What a Mother Knows by Leslie Lehr


What a Mother Knows by Leslie Lehr
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (384 pgs)
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Cholla

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.

After months in the hospital following a horrendous car accident, Michelle Mason is finally able to come home. The trouble is, nothing is as how she remembered it. And is that due to her faulty memory or is there something else at work? When Michelle discovers that one of the things missing is her daughter, all hell breaks loose. There isn’t anything she wouldn’t do for her girl.

The struggles that Michelle endures throughout the course of this novel almost ripped my heart out. She’s made to feel feeble, inferior, and pretty much made to believe she’s losing her mind. But she knows better. She knows her daughter like no one else and knows she wouldn’t up and disappear without a darn good reason. I have to hope that I’d be as dedicated, determined and ballsy as Michelle was if anything ever happened to either of my girls. I’d love to have her on my side, penchant for recklessness aside.

About a third of the way into this book, I began to realize that this might be my first interaction with an unreliable narrator. For me, I usually go in knowing the narrator is a crackpot or just a liar, but in this case, you really don’t know for sure. Michelle has had a serious brain trauma and, although she’s beginning to remember bits and pieces, you’re never really sure what’s real and what might be imagined. That bit of doubt made the story, for me, that much more enjoyable. That absolute need to find out what happened intensified and made it almost impossible to put down.

What a Mother Knows is an intense and emotional rollercoaster ride. Never knowing where Michelle’s instincts might take her next, you’re brought along to find out when she does. As a parent, I was completely invested emotionally in her story and struggle to find her daughter, crying for her, being outraged with her, simply hoping and praying that everything would work out in the end. It’s been a long time since I’ve read something that’s taken such a strong hold on me.


  1. I love mysteries with unreliable narrators! I’m definitely adding this to my to-read list.

  2. Thanks so much, Cholla! You really understood exactly what I was going for.

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