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Publisher's Summary

The creepiest debut thriller you will listen to this year!

One little girl.

Mirabelle’s mother loves her. She’s her ‘little doll’. Mother dresses her, paints her face and plaits her hair. But as Mirabelle grows, the dresses no longer fit quite as well, the face paint no longer looks quite so pretty. And Mother isn’t happy.

Two little girls.

On Mirabelle’s 13th birthday, Mother arrives home with a present - a new sister, five-year-old Clarabelle, who Mother has rescued from the outside world.

But Mother only needs one.

As it dawns on Mirabelle that there is a new ‘little doll’ in her house, she also realises that her life isn’t what she thought it was. And that dolls often end up on the scrap heap.... 

©2020 Abby Davies (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

"Deliciously creepy...unfolded with great pace in shocking ways." (M. J. Ford, author of Hold My Hand

"Incredibly fast-paced and creepy, I absolutely flew through Mother Loves Me." (Phoebe Morgan, author of The Doll House)

"With echoes of Emma Donoghue's Room, this twisty, creepy thriller cries out to be read in one nail-biting session." (Carolyn Kirby, author of The Conviction of Cora Burns)

What listeners say about Mother Loves Me

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Fantastic!

Wow what a wonderful surprise, I was gripped from the start. Great story & the narration was absolutely superb! Definitely recommend for those who love thriller genre.

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  • horaceisboris
  • 09-24-20

Incredible

One of the best books I've ever read; very easy to listen to, gripping plot, memorable characters and the action never flagged. Hope we see more books from this very talented writer.

5 people found this helpful

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  • MrsB
  • 08-27-20

Enthralling and spine tingling debut thriller - a must read!

I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to this chilling tale. I was hooked right from the start, captivated by the thirteen year old Mirabelle, who has never been allowed to go outside, and her relationship with her sinister mother. The story is well written and is truly creepy, gripping and full of unexpected twists and turns. Highly recommended, I look forward to this author’s next book.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Jane
  • 08-18-20

Original and gripping thriller

I listened to the audiobook and was enthralled from the first few minutes, having never heard/read anything like it.. The perspective of the thirteen year old girl is written brilliantly and the character of Mother is absolutely chilling. The tension is sustained throughout and I was desperate for Mirabelle to reach safety and find happiness.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a page turning thriller.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Treehugger
  • 12-01-20

Excellent, gripping tale

This book is told from the viewpoint of a 13 year old girl, Mirabelle, who has been kept locked inside a boarded up house, lied to, deceived and thoroughly confused by the insane world concocted by her severely disturbed mentally deranged Mother, who treats Mirabelle like a porcelain doll. Every day she carefully covers her in make up and frilly dresses. She's never allowed to cry or answer back. Complete mindless obedience is her only option. But Mother is so unpredictable that she is constantly on edge with fear.

It's written in a style that in some ways seems aimed at a teenaged reader, but with more disturbing and violent detail than I think I'd like a teen of mine to read. I think a young teen would be frightened to think these kinds of people and disorders are out there. At the same time, the level of understanding, limited by the mind of a 13 year old, stops short of the kind of graphic content usually found in adult books. There is no artifice, such as going forwards or backwards in time (apart from brief memories) or switching narrarors. I can't decide if this book is written for teens or adults, or just written in the simple straightforward way it is because it's a child telling the story.

The tale unravels bit by bit as Mother kidnaps another child, who she wants as a more compliant replacement for the recalcitrant Mirabelle. Mirabelle's suspicions awaken and starts to realise the truth of her unusual plight. She plots their escape. Then, as she begins to try and wriggle from Mother's clutches, the story takes a dark turn, as the true depth of Mother's psychosis is revealed. A creature of evil twisted vengefulness emerges from the perfect mask as again and again she catches the fleeing Mirabelle and Clarabelle - the girls have realised by now that these are not their real names or identities at all.

The story becomes fast paced and utterly gripping as each time you think the girls have managed to escape or find safety or another adult to help them, Mother catches up with them again, with mayhem and murder in her wake.

The darkest surprise of all awaits as Clarabelle escapes and Mirabelle is dragged down to the deepest dungeon of hell. Where a surprise awaits. There seems to be no change of escape this time... Yet Mirabelle finds unbelievable courage and resourcefulness (in an almost childrens-fantasy-like adventuresome style) as she gathers her last bit of strength, ripping herself to shreds in her last ditch attempt to escape and find a real life.

I won't spoil the marvellous ending, but suffice it to say this is a gripping roller-coaster ride that will suit readers who prefer a plot without contrivance that relies on simple excellent storytelling ability rather than trendy plot styles.

The British narrator is excellent and very expressive.

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  • Tazzie
  • 11-01-20

Wow!

Brilliant couldn’t stop listening! I don’t usually write reviews but has to give some feedback! Fab

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  • su through the looking glass!
  • 10-21-20

Absolutely gripping, brilliantly narrated.

Definitely one of the best thrillers I have ever listened to. Fast paced full of menace and suspense with a heroine that will really have you 'gunning' for her. It wasn't quite believable enough to be really disturbing, despite the subject matter, but that was a plus for me. Can't recommend highly enough and the narrator is fantastic

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  • Carrie-Anne Andrews
  • 09-13-20

Sharp Objects Style!! 🌟 ⭐ 🌟 ⭐ 🌟

Did not put this down! Easy to listen to and stressed me out. This needs to be a movie. Get listening people you won't be disappointed.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Caroline
  • 10-04-20

Excellent

This book was different. Never heard a story like it and I really enjoyed it. Lots of twists and turns, I liked how the words were put in a way of the child’s perspective and mind.

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  • Andrew and Amie Carlton
  • 10-04-20

absolute rollercoaster from start to finish

I literally cried at the ending and couldn't stop listening. I was holding out hope for the main character all the way through. brilliantly written ❤️

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  • Steve Richards
  • 08-12-20

A fast-moving thriller that is full of suspense

Mirabelle is only 13 and in a situation she can’t control and doesn’t understand. From the first page it is clear that her relationship with Mother is not quite right, and when Clarabelle comes along things go from bad to worse. As the story develops it seems more and more that Mirabelle will never escape Mother’s clutches.

‘Mother Loves Me’ had me gripped from the first chapter. I bought the audiobook and binge-listened in 3 sessions, drawn in by the strong characters and fast-moving plot. The author is really good at creating tension and at making the reader desperate for Mirabelle to win through. And as for Mother - wow what a creepy and frightening character she is! And yet she is totally believable and all the more scary for that.

(I should also praise Sarah Lambie who is excellent at narrating and with the voices, whether it is a 5 year old girl or an elderly man - no mean achievement.)

As the story progressed it became more and more important that there was a believable and satisfying ending and the author did not disappoint. I must admit that it brought a tear to my eye.

I definitely recommend ‘Mother Loves Me’ to anyone who likes a high tension, suspense-filled thriller with a psychological edge. After reading I couldn’t help thinking what a great film it would make, and started to wonder which famous actresses would fight over playing Mother; Nicole Kidman or Charlize Theron perhaps?

2 people found this helpful