The Good Son, a review by Amy

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The Good Son
Jacquelyn Mitchard
352 pages
Harlequin Trade Publishing, MIRA

β€œI was picking my son up at the prison gates when I spotted the mother of the girl he murdered.”

Evocative and thought provoking. As a mother of an only son, this novel made me feel deeply and gave me so much to ponder.

Her only son. The pride and joy of her life. The memories of snuggles and giggles. Watching him grow and mature into such a good, kind person. But that was then.

Now, Thea sits outside the prison. Waiting for him to walk through the gates, those fond memories of his youth evaporate into complex emotions. Just how is she supposed to feel about her son returning home after time in jail for killing someone?

What this book does best is create a platform for thought. I found myself constantly questioning beliefs and long-standing opinions on a variety of issues. As a mom, my heart was upended and made to consider just how I would respond in Thea’s situation, specifically if I could still love unconditionally.

But what the story does best also bogs down the plotline. This story is told in introspective narrative from Thea’s point of view. We get a deep dive into her psyche as she gets to know her son anew, comes to terms with the small town turning away from her family, and reels from the unnerving text messages she continually receives from a young woman that claims to know what happened the night Belinda died. Thea’s thoughts and emotions are laid bare and create a thought provoking narrative. But at times, I felt a bit lost in her head. The introspection sometimes slowed the story to a crawl and impeded the mystery in play.

The last 30% of the novel makes up for all of the previously tedious parts, picking up pace as the mystery became active and engaging. This section really grabbed my attention and gave a satisfying ending to the novel.

Thank you Jacquelyn Mitchard, Harlequin Trade MIRA, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review an advanced copy of this book.

 

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