addicted to sport. In her job she had reached the rank of Chief Inspector handling major murder investigations and then suddenly her pregnancy put a stop to everything, to the exciting life that she had worked hard to achieve. Melissa’s world, as she knew it, changed beyond recognition.
When the death of her two babies happened in relatively quick succession, both of apparent natural causes, Melissa became the prime suspect, eventually being incarcerated in prison for life.
Diane Jeffrey builds the tension gradually as the reader is drip fed snippets of information. As Jonathan begins to peel back the layers of the case, the truth slowly emerges….or is it the truth?
There were a few areas that raised questions for me, situations that I felt were a perhaps unlikely to happen in reality, but that aside, there is quite a tangled plot within the pages.
The Guilty Mother will have your thoughts all over the place as you attempt to figure out the truth. Did Melissa Slade murder her two babies? Was it accidental or was something more sinister involved?
The Guilty Mother is a thought-provoking read with a some very interesting twists that kept me guessing right up to the final page.
[ Bio ]
Diane Jeffrey grew up in North Devon, in the United Kingdom. She now lives in Lyon, France with her husband and their three children, Labrador and cat.
Diane’s debut psychological thriller, Those Who Lie, was a Kindle bestseller in the USA, Canada and Australia and spent several weeks in the top 100 Kindle books in the UK.
He Will Find You, set in the Lake District and Somerset and published in August 2018, is her second novel. The Guilty Mother is Diane’s third book.
Diane is an English teacher. When she’s not working or writing, she likes swimming, running and reading.
Twitter – @dianefjeffrey