Secrets are worth killing for in Katie Sise’s ‘We Were Mothers’

Title: We Were Mothers
Author: Katie Sise
Genre: Domestic Thriller
Publisher: Little A
Source: eARC via NetGalley
Length: 337 pages
Available: 1 October 2018


“All Cora wanted was for George and Lucy to feel safe in the world, to know there was nothing that could compromise their family. Not even Jeremy.”

51f7HsUcBbL.SX316.SY316In a small suburban village outside of New York City, everyone knows everyone, but not everyone knows everyone else’s secrets. At least, not until the local mothers’ group attends a birthday party for twins George and Lucy at Cora’s house. Here, things begin to slowly unravel, with each character trying their hardest to keep their secrets to themselves.

But it’s more than just being a mother that connects these women: Cora is forever tied to Jade, who had been best friends with Cora’s sister, Maggie, when she died. Sarah is Cora and Maggie’s mother, who can’t let go of the feeling she’s missing something about her daughter’s death. Both Cora and Jade’s husbands were with Maggie when she died. What doesn’t seem like it’s going to be a big mystery at first ramps up as each woman starts listening to their gut and investigates further. Meanwhile, picture-perfect Laurel feels like she’s on the outside of the mom group looking in. Her daughters are teenagers and she’s dealing with her own dark secrets and dilemmas, trying to figure out the right way to handle the situation she’s in. When Laurel’s oldest daughter goes missing, suddenly every woman is not only forced to confront their fears and their truths, but they’re also put in a situation that will either bond them or break them forever.

“She told herself she was still an individual, and she tried to hang on to that, even though she knew no one would see her story as special. Happens every day, all over the world.”

What’s really examined in Katie Sise’s We Were Mothers is both the expectations in marriages and outside pressures of seeming to be perfect, especially in affluent neighborhoods. Since we see each (female) main character’s point of view, we also get a glimpse into their heads: what’s driving them, what they fear, and an understanding of why they put on the mask they do — even for their closest friends. This glimpse into each woman’s head adds a depth to the novel that while at times could be a little too melodramatic, made for an amazing character study.

Sise asks: How much should someone give up to make their spouse happy? Is there a way to compromise without losing pieces of yourself, of what you really want out of your life? and more in We Were Mothers — a book that’s definitely for fans of Big Little Lies. 

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