I chose to read this thriller by Belgian author Barbara Abel because I knew it was being made into a movie starring Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain. Holy Moly, this was not what I was expecting! Two couples with young sons the same age are neighbors and best friends until an unthinkable tragedy occurs and their seemingly idyllic lives completely unravel. This book is dark and full of suspense with an ending I never saw coming! It was a quick read because I could not put it down.— Laura B
Soon to be a major US motion picture starring Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain, Mothers’ Instinct is a dark, twisty domestic thriller in which the bond between two couples—best friends and next-door neighbors—mutates in dangerous and deadly ways in the wake of a tragic accident.
David and Laetitia Brunelle and Sylvain and Tiphaine Geniot are inseparable friends and next-door neighbors in a pretty, tranquil suburb. Their sons Milo and Maxime, born in the same year, grow up together as close as brothers. But when Maxime is killed in an accident, their idyllic world shatters. Maxime's parents, Sylvain and Tiphaine, are consumed by grief and bitterness, while David and Laetitia are wracked with guilt for their role in the tragedy. Soon the couples are barely speaking, although they maintain a polite façade.
Then a mysterious series of “accidents” begins to happen to Milo, raising Laetitia’s suspicions. Are their former best friends trying to punish them by threatening their son? As an increasingly paranoid Laetitia frantically tries to protect Milo from harm, the little civility left between the two families curdles into outward hostility. Is Laetitia just imagining things? Or are Sylvain and Tiphaine secretly conspiring to exact their revenge . . . and if so, who will pay?
In her American debut, blockbuster Belgian author Barbara Abel plunges into the deepest, darkest corners of her characters’ hearts and minds to explore the limits of friendship, the overwhelming power of maternal love, and how far hate, fear, and vengeance can drive us. Tense and blood-chilling, with a surprising final twist, Mothers' Instinct will keep you on edge until the final page.
Translated from the French by Susan Pickford
Barbara Abel is the author of fourteen thrillers, including Mothers’ Instinct and After the End. She lives in Belgium.
“Mothers' Instinct had me in its grips from the first page to the last. This gut-wrenching, evocative thriller is brilliantly structured and written so well that I felt the characters' pain and panic in my bones. I was completely entranced by the story of two families struggling with an unbearable tragedy, with an astonishing and jaw-dropping ending.” — Samantha M. Bailey, USA Today bestselling author of Woman on the Edge