Review of THE SECOND MOTHER by Jenny Milchman

The story of Julie Weathers is one of a slow burn to an “ah-ha” reveal. Julie has left behind her grief over losing her infant daughter and her betrayal by her husband who then asks for a divorce. In her attempt to start over again, Julie answers an ad for a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse on a remote island in Maine. At the island, Julie befriends Ellie who tells her a lot of island secrets as she drinks wine excessively. Julie attempts to befriend the dowager “queen” of the island, grandmother Hempstead, but seems to make an enemy of her from the beginning. Therein lies part of the mystery. Why is this leader on the island so unfriendly, in fact actually menacing at times? Julie also tries to help teen-ager Peter, a young man who is precociously intelligent but who keeps showing up unexpectedly wherever Julie is, scaring her and creeping out me. Then there is Callum, a man who handily does repairs at Julie’s new house and who also seems to be using the island for escape. His backstory is a big part of the draw to reading and finishing the book. The plot is so-so, but the characterization is excellent, with characters who are deep and realistically portrayed. I enjoyed reading the book, especially the fact that it made me think back on it after I read it and realize how deep it really was.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”

Mostly a clean read, so I would rate it PG.

Available on August 18, 2020.

Buy Links:



Barnes & Noble


Author Link:

Jenny Milchman

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