Mother May I: A Novel

· Sold by HarperCollins
50 reviews

About this ebook


“A finely paced, shrewdly observed, multi-tiered story . . . A thinking (and feeling) reader’s thriller.” –Wall Street Journal 

"Chilling, thought-provoking, and hauntingly written, Mother May I kept me on the edge of my seat with its breathless race against time." — Megan Miranda, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl from Widow Hills

Recommended by Buzzfeed • Parade • Country Living • Atlanta Journal-Constitution • Augusta Chronicle • The Nerd Daily • She Reads • BookBub • and more!

The New York Times bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Never Have I Ever returns with an even more addictive novel of domestic suspense in which a mother must decide how far she is willing to go to protect her child and the life she loves—an unforgettable tale of power, privilege, lies, revenge, and the choices we make, ones that transform our lives in unforeseen ways.

Revenge doesn’t wait for permission.

Growing up poor in rural Georgia, Bree Cabbat was warned that the world was a dark and scary place. Bree rejected that fearful outlook, and life has proved her right. Having married into a family with wealth, power, and connections, Bree now has all a woman could ever dream of.

Until the day she awakens and sees someone peering into her bedroom window—an old gray-haired woman dressed all in black who vanishes as quickly as she appears. It must be a play of the early morning light or the remnant of a waking dream, Bree tells herself, shaking off the bad feeling that overcomes her.

Later that day though, she spies the old woman again, in the parking lot of her daughters’ private school . . . just minutes before Bree’s infant son, asleep in his car seat only a few feet away, vanishes. It happened so quickly—Bree looked away only for a second. There is a note left in his place, warning her that she is being watched; if she wants her baby back, she must not call the police or deviate in any way from the instructions that will follow.

The mysterious woman makes contact, and Bree learns she, too, is a mother. Why would another mother do this? What does she want? And why has she targeted Bree? Of course Bree will pay anything, do anything. It’s her child.

To get her baby back, Bree must complete one small—but critical—task. It seems harmless enough, but her action comes with a devastating price. 

Bree will do whatever it takes to protect her family—but what if the cost tears their world apart?

Ratings and reviews

50 reviews
Marnie Harrison
May 13, 2021
Whose up for a dark and thrilling tale that will shock you to your very core and have you racing through the pages unable to tear yourself away? If you answered “I am”, then this is definitely the book for you. Joshilyn Jackson will take you hostage and will not let you go until the very last page in her latest thriller Mother May I. This is only my second read from Joshilyn Jackson and once again she had me glued to the pages as she took me into the story alongside its lead Bree, where we both got caught up in a dangerous game where the stakes could not be any higher. It is amazing what a mother is willing to do when faced with the unthinkable. I really liked Bree and found that I could resonate with her. You could feel her fear and pain through the prose as she is caught up in her worst nightmare. I enjoyed how she tool matters into her own hands, enlisting the help from an investigator friend as she learns about her sons kidnapper and why her family became a target for them. Mother May I has shades of a gothic fairytale, is thought provoking, compelling and very addictive. The plot is strong and offers great characterisation, the writing is flawless and captivating as it draws you in. A very enjoyable and entertaining read all round, I look forward to reading what Joshilyn Jackson comes up with for her readers next.
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Joelle Egan
June 29, 2021
How far would you go to save your kidnapped child? Joshilyn Jackson pits the fierce mothering instinct against moral and ethical beliefs in Mother May I. Bree Cabbat has left her humble roots behind when she marries a wealthy man from a “good” family. Her only link to that past is through her mother, who she dismisses as an irrational neurotic. Now with a family of her own, Bree has fully transformed herself into a model of over-achieving parenthood. She is deeply involved in her children’s lives and shines in her devotion to them and her husband. Just when the bliss is becoming unbearably cloying, a stranger enters their lives and all of Bree’s assumptions about herself are thrown into question. In exchange for her son, she is commanded to perform a seemingly simple task. Of course, things go horribly wrong, and she needs to enlist an old friend to help her get her boy back without her family-or the police-knowing. Along the way, Jackson throws in some unrequited attraction and hidden past events that seem to be linked to Bree’s current woes. Bree is truly naïve and discovers some truths about her husband that she needs to reconcile in her mind. The novel poses some interesting questions about loyalty, adopted identity, and forgiveness. Mother May I gets mired too often in over-emotionality and pathos given the repetitive description of Bree’s anguish. It does provide some interesting insight into showing self-compassion and empathy for others in the face of a crisis.
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About the author

Joshilyn Jackson is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of ten other novels, including gods in Alabama and Never Have I Ever. Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages. A former actor, Jackson is also an award-winning audiobook narrator. She lives in Decatur, Georgia, with her husband and their two children.

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